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Wang Zhi

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  • Died: 1559
  • Chinese: 汪直 or 王直 (traditional characters)

Wang Zhi was a Chinese merchant and smuggler of the early-to-mid 16th century. From a base in Kyushu, he and his mixed Chinese and Japanese crew engaged in illicit trade, mostly importing Chinese silks into Japan in exchange for Japanese silver. As his activities were in violation of the Chinese hai jin bans, he was labeled wakô by the Chinese authorities.

Wang is also said to have served as a translator aboard the Portuguese ship (possibly a Chinese junk carrying Portuguese crew and/or passengers) which famously brought the first Western firearms to Japan, at Tanegashima in 1543.

References

  • Arano Yasunori. "The Formation of a Japanocentric World Order." International Journal of Asian Studies 2:2 (2005). pp185-216.
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