Chapter

Economics as Politics in Occupied Japan

Laura Hein

in Reasonable Men, Powerful Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520243477
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931572 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520243477.003.0004
Economics as Politics in Occupied Japan

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When Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, the economy was in a shambles. Yet the utter failure of the old regime to protect its citizens also created an opportunity for a fresh start. The five economists who survived the war — Ōuchi Hyōe, Arisawa Hiromi, Ōmori Yoshitarō, Wakimura Yoshitarō, Takahashi Masao, and Minobe Ryōkichi — had been waiting a long time for this opportunity and moved quickly to seize it. The Ōuchi group's willingness to stake out social science as a major weapon in claiming the performative space of democracy was not just a bold and intensely political move in post-war Japan, but was also what made them respected public intellectuals. Their efforts not only helped to shape economic policy, but also molded the image of the public intellectual in post-war Japan and set the tone for the discussion of economic issues for decades to come. The economists believed the best way they could contribute to democracy and equity in Japan was to control inflation and rebuild the national statistics infrastructure.

Keywords: Japan; economy; economists; inflation; economic policy; Ōuchi Hyōe; social science; democracy

Chapter.  11068 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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