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Commerce in Rokugan shifted constantly because the basic unit of value for coinage was the koku, which equated to the worth of a single bushel of rice for that year. Therfore the value of a koku would fluctuate from year to year according to rice supply and demand. With a bountiful harvest the koku was worth less than it would in a sparse year. 
Who Conducts Trade Edit
While inside his lord's realm, a samurai could simply order heimin to make something for him, rendering currency pointless. Outside his lord's realm a samurai could still demand objects from peasants, but it was rude not to compensate that peasant's lord. For this reason many samurai considered it ignoble if not outright dishonorable to deal with merchants, since that implied two key things: their lord was inadequate in providing for them and that material possessions were important. However, there were some who did not find commerce ignoble at all, most notably the Mantis Clan, many in the Unicorn Clan and the Yasuki family. 
Black Market Edit
There was trade that was considered too dishonorable for open dealings and this business was conducted in the Crane black market, an underground of illegal and/or immoral dealings. The ongoing economic war between the Yasuki and Daidoji families for the past six centuries meant the black market became very profitable, to the point where they made up most of the Yasuki family profits. The Yasuki and Daidoji were not the only participants in black marketeering. One dangerous entity concealed within the black market was the Kolat. 
Trade Embargo Edit
Trade Embargos were emplaced by courtiers of clans who wished to hurt another clan's resources. They were a rare occurance and the Crane Clan, who were arguably the most capable of doing so, had only ever embargoed another clan on two occasions. The first one was during the Crane-Crab War, which sparked the defection of the Yasuki family, and the second time was during a war with the Lion Clan in order to force them to the negotiating table in Otosan Uchi. The political strength of the Crane meant that they could force other clans to stop supplies to the Lion, and at that time even the Yasuki could not continue trade with the Matsu forces. 
In 1160 another embargo was made by Akodo Kaneka. The Seikitsu Pass, the most important crossroad of the Empire at that time was blocked by Moto Chagatai.  The blockade on earth was part of the Kaneka's strategy to get the Throne.  At the same time the Mantis Clan blocked the ports with their fleets. 
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