Slavery in Japan

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The practice of slavery in Japan developed only after the establishment of Yamato period (3rd Century) till the end of Sengoku period. This is the only period of time that Japan ever officially had a slavery system. However, slaves were secretly held amongst a few minors[clarification needed] until Edo Period.

Early slavery[edit]

The export of a slave from Japan is recorded in 3rd century Chinese historical record, but it is unclear what system was involved, and whether this was a common practice at that time. These slaves were called Seikō (生口) (lit. "living mouth"). The export of slaves from Japan ceased, in part because of Japanese separation from the Sinocentrism.

In the 8th century, slaves were called Nuhi (奴婢) and laws were issued under Ritsuryousei (律令制). These slaves tended farms and worked around houses. Information on the slave population is sketchy, but the proportion of slaves are estimated to be around 5% of the population.

Slavery persisted into the Sengoku period (1467-1615) even though the attitude that slavery was anachronistic seems to have become widespread among elites.[1] In 1590, slavery was officially banned under Toyotomi Hideyoshi; but forms of contract and indentured labor persisted alongside the period penal codes' forced labor. Somewhat later, the Edo period penal laws prescribed "non-free labor" for the immediate family of executed criminals in Article 17 of the Gotōke reijō (Tokugawa House Laws), but the practice never became common. The 1711 Gotōke reijō was compiled from over 600 statutes promulgated between 1597 and 1696.[2]

Portuguese trade in Japanese slaves[edit]

After the Portuguese first made contact with Japan in 1543, a large scale slave trade developed in which Portuguese purchased Japanese as slaves in Japan and sold them to various locations overseas, including Portugal itself, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[3][4] Many documents mention the large slave trade along with protests against the enslavement of Japanese. Japanese slaves are believed to be the first of their nation to end up in Europe, and the Portuguese purchased large amounts of Japanese slave girls to bring to Portugal for sexual purposes, as noted by the Church in 1555. King Sebastian feared that it was having a negative effect on Catholic proselytization since the slave trade in Japanese was growing to massive proportions, so he commanded that it be banned in 1571[5][6]

Japanese slave women were even sold as concubines to black African crewmembers, along with their European counterrparts serving on Portuguese ships trading in Japan, mentioned by Luis Cerqueira, a Portuguese Jesuit, in a 1598 document.[7] Japanese slaves were brought by the Portuguese to Macau, where some of them not only ended up being enslaved to Portuguese, but as slaves to other slaves, with the Portuguese owning Malay and African slaves, who in turn owned Japanese slaves of their own.[8][9]

Hideyoshi was so disgusted that his own Japanese people were being sold en masse into slavery on Kyushu, that he wrote a letter to Jesuit Vice-Provincial Gaspar Coelho on 24 July 1587 to demand the Portuguese, Siamese (Thai), and Cambodians stop purchasing and enslaving Japanese and return Japanese slaves who ended up as far as India.[10][11][12] Hideyoshi blamed the Portuguese and Jesuits for this slave trade and banned Christian proselytizing as a result.[13][14]

Some Korean slaves were bought by the Portuguese and brought back to Portugal from Japan, where they had been among the tens of thousands of Korean prisoners of war transported to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98).[15][16] Historians pointed out that at the same time Hideyoshi expressed his indignation and outrage at the Portuguese trade in Japanese slaves, he himself was engaging in a mass slave trade of Korean prisoners of war in Japan.[17][18]

Fillippo Sassetti saw some Chinese and Japanese slaves in Lisbon among the large slave community in 1578, although most of the slaves were blacks.[19][20][21][22][23]

The Portuguese "highly regarded" Asian slaves like Chinese and Japanese, much more "than slaves from sub-Saharan Africa".[24][25] The Portuguese attributed qualities like intelligence and industriousness to Chinese and Japanese slaves which is why they favored them more.[26][27][28][29]

In 1595 a law was passed by Portugal banning the selling and buying of Chinese and Japanese slaves.[30]

World War II[edit]

Main article: Japanese war crimes

In the first half of the Shōwa era, as the Empire of Japan annexed Asian countries, from the late 19th century onwards, archaic institutions including slavery were abolished in those countries. However, during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, the Japanese military used millions of civilians and prisoners of war as forced labor, on projects such as the Burma Railway.

