The Economic History of
the Restoration Period, 1853-1885

Osamu Saito

January 2011


This paper overviews the economic history of the period between 1853, the year when Commodore Perry's ‘black ships’ arrived at Shimoda, and 1885, the year that marked the end of the so-called Matsukata recession period. The chapter will trace economic, political and regime changes during this transitional period in the first four sections. After having explored the question of continuity and discontinuity, I will have a critical look at what the oft-quoted slogan of the new Meiji government, ‘rich nation, strong army’, meant. The penultimate section discusses the issue of whether or not early Meiji Japan was a developmental, plan-rational state by taking a close look at actual policy changes in the 1870s and 80s. The last section draws implications for the changing constellations in political economy after 1885.

Full text

PDF Download (PDF: 613KB)