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CJS Noon Lecture Series: The Greatest Pirate in Japan

Thursday, February 20, 2014
5:00 AM
Room 1636, School of Social Work Building

This presentation traces the career of Noshima Murakami Takeyoshi (1533-1604), a seafarer whom Jesuit visitors dubbed the “Greatest Pirate in Japan.”  I integrate Japanese and foreign representations of Japanese pirates in order to show how seafarers like Takeyoshi employed reputations, performances of lordship, and protection businesses so as to inspire authorities and travelers to recognize them as legitimate rulers over sprawling, sea-based domains. I show how an exploration of pirates can reveal maritime dimensions of the local autonomy that was a hallmark of Japan’s late medieval age, contest the land-centered biases in both historical sources and modern histories, and provide a transnational perspective on sixteenth-century Japan.

Peter D. Shapinsky is associate professor of history at the University of Illinois, Springfield and the author of Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan (Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan).

Peter Shapinsky, Associate Professor, History, University of Illinois - Springfield