According to a joint study by historians including Zhifen Ju, Mitsuyoshi Himeta, Toru Kubo and Mark Peattie, more than 10 million Chinese civilians were mobilized by the Kōa-in (East Asia Development Board) for forced labour.[31] According to the Japanese military's own record, nearly 25% of 140,000 Allied POWs died while interned in Japanese prison camps where they were forced to work (U.S. POWs died at a rate of 37%).[32][33] More than 100,000 civilians and POWs died in the construction of the Burma-Siam Railway.[34] The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java, between 4 and 10 million romusha (Japanese: "manual laborer"), were forced to work by the Japanese military.[35] About 270,000 of these Japanese laborers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in South East Asia. Only 52,000 were repatriated to Java, meaning that there was a death rate of 80%. (For further details, see Japanese war crimes.)[36]

According to the Korean historians, Approximately 670,000 Koreans, were conscripted into labor from 1944 to 1945 by the National Mobilization Law.[37] About 670,000 of them were taken to Japan, where about 60,000 died between 1939 and 1945 due mostly to exhaustion or poor working conditions.[38] Many of those taken to Karafuto Prefecture (modern-day Sakhalin) were trapped there at the end of the war, stripped of their nationality and denied repatriation by Japan; they became known as the Sakhalin Koreans.[39] The total deaths of Korean forced laborers in Korea and Manchuria for those years is estimated to be between 270,000 and 810,000.[40]

