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Commerce entre le Campa et le Japon au 17ème siècle

 Centre de tissage de Matsuzaka.

Seiji MAEDA 1


After a long struggle Wars Period « Sengoku Jidai », the new ruler of Japan, Ieyasu Tokugawa succeeded to control the whole country and established the Shogunate in Edo (now Tokyo) in 1603. He organized the « Shuin-Sen » Overseas Trade (Trading-Ship with Official Red Seal Certificate, 1604­1635). This Red Seal Certificate was an official letter used by the feudal lords but the Edo Government adopted it as the official authorization letter for Japanese traders who wished to go abroad to practice overseas businesses. However such letter represented few value for the foreign trading partners, however it could give more specific meanings inside Japan as a political guarantee and pretended to protect these traders under the official control.
Since the end of 16th century, many Japanese private trading ships went frequently to China to seek for precious Chinese silk but these traders turned often into rude pirates and devastated the Chinese coast region, but they were rejected and swept away finally by Ming Water Army. Therefore Japanese marine-traders turned their destinations towards « Nanpo » (Southern Countries), as Philippines or Annam. In these Asian countries, they discovered new exotic items as niter, medical plants, animal leathers or other various tropical goods. The maritime trade'between these Southern Countries and Japan quickly developed. In proportion to the increase of these maritime trades, many Japanese Overseas Communities (Nihonjin-Machi) were settled up in different areas of South-East Asia as Ayuthaya in Siam or Hoi An (near Da Nang) in Middle Vietnam.
A maritime trading family of Matsuzaka (Mie Prefecture) got a Red Seal Certificate from Ieyasu while Ieyasu himself was a frantic admirer and consumer of « Kyara » (the best quality perfumed-wood of « agalloch » originated from Champa Kingdom) and sent actively the official trading ships to get this rare exotic product. Kadoya family frequented « Kochi (Middle Vietnam = Hoi An) by « Kochi Fune » (Champa Boat). This region was inhabited by the Cham people already in decline, who lost their political supremacy against Vietnamese but survived until the end of 17th century owing to prosperous maritime trades. According to the recent archeological research, the presence of Japanese community in Hoi An might started at the end of 16th century and continued to exist until the end of 17th century or until the Cham dispersion in Vietnam. Hichirobe Kadoya, the second son of this Matsuzaka marine trader family decided to go and set up in Hoi An in 1631 and he married with a Cham noble woman, but two years later the Shogunate ordered to close totally the country and prohibited the coming and going through Japan, and Hichirobe was compelled to stay there until his death in 1671/1672. He was a symbol of the trade between Hoi An (Kochi = Champa) and Matsuzaka (= Japan) in this period.
According to Kai-Tsusyoko, published in 1695, Kuchi provided many exotic items to Japan through the maritime route as the above-mentioned « Kyara », pepper, betel, silk, cinnamon ... and there were also cotton fabrics called « Ryujo-Fu » (= Clothwith the willow stripes). The Matsuzaka merchants were the main importers of this product into Japan. The fabrics in strips came also from India, Indonesia, Malaysia... and were appreciated by the Tea Ceremony to use for small bags or accessories. Hovewer Cham Strip Fabric and Matsuzaka had a special history. This small Japanese city was situated near the famous Ise sanctuary in the middle of Japan and provided silk fabrics to this Shintoist sanctuary since ancient time. During the 17th century the cotton cultivation progressed in Japan and this region developed a cotton industry based on their traditional silk weaving technique. They used the striped motif of « Ryujo-Fu » from Champa as the favorite motif, while most of the Japanese tradional motifs for cloths until this period were natural figurative items as flower, bird, moon and transformed « Imported Stripes » (Shima-watari) into the domestic « Matsuzaka-Shima » (Stripes of Matsuzaka). This striped cotton kimono, a new speciality from Matsuzaka, was sent to Edo by ship and won quickly among Edo people. The first Matsuzaka merchant opened a shop in Edo in 1635. Takatoshi Mitsui, the founder of the actual Mitsui family also originated from Matsuzaka, opened a kimono-shop in Edo in 1673 and made a fortune. The domesticated striped fabric was so successful that its sending cargo volume from Matsuzaka to Edo attained 470,000 tan (1 tan = piece of cloth about 10 m long and 36 cm wide) in 1667 and 550,000 tan in 1778. The peak of Matsuzaka Striped Kimono businesses were between 1789­1794 and after these periods, the cotton products from other regions overcame in the Edo market (1800s).
The striped fabrics imported from Southern Countries were marked by their beautiful and bright red-brown base color tone and by different variations of stripes as vertical stripes, or horizontal stripes, or mixed of both stripes, or inserted crest or braid technique among the stripes. Hovewer the Matsuzuka weavers adopted the indigo color base but used also other colors as warp to give a variety of tone and motifs. This abstract striped cotton fabric introduction was a revolution in the Japanese Textile History. But with the declination of kimono culture due to the Moderni­zation of Japan, the fame of Matsuzaka also disappeared definitively.
A group of inhabitants of the city, mainly women, made efforts to revival their traditional industry and organized the « Matsuzaka Cotton Hand-weaving center » In 1984. This small private center presented Matsuzaka modern Stripes cotton samples and showed the weaving demonstra­tions but the historical pieces are exhibited in the Matsuzaka Museum. This center attracted some tourist but is very far to reconstruct the old day glory.
Une tisseuse au centre de tissage de Matsuzaka. Cahier ancien, échantillons de tissus, photographié au musée.


Kikuchi, S.
1999: « Vietnam, Hoian » in Kokogaku, vol. 6,6 : 71-77 ;
Momoki, S.
1994: « The Cham » in Minzokugaku, Osaka : 20-31.
Nishikawa, M.
1695/1944 : Kai-Tsusyoko (« Foreign Trade Note »).
Sudo, K. (edit)
1968 : Fune (« Ship»), Tokyo, 352 p.
Tabata, M.
1988 : Matsuzaka Momen obeogaki « Note about Matsuzaka Cot­ton », Nagoya, 214 p.
1985: Orimono no Jiten (« Textile Dic­tionary») in Someori no Bunka, Tokyo, vol. 2.
1 Anthropologist (Bangkok, Thailand).

Article of "La Lettre de la SACHA" n°6, décember 1999, page 18-19.

© 2008 Sacha Champa. All rights reserved.
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