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World InsuranceThe Evolution of a Global Risk Network$
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Peter Borscheid and Niels Viggo Haueter

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657964.001.0001

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Japan: The Role of Insurance in The Rapid Modernization of Japan

Japan: The Role of Insurance in The Rapid Modernization of Japan

Chapter:
(p.495) Chapter 21 Japan: The Role of Insurance in The Rapid Modernization of Japan
Source:
World Insurance
Author(s):

Takau Yoneyama

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657964.003.0021

This chapter traces the history of the Japanese insurance industry. Japan adopted an isolationist policy in 1639, which established national seclusion, disrupted trade, and reduced the opportunities for the marine insurance industry. Prior to isolation, a primitive form of marine insurance called nagegane had existed, brought by the Portuguese at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Historians have discovered that traders from Hakata and Sakai provided financing that included marine accident coverage for ship owners, merchants, and tradesmen. As shipping businesses developed along the coasts, methods for handling marine accidents were systematized and so-called marine contracts (kaijou ukeoi) began to be conducted by shipping agents in these areas. Marine contracts worked by attaching a risk fee onto shipping charges, while damages during transport on entrusted cargo saw the principal on the cargo paid to the consigning merchant. Upon entering a marine contract, a marine contract note (kaijou ukeoi tegata) fulfilling the roles of a receiving note and a marine insurance policy was issued. This domestic risk hedging method co-existed alongside modern marine insurance for international trade until the beginning of the Meiji period in 1868.

Keywords:   Japanese insurance industry, insurance history, isolation policy, marine insurance, risk hedging, nagegane

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