Main article: Comfort women

According to the United States House of Representatives House Resolution 121, As many as 200,000 "comfort women" [41] mostly from Korea and China, and some other countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, Netherlands,[42] and Australia[43] were forced into sexual slavery during World War II to satisfy Japanese Imperial Army and Navy members. While apologies have been handed out by the Japanese government and government politicians including the Asian Women's fund which grants donated financial compensations to former comfort women,[44] the Japanese government has also worked to downplay its use of comfort women in recent times claiming that all compensations for its war conduct were resolved with post war treaties such as the Treaty of San Francisco, with an example including asking the mayor of Palisades Park, New Jersey to take down a memorial in memory of the women.[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas Nelson, "Slavery in Medieval Japan," Monumenta Nipponica 2004 59(4): 463-492
  2. ^ Lewis, James Bryant. (2003). Frontier Contact Between Choson Korea and Tokugawa Japan, p. 31-32.
  3. ^ HOFFMAN, MICHAEL (May 26, 2013). "The rarely, if ever, told story of Japanese sold as slaves by Portuguese traders". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  4. ^ "Europeans had Japanese slaves, in case you didn’t know…". Japan Probe. May 10, 2007. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ Nelson, Thomas (Winter 2004). "Monumenta Nipponica (Slavery in Medieval Japan)". Vol. 59 (No. 4). Sophia University. p. 463. JSTOR 25066328. 
  6. ^ Monumenta Nipponica: Studies on Japanese Culture, Past and Present, Volume 59, Issues 3-4. Jōchi Daigaku. Sophia University. 2004. p. 463. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  7. ^ Michael Weiner, ed. (2004). Race, Ethnicity and Migration in Modern Japan: Imagined and imaginary minorites (illustrated ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 408. ISBN 0415208572. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  8. ^ Kwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed. (2005). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 479. ISBN 0195170555. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  9. ^ Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, ed. (2010). Encyclopedia of Africa, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 0195337700. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  10. ^ Monumenta Nipponica. Jōchi Daigaku. Sophia University. 2004. p. 465. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  11. ^ Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (2013). Religion in Japanese History (illustrated, reprint ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 144. ISBN 023151509X. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  12. ^ Donald Calman (2013). Nature and Origins of Japanese Imperialism. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 1134918437. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  13. ^ Gopal Kshetry (2008). FOREIGNERS IN JAPAN: A Historical Perspective. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1469102447. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  14. ^ J F Moran, J. F. Moran (2012). Japanese and the Jesuits. Routledge. ISBN 1134881126. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  15. ^ Robert Gellately, Ben Kiernan, ed. (2003). The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 277. ISBN 0521527503. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  16. ^ Gavan McCormack (2001). Reflections on Modern Japanese History in the Context of the Concept of "genocide" (Issue 2001, Part 1 of Occasional papers in Japanese studies). Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. Harvard University, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. p. 18. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  17. ^ Olof G. Lidin (2002). Tanegashima - The Arrival of Europe in Japan. Routledge. p. 170. ISBN 1135788715. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  18. ^ Amy Stanley (2012). Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan. Volume 21 of Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes. Matthew H. Sommer. University of California Press. ISBN 0520952383. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  19. ^ Jonathan D. Spence (1985). The memory palace of Matteo Ricci (illustrated, reprint ed.). Penguin Books. p. 208. ISBN 0140080988. Retrieved 2012-05-05. "countryside.16 Slaves were everywhere in Lisbon, according to the Florentine merchant Filippo Sassetti, who was also living in the city during 1578. Black slaves were the most numerous, but there were also a scattering of Chinese" 
  20. ^ José Roberto Teixeira Leite (1999). A China no Brasil: influências, marcas, ecos e sobrevivências chinesas na sociedade e na arte brasileiras (in Portuguese). UNICAMP. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. p. 19. ISBN 8526804367. Retrieved 2012-05-05. "Idéias e costumes da China podem ter-nos chegado também através de escravos chineses, de uns poucos dos quais sabe-se da presença no Brasil de começos do Setecentos.17 Mas não deve ter sido através desses raros infelizes que a influência chinesa nos atingiu, mesmo porque escravos chineses (e também japoneses) já existiam aos montes em Lisboa por volta de 1578, quando Filippo Sassetti visitou a cidade,18 apenas suplantados em número pelos africanos. Parece aliás que aos últimos cabia o trabalho pesado, ficando reservadas aos chins tarefas e funções mais amenas, inclusive a de em certos casos secretariar autoridades civis, religiosas e militares." 
  21. ^ Jeanette Pinto (1992). Slavery in Portuguese India, 1510-1842. Himalaya Pub. House. p. 18. Retrieved 2012-05-05. "ing Chinese as slaves, since they are found to be very loyal, intelligent and hard working' . . . their culinary bent was also evidently appreciated. The Florentine traveller Fillippo Sassetti, recording his impressions of Lisbon's enormous slave population circa 1580, states that the majority of the Chinese there were employed as cooks." 
  22. ^ Charles Ralph Boxer (1968). Fidalgos in the Far East 1550-1770 (2, illustrated, reprint ed.). 2, illustrated, reprint. p. 225. Retrieved 2012-05-05. "be very loyal, intelligent, and hard-working. Their culinary bent (not for nothing is Chinese cooking regarded as the Asiatic equivalent to French cooking in Europe) was evidently appreciated. The Florentine traveller Filipe Sassetti recording his impressions of Lisbon's enormous slave population circa 1580, states that the majority of the Chinese there were employed as cooks. Dr. John Fryer, who gives us an interesting ..." 
  23. ^ José Roberto Teixeira Leite (1999). A China No Brasil: Influencias, Marcas, Ecos E Sobrevivencias Chinesas Na Sociedade E Na Arte Brasileiras (in Portuguese). UNICAMP. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. p. 19. ISBN 8526804367. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  24. ^ Paul Finkelman (1998). Paul Finkelman, Joseph Calder Miller, ed. Macmillan encyclopedia of world slavery, Volume 2. Macmillan Reference USA, Simon & Schuster Macmillan. p. 737. ISBN 0028647815. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  25. ^ Finkelman & Miller 1998, p. 737
  26. ^ Duarte de Sande (2012). Derek Massarella, ed. Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth-century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590). Volume 25 of 3: Works, Hakluyt Society Hakluyt Society (Issue 25 of Works issued by the Hakluyt Society). Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 140947223X. ISSN 0072-9396. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  27. ^ A. C. de C. M. Saunders (1982). A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441-1555. Volume 25 of 3: Works, Hakluyt Society Hakluyt Society (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 168. ISBN 0521231507. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  28. ^ Jeanette Pinto (1992). Slavery in Portuguese India, 1510-1842. Himalaya Pub. House. p. 18. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  29. ^ Charles Ralph Boxer (1968). Fidalgos in the Far East 1550-1770 (2, illustrated, reprint ed.). Oxford U.P. p. 225. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  30. ^ Dias 2007, p. 71
  31. ^ Zhifen Ju, "Japan's Atrocities of Conscripting and Abusing North China Draftees after the Outbreak of the Pacific War", Joint study of the Sino-Japanese war, 2002, http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~asiactr/sino-japanese/minutes_2002.htm
  32. ^ How Japanese companies built fortunes on American POWs
  33. ^ Japanese Atrocities in the Philippines
  34. ^ links for research, Allied POWs under the Japanese
  35. ^ Library of Congress, 1992, "Indonesia: World War II and the Struggle For Independence, 1942-50; The Japanese Occupation, 1942-45" Access date: February 9, 2007.
  36. ^ Christopher Reed: Japan's Dirty Secret, One Million Korean Slaves
  37. ^ brackman,87,253n "according to Korean historians. of 670,000 brought to Japan."Data on Japanese Democide of WWII, Lines 118-123
  38. ^ Statistics of Democide
  39. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2006-01-05). "Stateless in Sakhalin". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  40. ^ Rummel, R. J. (1999). Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1990. Lit Verlag. ISBN 3-8258-4010-7.  Available online: "Statistics of Democide: Chapter 3 - Statistics Of Japanese Democide Estimates, Calculations, And Sources". Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War. Retrieved 2006-03-01. 
  41. ^ Congress backs off of wartime Japan rebuke
  42. ^ Comfort Women Were 'Raped': U.S. Ambassador to Japan
  43. ^ Abe ignores evidence, say Australia's 'comfort women'
  44. ^ Japan’s ‘Atonement’ to Former Sex Slaves Stirs Anger
  45. ^ Forgotten Faces: Japan's comfort women

Further reading[edit]

  • Nelson, Thomas. "Slavery in Medieval Japan," Monumenta Nipponica 2004 59(4): 463-492