Socio-Economic History

Vol. 66, No. 3

The disappearance from circulation of copper coins and the expansion of police powers in the mid-Heian era (tenth to eleventh century)

As the authority of the Heian court grew weaker from the ninth century, the value of copper coins gradually fell, and at the end of the tenth century they ceased to circulate. This is the currently accepted theory.

In fact, however, the value of copper coins remained stable throughout the tenth century. Moreover, they suddenly ceased to circulate in 984. In the meantime the court began to restrain the unilateral price levels on some commodities at the beginning of tenth century, and from the middle of the tenth century used its police powers to strengthen price controls. The power of the police was further expanded during this century. The copper coins were discontinued during the rule of the KAZAN Emperor (984-986).

These phenomena show that the real reason for the disappearance from circulation of these copper coins was not in fact the political weakening of the Heian court, but the expansion of its police powers in the tenth century.

Masafumi MIKI
The relationship between urban traffic in the city of Osaka and the nature of the area under its control, from the 1860s to the 1900s

This purpose of this paper is to clarify the relationship between the formation of the city of Osaka and the way in which the principle of municipalization of urban traffic facilities developed.

The following two points in this paper have been overlooked in previous studies of financial history but their significance became clear once the principle of municipalization of urban traffic facilities was considered in a broad sense:
(1) The municipal monopoly of urban traffic facilities in Osaka began about ten years earlier than 1903, the date which is commonly accepted.
(2) The introduction of a railway tax by the city in 1900 shows that the idea of securing income through traffic facilities, which later developed into the principle of their municipalization, dates back to 1900.

After the expansion of the city in 1897, it was divided into 'old' and 'new' areas. The expenses of the new area were supplemented by the high revenue raised from the old area through the principle of municipalization of urban traffic facilities.

The fertilizer market of the Kawagoe area in Saitama prefecture, 1905-1918

The purpose of this article is to study changes in the fertilizer market of the Kawagoe area and its distribution routes during the period 1905-1918, through a case study of the family of ITO Chozaburo, a local wholesale merchant in the town of Kawagoe.

During this period, there was a rapid increase in fertilizer consumption in this area as a result of the spread of bean cake and chemical fertilizers, in addition to traditional fertilizers such as rice bran and fish. During the 1900s, the ITO family mainly obtained these fertilizers from wholesale merchants in Tokyo, which was the established distribution center for fertilizers, or from importers in Yokohama. But in the 1910s, they began to use the rail network to obtain fish fertilizers from merchants in Hokkaido and Hokuriku and established direct links with Dai-Nihon Jinzo Hiryo, a producer of superphosphates. Bean cake and imported ammonium sulfate, however, were still supplied by wholesale merchants and importers in Tokyo and Yokohama. These findings indicate that when confronted by changes in the fertilizer market, local merchants played an important role in the reorganization of fertilizer distribution systems.

The development of the policy of bank consolidation in Japan during the inter-war period

The purpose of this article is to make clear the historical features of the policy of bank consolidation in inter-war Japan. Since the World War I, city banks had developed branches in the countryside and accumulated much money there. As a result, rural industries suffered from a lack of funds. The two biggest political parties, Seiyukai and Kenseikai had criticized the banks. They had pressured the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Finance into a change of policy so that they would transform the Japanese financial system intoa branch-banking system on the English model. By doing this, both political parties showed their concern for rural industries and put the policy into effect especially the fall of 1927. After 1936, however, the policy was changed to one of 'one bank for each prefecture'. As a result, the policy of bank consolidation in the inter-war period showed concern for rural industries in the countryside, and reflected 'the multi-stratum structure of the financial system'.