- HSSB 2252
Prof Richard von Glahn (History dept., UCLA)
Beginning in the late 12th century, the import of massive quantities of Chinese coin accelerated the development of market exchange in Japan, and imported coin became the lifeblood of the Japanese economy. The Ningbo-Hakata merchant network that dominated commercial exchange between China and Japan also insinuated itself in the local society of northern Kyushu. Chinese merchants who settled in Hakata became cultural as well as commercial brokers, building Buddhist temples and acting as the patrons of Japanese monks who traveled to the great monasteries of Ningbo and Hangzhou and introduced Chan/Zen Buddhism to Japan. The Great Buddha at Kamakura (pictured here), cast in 1252 from 93 tons of repurposed Chinese coin, is a fitting symbol of this intersection of commerce and religion.