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Financial Business in Tokugawa Japan

Makoto Kasuya
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Makoto Kasuya: Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo

No CARF-J-044, CARF J-Series from Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo

Abstract: This paper aims to review researches on financial businesses in Tokugawa Japan. Recently, it is made clear that economic institutions play an important role for economic growth. Moreover, some scholars insist that financial factors influences economic growth, though others criticize this view. In this paper, therefore, first I conduct a survey of laws and their enforcement, and in the next two sections I analyze monetary and credit systems in the Edo period. In the fourth section, remittance between Osaka and Edo (now Tokyo) or between distant places is examined in comparison with contemporary British foreign exchange businesses, because silver was a key currency in Osaka and gold was Edo's key currency. In the fifth I define ryogae-sho (bankers in Tokugawa Japan) in this period and in the next section I conduct a survey of bankers' activities. In the seventh section I shed some light on'direct' finance between lenders and borrowers because wealthy merchants did financial businesses very actively and in the next section financial activities in the outside of three large cities (Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto) are briefly examined. In the last section I summarize above analysis and examine briefly institutional changes around the Meiji Restoration.

Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2008-02
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