A history of early twentieth century Japan with emphasis on the rise and fall of its economy.
This paper discusses Japan’s rise to the international forefront at the beginning of the twentieth century and examines how the economic downturn in the 1920s paved the way for the rise of the militarists and ultimately to Japanese aggression in the 1930s.
In 1920 Japan’s wartime economic boom distorted, and the country suffered a series of recessions. The great Kanto earthquake of 1923, which devastated the Tokyo-Yokohama region, aggravated bad economic conditions. Agricultural prices plunged, and the rural economy became indolent. A major bank panic in 1927 set off alarm bells, but conditions grew much poorer with the onset of the Great Depression, the global economic slump that began at the end of 1929. Japan’s manufacturing production fell, workers were laid off, a new wave of strikes began, and the rural economy went into a tailspin.
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