ABSTRACT

The late Professor John E. Wills, Jr. was undoubtedly one of the preeminent scholars of maritime East Asia. His pioneering works have revealed much about the integrated nature of the region, from the development of overarching structures and institutions to the roles played by individual actors, such as merchants, pirates, sealords, and migrants. 1 Professor Wills never conceived of maritime East Asia as a closed system or one purely built upon trade. Accordingly, he has examined its role in globalization and cultural contacts with the West. 2 He has also paid careful attention to the overbearing presence of the Chinese state, from its imperial institutions and Confucian value system to its policies on maritime trade, which have had the longest, deepest, and most sustained impact on the region. 3