Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Making a Mint: British Mercantile Influence and the Building of the Japanese Imperial Mint

  • Susumu Mizuta

Abstract

The Japanese Imperial Mint, which began its operation producing gold and silver coins in Osaka in 1871, has come to represent the self-modernisation of Japanese architecture and society more generally, both in its industrial purpose and western classical style. This article focuses on the planning, construction and socio-spatial design of the mint to resituate the project in the context of British imperial expansion. New archival research in both Japan and Britain, enabling close analysis of overlooked drawings and documents, establishes the Japanese Imperial Mint's dependence on the transfer of men, machinery and plans from the former Hong Kong Mint, mediated and managed by the two firms Glover & Co and Jardine Matheson & Co. This article thus not only sheds new light on these two individually important buildings in colonial and imperial history, and the engineers involved, but illuminates the relationship between British colonial architecture and the activities of British merchants at the edge of empire in East Asia in the nineteenth century.

Copyright

References

Hide All

NOTES

1 ‘The Japanese Imperial Mint Osaka’, Engineering, 14 April 1871, pp. 262–63. Another engraving is included in ‘The Japanese Mint’, Illustrated London News, 27 May 1871, pp. 511–13.

2 Nakamura, Kakunosuke, ‘Zōheikyoku ni tsuite’ [‘The Japanese Imperial Mint’], Kenchiku to Shakai [Architecture and Society], 15.8 (1932), pp. 114; Hayashino, Masanori, ‘Zōheikyoku no Enkaku to Kenchiku Ikō’ [‘History and Architectural Remains of the Japanese Imperial Mint’], Kenchiku Shi Kenkyū [Studies in Architectural History], 29 (1961), pp. 2240; Kikuchi, Jūrō, ‘Wōtorusu Koyō, Ōsaka Chakunin no Shakaiteki Haikei: Eijin T.J. Wōtorusu no Jiseki ni kansuru Kenkyū, sono 4’ [‘Researching the Achievements of the Briton T.J. Waters, Part 4: The Social Background to Waters's Employment and Arrival in Osaka’], Nihon Kenchiku Gakkai Ronbun Hōkokushū [Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Japan], 243 (1976), pp. 119–28; Toshio Kimura, ‘Shoki Zōheiryō no Kenchiku no Kenkyū’ [‘Researching the Architecture of the Japanese Imperial Mint in its Early Years’] (doctoral thesis, University of Tokyo, 1984); Yumoto, Kōichi, Kindai Zōhei Kotohajime [The Start of Modern Minting] (Tokyo, 1987); Hanashiro, Roy, Thomas William Kinder and the Japanese Imperial Mint (Leiden, 1999).

3 Muramatsu, Teijirō, Westerners in the Modernization of Japan (Tokyo, 1995). See also Pedlar, Neil, The Imported Pioneers: Westerners Who Helped Build Modern Japan (Folkestone, 1990). On Waters in particular, see Jackson, Neil, ‘Thomas James Waters (1842–98): Bibles and Bricks in Bakumatsu and Early Meiji Japan’, in Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, ed. Cortazzi, H., 10 vols (Folkestone, 1994–2016), VII (2010), pp. 469–86; and Vivers, Meg, An Irish Engineer: The Extraordinary Achievements of Thomas J. Waters and Family in Early Meiji Japan and Beyond (Brisbane, 2013).

4 Muramatsu, Teijirō, ‘The Course of Modern Japanese Architecture’, Japan Architect, 109.6 (1965), pp. 3756. See also Abe, Kimimasa, ‘Early Western Architecture in Japan’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 13.2 (1954), pp. 1318.

5 Fermor-Hesketh, Robert, ed., Architecture of the British Empire (London, 1986), p. 205. G.A. Bremner has noted that early colonial buildings in Hong Kong could be understood in relation to British India: see his introduction in Bremner, G.A., ed., Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (Oxford, 2016), p. 12.

6 Hanashiro, Thomas William Kinder, pp. 5–33.

7 Glover first contacted Jardines regarding the acquisition in February 1868: letter from Glover & Co to JM & Co, Hiogo, 14 February 1868, Cambridge, University Library, Jardine Matheson Archive [hereafter JM], B10/2/3. See also the letter from W. Keswick to T.B. Glover, Hong Kong, 19 April 1868 (JM, B7/15/9133); letter from Glover to Keswick, Osaka, 28 May 1868 (JM, B10/6/6); and letter from Glover to Keswick, Nagasaki, 11 July 1868 (JM, B10/4/543).

8 Hanashiro, Thomas William Kinder, pp. 37–39.

9 Shimamura, Yasushi, ‘Kōkoku Zōheiryō Ranshō no Ki’ [‘Origin of the Japanese Imperial Mint’], 1874, cited in Meiji Taishō Ōsaka-shi Shi [History of Osaka City in the Meiji and Taishō Eras], 8 vols (Tokyo, 1933–35), VII (1933), pp. 1638. This early manuscript history of the Japanese Imperial Mint was written within three years of its opening. According to Jūrō Kikuchi, the manuscript in the Mitsui Archive, Tokyo, is a copy of another held in the collection of the Ministry of Finance, and another copy (though under a different title) is held at Waseda University Library: Jūrō Kikuchi, ‘Zōheiryō Gonyūyō Kanjōchō kara mita Wōtorusu no Chii: Eijin T.J. Wōtorusu no Jiseki ni kansuru Kenkyū, sono 2’ [‘Researching the Achievements of the Briton T.J. Waters, Part 2: Waters’s Status as Seen in the Japanese Imperial Mint Account Books’], Nihon Kenchiku Gakkai Ronbun Hōkokushū [Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Japan], 228 (1975), pp. 133–39 (p. 133).

10 Hanashiro, Thomas William Kinder, pp. 52–53.

11 Kagenori Ueno, ‘Kaheiki’ [‘Minting Machines’], Keiō Yonen Rokugatsu Itsuka [24 July 1868], Tokyo, Mitsui Archive, cited in Godai Tomoatsu Denki Shiryō [Materials for Tomoatsu Godai Biography], ed. Nihon Keieishi Kenkyūsho [Japan Business History Institute], 4 vols (Tokyo, 1971–74), II (1972), pp. 21–22. As Japan used a lunar calendar until the end of 1872 (and so the Japanese dates above actually mean 5 and 6 June), this article notes Japanese dates together with the solar calendar date in square brackets.

12 Tatewaki Komatsu, ‘Kahei Kikai Kumitate no An’ [‘Plan for Assembling Minting Machinery’], Keiō Yonen Rokugatsu Muika [25 July 1868], cited in Godai Tomoatsu, II, p. 21.

13 Letter from K.R. Mackenzie for Glover & Co to JM & Co, Hiogo, 3 October 1868, JM, B10/2/18.

14 Agreement between John Pritchett and the crown agents for the colonies, London, 29 April 1865, Hong Kong, Public Records Office, Hong Kong Record Series [hereafter HKRS], 149/2/402; agreement between Christopher Boyd and the crown agents for the colonies, London, 26 May 1865, HKRS, 149/2/403. The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan and the Philippines (Hong Kong, 1868), p. 130. Letter from Keswick to Glover, Hong Kong, 30 September 1868, JM, B7/15/9079.

15 Shimamura, ‘Kōkoku Zōheiryō Ranshō no Ki’, p. 20.

16 Letter from Mackenzie for Glover & Co to JM & Co, Hiogo, 3 October 1868, JM, B10/2/18.

17 Shimamura, ‘Kōkoku Zōheiryō Ranshō no Ki’, pp. 16–38. Memorandum of agreement between T.J. Waters and John Pritchett, 29 January 1869, cited in Jūrō Kikuchi, ‘Kahei Zukasa no Wōtorusu Yakujōsho to Wōtorusu no Shokumu: Eijin T.J. Wōtorusu no Jiseki ni kansuru Kenkyū, sono 3’ [‘Researching the Achievements of the Briton T.J. Waters, Part 3: The Currency Office's Agreement with Waters, and Waters's Duties’], Nihon Kenchiku Gakkai Ronbun Hōkokushū [Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Japan], 229 (1975), pp. 181–95.

18 Letter from Glover to Keswick, Nagasaki, 25 July 1868, JM, B10/4/544. He thought that Kinder would arrive in Japan together with the minting machines. See letter from Glover to Keswick, Nagasaki, 1 August 1868, JM, B10/4/548.

19 Letter from Glover to Keswick, Cobe [sic], 1 November 1868, JM, B10/2/21.

20 Letter from Glover to Keswick, Osaka, 17 December 1868, JM, B10/6/16.

21 Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tomoatsu Godai Collection, microfilm reel no. R3, document no. 119, letter from Tatewaki Komatsu to Tomoatsu Godai, dated Meiji Gan Nen, Ku Gatsu, Jyūsan Nichi [28 October 1868].

22 Vivers, An Irish Engineer, pp. 57–62. See also Susumu Mizuta, ‘A Study on the Amami Oshima Sugar Mill: Its Restoration and Social Background of Establishment’, Proceedings of XVth Congress of International Committee of Conservation of Industrial Heritages (2012).

23 ‘Tea Preparing Machinery’, Engineering, 3 January 1868, pp. 7–8. See also ‘Commercial Report for 1867, Nagasaki’, in British Parliamentary Papers, Area Studies, Japan, vol. 4 (Shannon, 1972), pp. 308–09.

24 Japan Mint, Zōheikyoku Hyakunen Shi [One Hundred Year History of the Japan Mint] (Osaka, 1976).

25 Memorandum of agreement between the Japanese government and T.J. Waters, dated 19 March 1869, cited in Kikuchi, ‘Eijin T.J. Wōtorusu no Jiseki ni kansuru Kenkyū, sono 3’, p. 181.

26 Letter from Glover to Keswick, Osaka, 17 December 1868, JM, B10/6/16. See also letter from E. Whittall to F.B. Johnson, Kobe, 6 January 1869, JM, B10/2/29.

27 Sugiyama, Shin'ya, Meiji Ishin to Igirisu Shōnin [The Meiji Restoration and the British Merchant] (Tokyo, 1993), pp. 166–92.

28 Japan Mint, Zōheikyoku Hyakunen Shi, pp. 30–39.

29 Tatewaki, Kazuo, Zainichi Gaikoku Ginkō Shi [A History of Foreign Banks in Japan] (Tokyo, 1987), pp. 247–56.

30 Japan Mint, Zōheikyoku Hyakunen Shi, pp. 78–92.

31 Yamada, Kōichi and Kimura, Toshio, ‘Zōheiryō Kingin Kahei Chūzōjō no Tōsho Keikaku’ [‘Initial Plans for the Japanese Imperial Mint's Silver and Gold Coining Factory’], Nihon Kenchiku Gakkai Ronbun Hōkokushū [Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Japan], 317 (1982), pp. 133–40 (p. 139).

32 ‘Chūzōjō Sōtai Dekikata Ezu Tsuketari Shōmen Ranpudai Tessaku’ [‘As-Built Drawings of the Entire Coining Factory, Complete with Front Ramps and Iron Railings’], Japan Mint archive, Osaka.

33 Japan Mint, Zōheikyoku Hyakunen Shi, pp. 20–21.

34 See note 11 above. Toshio Kimura, ‘Shoki Zōheiryō no Kenchiku no Kenkyū’, p. 289.

35 The establishment of the Hong Kong Mint has been well described — see, for example, Eitel, Ernest John, Europe in China: History of Hong Kong from the Beginning to the Year 1882 (London, 1895), pp. 374–76, 441–42; Endacott, G.B., ‘Hong Kong Mint and the Colony's Currency Problem’ (parts 1 and 2), Far Eastern Economic Review, 20.24–25 (1956); Endacott, G.B., A History of Hong Kong (Oxford, 1973), pp. 117–18; and MacKeown, P.K., ‘The Hong Kong Mint, 1864–1868: The History of an Early Engineering Experiment’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, 47 (2007), pp. 4179 — though architectural investigations remain limited in these works.

36 MacKeown, ‘Hong Kong Mint’, pp. 44–45.

37 Letter from C.G. Cleverly to the acting colonial secretary, Hong Kong, 29 January 1864, Kew, UK National Archives [hereafter TNA], CO 129/97.

38 Ibid.

39 Keswick, Maggie, ed., The Thistle and the Jade: A Celebration of 175 Years of Jardine, Matheson & Co (London, 2008), p. 220.

40 MacKeown, ‘Hong Kong Mint’, p. 51. Endacott, ‘Hong Kong Mint’, part 2, p. 794.

41 Several architectural plans were transferred between Hong Kong and Britain regarding the guards’ barracks in January 1866. See TNA, CO 129/111, Supplementary Record and Estimate No. 26 of 1866, 11 January 1866.

42 Endacott, ‘Hong Kong Mint’, part 2, p. 795

43 Endacott, A History of Hong Kong, p. 147.

44 Keswick, ed., The Thistle and the Jade, p. 220.

45 Mint of Hong Kong, Ground Plan, TNA, MR 1/895/2; Mint of Hong Kong, Elevation of House, Front Wall, and Entrance Gates, TNA, MR 1/895/3. The catalogue records ‘MR 1/895 3 items extracted from CO 129/101’.

46 TNA, CO 129/101, Report and Estimate No. 2 of 1865, 30 September 1864. See also MacKeown, ‘Hong Kong Mint’, pp. 44–45.

47 Hong Kong Museum of History, History Through Maps: An Exhibition of Old Maps of China (Hong Kong, 1997), pp. 88–89.

48 The specifications of upstairs, roofs and inner structures, omitted in the plans, are observed in TNA, CO 129/101, Report and Estimate No. 2 of 1865.

49 Ibid.

50 Royal Mint, Ground Storey, 1842, London, British Library, Maps Crace VIII, item no. 47. See also Challis, Christopher Edgar, A New History of the Royal Mint (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 457–63.

51 Griffin, Robert, ed., The Mint Project (Sydney, 2009), pp. 1622. Sketch Plan of the Proposed Branch of the Royal Mint at Ottawa, 1901, TNA (MINT) 17/191.

52 Kimura, ‘Shoki Zōheiryo no Kenchiku no Kenkyū’, pp. 107–09.

53 Brunton, Richard Henry, Building Japan, 1868–1876 (Folkestone, 1991).

54 To borrow the title of Gardiner's, Michael At the Edge of Empire: The Life of Thomas Blake Glover (Edinburgh, 2007).

Making a Mint: British Mercantile Influence and the Building of the Japanese Imperial Mint

  • Susumu Mizuta

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed