The path of economic development from the late nineteenth century to the economic miracle

Authored by: Penelope Francks

Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese History

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138815186
eBook ISBN: 9781315746678
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter traces the process of Japanese economic development from the first stages of industrialisation in the nineteenth century, through the upheavals of the inter-war and wartime periods, to the ‘miracle’ of the postwar decades. It analyses the forces behind the ‘labour-intensive path’ of industrialisation and the subsequent impact of the global instabilities that transformed Japan’s international relations and determined the economic role of the empire. It shows how continuities between prewar, wartime and postwar economic structures subsequently facilitated rapid acceleration in growth, under the conditions of the world economy up to the 1970s. Its themes reflect those of current research into Japan’s economic history: on the one hand, the significance of the small-scale, labour-intensive and ‘traditional’ sectors of the economy and, on the other, the regional and global context within which Japan became a great economic power.

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