A Short Economic History of Modern Japan, 1867-1937

By G. C. Allen | Go to book overview
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THIS book is a result of a study of Japan's economic affairs that has extended over a considerable period. The study began during my residence in the country between 1922 and 1925, and much of the material that forms the basis of the later chapters was collected during a second visit paid to Japan in 1936 for the purpose of investigating economic conditions at first hand. I began to write the book early in 1939, but the outbreak of the war compelled me to lay it aside for five years, and at the same time deprived me of access to some of the primary sources on which I should have liked to draw. The book was completed on the eve of Japan's surrender to the United Nations.

I have tried to describe the process of economic development in Japan between the time when she first entered upon her career of Westernization and the beginning of the war with China in 1937. I have written in the belief that an appreciation of this process of development is necessary both to an understanding of recent events in the Far East and also to the formulation of a wise economic policy towards Japan now that she has been defeated. But the book is intended to provide a background of knowledge rather than suggestions for policy or speculation about what is to come. The main emphasis throughout has been on industrial and financial development and organization and on economic policy, although the study has not been confined to those fields. It is hoped that economists and others who concern themselves with economic affairs and policy will find some general interest in tracing the evolution of a modern industrial system within a society so differently constituted from that of Western nations.

So far as possible, I have supported general statements by statistical evidence; but in order to avoid cumbering the text with tables and to provide the means of convenient reference, I have relegated most of the figures to a statistical appendix. I have included a bibliography which, though by no means complete, indicates some of the main printed sources that I have found useful and also offers suggestions for further study.

I am greatly indebted to my wife for help in preparing the book for publication.


August 1945


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