German Merchants in Japan During Japan's Modernization: The rise and transformaton of C. Nickel & Co. Ltd., 1860-1921
thesisposted on 19.11.2021, 05:48 by Prudence Shaw Holstein
My thesis explores the business dealings of two German merchants in Japan between 1860 and 1921, a period straddling the end of extraterritoriality and witnessing great change as Japan modernized. Piecing together a lost history from information found in treaty port newspapers and in archives across Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia, I show how these merchants built a company dominating the stevedoring industry in Kobe: they deployed entrepreneurialism, innovation and risk-taking challenging mercantile, political , diplomatic and jurisdictional obstacles often in partnership and sometimes in opposition to British colleagues. In so doing, my thesis re-inscribes the contribution of German merchants to the development of Japanese treaty ports, a contribution overshadowed by British enmity towards Germans in Japan during WW1.