The Rise of Merchants: Maritime Sea Trade in East Asia in the 10th to 12th centuries
Play • 29 min

In our very first episode, Greg talks about some aspects of his research on the growing role of Chinese merchants in the East Asian sea trade between the 10th to 12th centuries. Diplomacy from the 7th to 9th centuries was dominated by official embassies that neighboring states dispatched to the Sui-Tang courts, but after the fall of the Tang dynasty in the early 10th century, private merchants from southeastern China began to dominate the maritime trading routes to Japan, Korean, and Southeast Asia. Greg shares with us some information about why that came to be, where these merchants came from, where they show up in the textual records, and some of the implications that this had for Sino-Japanese relations.

We apologize for some of the audio quality in this episode. We are just starting out and we are working to improve our audio quality!


Greg Sattler

Gregory Sattler is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on sea merchants in East Asia from the ninth to thirteenth centuries, with a particular consideration of their place in society, their trade networks, and their relationships with government officials. Gregory has recently published an article titled “The Ideological Underpinnings of Private Trade in East Asia, ca. 800–1127” (Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University 6) and he is currently working on two additional manuscripts. He has received degrees in Taiwan and Japan, and is a proficient speaker of both Chinese and Japanese.

Yiming Ha

Yiming Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research is on military mobilization and state-building in China between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on how military institutions changed over time, how the state responded to these changes, the disconnect between the center and localities, and the broader implications that the military had on the state. His project highlights in particular the role of the Mongol Yuan in introducing an alternative form of military mobilization that radically transformed the Chinese state. He is also interested in military history, nomadic history, comparative Eurasian state-building, and the history of maritime interactions in early modern East Asia. He received his BA from UCLA and his MPhil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


Episode No. 1

Release date: October 31, 2021

Recording location: Los Angeles, CA


Bibliography courtesy of Greg

Tōjin sōbetsushi narabini sekitoku 唐人送別詩幷尺牘  (Chinese Farewell Poems and Writings). From the Onjō-ji collections 園城寺蔵, currently held in the Nara National Museum 奈良国立博物館. 

Image Source

Select Bibliography 

Ennin 円仁. Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law. Trans. Edwin O. Reischauer. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1955.   Reischauer, Edwin O. Ennin's Travels in T'ang China. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1955.   Sattler, Gregory. “The Ideological Underpinnings of Private Trade in East Asia, ca. 800–1127.” Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University 6 (2021), pp. 41–60.   Tackett, Nicolas. “A Tang–Song Turning Point.” In A Companion to Chinese History, ed. Michael Szonyi, pp. 118–28. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2017.   Yamauchi Shinji 山内晋次. Nara Heian ki no Nihon to Ajia 奈良平安期の日本とアジア [Japan and Asia during the Nara and Hei'an Periods]. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 2003.  
More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu