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"Extreme confusion and disorder"? the Japanese economy in the great Kantō earthquake of 1923

Hunter, Janet (2014) "Extreme confusion and disorder"? the Japanese economy in the great Kantō earthquake of 1923. Journal of Asian Studies, 73 (3). pp. 753-773. ISSN 0021-9118

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0021911814000497


Contemporary concerns about the difficulties faced by the Japanese economy following the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 soon appeared to be unfounded as the economy recovered relatively quickly. This paper suggests that despite its limited impact on Japan’s longer term economic trajectory this disaster can tell us a great deal about the ways in which individuals, organisations and officialdom respond to a devastating event, and help us better to understand the process of transition from immediate relief to longer term recovery, not just in Japan, but more broadly. It analyses the impact of the disaster on market transactions, showing that the scale and nature of market disruption went far beyond direct physical destruction, that the collective and individual responses of government, producers, traders and consumers had the potential to make matters worse, rather than better, and that the existence of integrated markets spread the effects of the disaster across the Japanese archipelago. It also suggests that re-establishing market stability following the crisis was one of the keys to longer term recovery, and further research will help us understand the causal factors in that process.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 15:16
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2021 02:06

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