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The people connected with vegetable markets

City Culture and Society
DOI: 10.1016/j.ccs.2012.06.014
  • Osaka
  • Vegetable Markets


Abstract In this paper, I discuss various merchants connected with the transportation and sale of vegetables and fruits in early modern Osaka. Previous research has argued that there was a conflict between the wholesalers and brokers of the Tenma Vegetable Market who possessed special rights, and the markets and merchants of Osaka’s neighboring farming villages. While this conflict did exist, overemphasizing it has meant that the trends and lifestyles of the various levels of vegetable merchants have been obscured. In this paper, which builds on research done in the 1990s on city markets and wholesalers/brokers, I highlight the process by which the Tenma Vegetable Market acquired its rights. Additionally, I examine three merchants or markets which were assumed to be against Tenma: (1) shipping agents or merchants dealing with satsuma imo (a type of sweet potato), which appeared for the first time in the early modern period; (2) Nanba Village Market which was to the south of Osaka; and (3) the so-called “standing sales” merchants in Osaka City. I argue that these three did not necessarily come into being in opposition to the Tenma Market. Finally, I classify the trends of these merchants who operated at various levels in Osaka and its environs by examining their style of trade and their relationship with the Tenma Market.

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