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The Maritime Warring Environment of Kyushu Corsairs
Individual Paper Presenter(s)
Maria Grazia Petrucci
Coquitlam College, Canada
This presentation deals with the environment of territorial conflicts and expansionistic aims of the various daimyo which affected the straits of the internal sea of Japan (Setonaikai) and the effect that such conflicts had on the economic life of Kyushu and Shikoku pirates (later corsairs) from the mid of the sixteenth century. Current Japanese and foreign historians tend to de emphasize the fact that most of these so called pirates, or maritime forces as they have been defined, were often called to fight against enemies that threatened their territories and economic stability, as they controlled maritime territories in which they had maritime power. While historically there has been the need to find a balance regarding pirates and corsairs' lifestyle and their economic productivity, there is the tendency to re-evaluate them by letting go of their warring environment. With this paper i am presenting decisive battles fought by Setonaikai pirates and their affiliates against the corsairs of Northern Kyushu, often but not always, at the service of the various daimyo, in order to show the various degree of economic interests of such naval forces. While they contributed to the aggrandizement of various sengoku daimyo they mostly fought to bring security and economic stability to their lives in their controlled territories, and to retain by using military power an economic leverage, that otherwise they could not have been able to obtain.