Monash University
Prue Holstein Final thesis 17 November.pdf (3.55 MB)

German Merchants in Japan During Japan's Modernization: The rise and transformaton of C. Nickel & Co. Ltd., 1860-1921

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posted on 2021-11-19, 05:48 authored 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.


Principal supervisor

Beatrice Trefalt

Additional supervisor 1

Christiane Weller

Additional supervisor 2

Franz-Josef Deiters

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Language, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts