Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Money for Empire: The Yokohama Specie Bank Monetary Emissions Before and After the May Fourth (Wusi) Boycott of 1919*

  • NIV HORESH (a1)

Abstract

Over the last three decades, a considerable body of English-language academic work has shed much light on Japan's empire-building project in Greater China during the first half of the twentieth century. At the same time, Japanese-language studies of the country's pre-war financial history have also grown in leaps and bounds. Yet, to date, neither body of literature seems to have fully examined what might appear to the naked eye as one of the critical pre-war junctures, where Japanese financial history converged on imperial policy and Chinese nationalist responses thereto.1 This paper will therefore aim to fill part of the gap by examining how the Yokohama Specie Bank, arguably the backbone of Japanese finance in China Proper, was affected by Chinese anti-foreign boycotts throughout the pre-war era (1842–1937).

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

The author wishes to thank Professor Richard Burdekin, Professor Gregory Evon, Ms Mayumi Shinozaki and two anonymous MAS readers for their insightful suggestions concerning earlier versions of this paper.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

1 Young, Louise, Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Ayumu, Yasutomi, Manshūkoku no kinyū (Tokyo: Sōbunsha, 1997); Ayumu, Yasutomi, Finance in ‘Manchukuo’ (London: London School of Economics, 1998). On Japanese monetary and banking history more generally—see also Masaho, Noda, Nihon shōken shijō seiritsushi [A History of Japanese Securities Markets] (Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 1980); Norio, Tamaki, Japanese Banking: A History, 1859–1959 (Cambridge University Press, 1995); Akinobu, Kuroda, Kahei Shisutemu no sekaishi [World History of Currency Systems] (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2003); Masayoshi, Tsurumi, ‘Kindai no kahei shinyō’, [Early-Modern Currency and Credit] in Ryūtsū keizaishi, edited by Eiji, Sakurai and Satoru, Nakanishi (Tokyo: Yamakawa, 2002), pp. 470513; Kanji, Ishii, ‘British-Japanese Rivalry in Trading and Banking’, in The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600–2000, vol. 4: Economic and Business Relations, edited by Hunter, Janet E. and Shinya, Sugiyama (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2002), pp. 110132.

2 Metzler, Mark, Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); Smethurst, Richard J., From Foot Soldier to Finance Minister: Takahashi Korekiyo, Japan's Keynes (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2007); Tomoyuki, Taira, ‘Nihon teikoku shugi seiritsuki, chūgokuni okeru Yokohama shōkin ginkō’, [The Yokohama Specie Bank and the Beginning of Japanese Imperialism in China] in Tokyo daigaku keizaigaku kenkyu (1982), vol. 25, issue 11, pp. 6781; Schiltz, Michael, Japan's Money Doctors and the Gold-Yen Bloc (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2011).

3 Shōhyō no rekishi: beki tsūka no ichishiryō toshite (Confidential in-house survey compiled at the YSB Dalian Branch in 1941 by Inspector Ogawa Seiitsu). The author is indebted to Professor Michael Schiltz of the University of Tokyo for making available to him scans of this archival material.

4 Schiltz, Michael, ‘An ‘Ideal’ Bank of Issue: the Banque Nationale de Belgique as a model for the Bank of Japan’, in Financial History Review (2006), vol. 13, issue 2, pp. 179196; Mark Metzler, Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan, p. 24.

5 Yokohama shōkin ginkō zenshi, [A Comprehensive History of the Yokohama Specie Bank] vol. II, pp. 32, 144 (Tokyo: The Bank of Tokyo, 1980–1984); Meiji taishō zaisei shi, [Fiscals of the Meiji and Taisho Eras] vols. 14–16 (Tokyo: Keizai Oraisha, 1955). In 1947, the Supreme Command of the Allied Powers (SCAP) re-structured the YSB into the Bank of Tokyo, which has more recently evolved into the Mitsubishi Tokyo Bank. After World War II, SCAP similarly re-structured other long standing Japanese semi-official banks (Tokushu ginkō 特殊銀行)—which had been initially chartered on the German and French models—into purely privately-run banks. These banks had often incorporated with large private share subscription, but they won active Japanese government endorsement and proved pivotal to the country's military and industrial modernization.

6 Tamaki Norio, Japanese Banking: A History, 1859–1959, pp. 17–18; Horesh, Niv, Shanghai's Bund and Beyond: British Banks, Banknote Issuance and Monetary Policy in China, 1842–1937 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).

7 School of Oriental and African Studies Archives (hereafter, SOAS) McLean Papers, McLean to Greig, 21 October 1875. MS 380401 Box 3, Folder 13.

8 North-China Herald [hereafter, NCH], 1 July 1876, p. 13.

9 Tamaki Norio, Japanese Banking: A History, 1859–1959, pp. 69–73; Michael Schiltz, ‘Money on the Road to Empire—Japan's Choice for Gold Monometallism’, in Economic History Review (Forthcoming).

10 Shōhyō no rekishi: beki tsuka no ichishiryo toshite, pp. 13–28.

11 Chouzhong, Wu, ‘Hengbin zhengjin yinhang jiqi zai Woguo faxing de chaopiao’, [The Yokohama Specie Bank and Its Note Issuance in China] in Zhongguo qianbi, vol. 3, pp. 4144; Pick, Albert, Standard Catalogue of World Paper Money, vol. I (Iola, Wis: Krause Publications, 1990), pp. 285288.

12 On the Financial Crisis in Shanghai 1911–1912 see Bergère, Marie- Claire, Une crise financière à shanghai à la fin de l'ancien regime [Financial Crisis in Shanghai at the Qing's Downfall] (Paris: Mouton, 1964); Linsun, Cheng, Banking in Modern China: Entrepreneurs, Professional Managers and the Development of Chinese Banks, 1897–1937 (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 3745.

13 Yokohama shōkin ginkō zenshi, vol. II, p. 144.

14 NCH, 23 May 1908, p. 479.

15 NCH, 21 Oct 1911, p. 153.

16 Yokohama shōkin ginkō zenshi, vol. VI, pp. 399–401; for the YSB paid-up capital figures, see Hundred-Year Statistics of the Japanese Economy (Tokyo: Nihon Ginkō Tōkeikyoku, 1966), pp. 166–167. The ¥ 100 million cap subsequently remained intact until 1945.

17 SOAS, Imperial Maritime Customs [hereafter, IMC] Decennial Reports for 1919–21, p. 63.

18 Chengfu, Deng, ‘Riben Hengbin zhengjin yinhang dui woguo de jinrong qinlue’, [Japan's Yokohama Specie Bank and Its Financial Invasion of China] in Beijing liaowang, vol. 6 (1995), pp. 2764; Mark Metzler, Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan, p. 65; Yuqing, Guo, Jindai Riben yinhang zai Hua jinrong huodong: Hengbin zhengjin yinhang, 1894–1919 [Pre-war Japanese Banks’ Operations in China: the Yokohama Specie Bank, 1894–1919] (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 2007), p. 117.

19 SOAS, IMC Decennial Reports for 1919–21, Appendix II, p. 84–85.

20 Tamaki Norio, Japanese Banking: A History, 1859–1959), pp. 111–168; Mark Metzler, Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan, pp. 199–217; Michael Schiltz, Japan's Money Doctors and the Gold-Yen Bloc, passim.

21 Shōhyō no rekishi: beki tsuka no ichishiryō toshite, pp. 5–8.

22 Michael Schiltz, Japan's Money Doctors and the Gold-Yen Bloc, Chapter 4.

23 Taira Tomoyuki, ‘Nihon teikoku shugi seiritsuki, chūgoku ni okeru Yokohama shōkin ginkō’, in Tōkyō daigaku keizaigaku kenkyū. Taira's view is supported by Wray, William, ‘Japan's big-three service enterprises in China, 1896–1936’, in The Japanese informal empire in China, 1895–1937, edited by Duus, Peter, Myers, Ramon H., Mark, R. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton, 1989), pp. 3164, 44–47.

24 Ishii Kanji, ‘British- Japanese Rivalry in Trading and Banking’, in The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600–2000, vol. 4: Economic and Business Relations; Lieu, D. K., Foreign Investments in China (Nanjing: Chinese Government Bureau of Statistics, 1929), p. 86; an illuminating indication of the importance of local deposits is provided by D. K. Lieu: ‘Deposits of Chinese and foreign customers, especially savings and long term deposits, are invested by [the foreign banks] in [China] or other countries. . .although we are able to obtain their condensed balance sheets for all branches, it is impossible with a few exceptions to secure data concerning their China branches alone. As to the way they invest the deposits of their customers, detailed particulars for our purpose are also unavailable.’

25 Guo Yuqing, Jindai Riben yinhang zai Hua jinrong huodong: Hengbin zhengjin yinhang, 1894–1919, pp. 189, 191.

26 On the ‘chop loan’ and the 1910–12 financial crisis in Shanghai—see McElderry, Andrea Lee, Shanghai Old- style Banks (Ch'ien- Chuang), 1800–1925: A Traditional Institution in a Changing Society (Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1976); Shizuya, Nishimura, ‘The Foreign and Native Banks in China: Chop Loans in Shanghai and Hankow before 1914’, in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 39, issue 1 (2005), pp. 109132.

27 On the Ta Ching Bank—see Xiangxia, Kong, Daqing yinhang hangshi [A History of the Ta Ching Bank] (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe, 1991).

28 Quested, R. K. I., The Russo-Chinese Bank: a Multinational Financial Base of Tsarism in China (Birmingham University Press, 1977); on late-Qing attempts at stemming the spread of Russian banknotes in Manchuria, see, for example, Smith, Stephen A., Like Cattle and Horses: Nationalism and Labor in Shanghai, 1895–1927 (Duke University Press, 2002), p. 45.

29 Tamagna, Frank, Banking and Finance in China (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942), pp. 2830; Richu, Ding, Shanghai jindai jingji shi, vol. II (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1994), pp. 6768, 101; Pugach, Noel H., Same Bed, Different Dreams: A History of the Chinese American Bank of Commerce, 1919–1937 (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, Hong Kong University, 1997).

30 Cochran, Sherman, Big Business in China: Sino- Foreign Rivalry in the Cigarette Industry,1890–1930 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1980).

31 Hirofumi, Takatsuna, Kokusai tōshi shanhai no naka no Nihonjin [Japanese Expatriates in Cosmopolitan Shanghai] (Tokyo: Kenbun, 2009); Guo Yuqing, Jindai Riben yinhang zai Hua jinrong huodong: Hengbin zhengjin yinhang, 1894–1919; Remer, C. F., A Study of Chinese Boycotts: With Special Reference to Their Economic Effectiveness (Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1933).

32 Takaharu, Kikuchi, Chūgoku minzoku undo no kihon kozo [The Basic Structure of Chinese Nationalist Movements] (Tokyo: Daian, 1996), p. 182.

33 Sant ō shuppei to hai nikka undō [The Shandong Expedition and Anti-Japanese Boycott] (Shanghai: Shanhai Nihon Shōgyo kaigisho, 1927).

34 Tsūshō kōhō issues for 16 June 1919 (Changchun); 17 July 1919 (Zhifu).

35 Japan Centre for Asian Historical Records, intelligence report dated 20 November 1919, Reel no. 1–0517, folio 0273. On the longer-term Japanese mercantile anxiety that the May Fourth boycott unleashed, see also Junji, Banno, ‘Japanese Industrialists and Merchants and the Anti-Japanese Boycotts in China, 1919–1928’, in The Japanese Informal Empire in China, 1895–1937, edited by Duus, Peter, Myers, Ramon H. and Peattie, Mark R. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1989), pp. 314317. However, Banno does not discuss the impact of boycotts specifically on banking.

36 Fung, Edmund S. K., The Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat: Britain's South China Policy, 1924–1931 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 44.

37 Fumiko, Rinbara, Sō Sokkyū to Tenshin no kokka teishō undō [Song Zejiu and the Origins of the Tianjin Movement for the Promotion of Chinese Goods] (Kyoto: Dōhōsha, 1983), p. 47. Rinbara's case-study well illustrates the failure to address boycotts of quasi-foreign banknotes as one of the most significant characteristics of anti-foreign agitation between 1919 and 1927. Rinbara cursorily describes how students in Tianjin had tried to force merchants to encash Japanese-issued notes in 1919, but like other scholars does not analyse the consequences for Japanese banks in the city. Notably, the first boycott against quasi-foreign banknotes in Tianjin had actually targeted the French-run Banque Industrielle de Chine as early as 1916. See Sheehan, Brett, Trust in Troubled Times: Money, Banks and State-Society Relations in Republican Tianjin (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 82.

38 See Wusi yundong zai Shanghai shiliao xuanji [Select Historical Materials on the May Fourth Movement in Shanghai] (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1961), pp. 11, 215.

39 Jianshu, Ren, Xiandai Shanghai da shiji [A Chronicle of Modern Shanghai] (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1996), pp. 1116; Wusi yundong zai Shanghai shiliao xuanji, pp. 212–213, 689–692. On Taiwan's colonial economy—see Ho, Samuel P. S., Development of Taiwan 1860–1970 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), Chapter 3.

40 Baster, A. S. J., The International Banks (New York: Amo Press, 1935) [Rep. 1977]; Davis, Clarence B., ‘Financing Imperialism: British and American Bankers as Vectors of Imperial Expansion in China, 1908–1920’, in Business History Review, vol. 56.2 (1982), pp. 236264.

41 Orchard, Dorothy J., ‘China's Use of the Boycott as a Political Weapon’, in the Annalsof the American Academy of Political and Social Science— China, vol. 152 (1930), pp. 252254; cf. Liangui, Pan, Shanghai huobi shi [The History of Shanghai's Currencies] (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 2004), p. 130.

42 Niv Horesh, Shanghai's Bund and Beyond: British Banks, Banknote Issuance and Monetary Policy in China, 1842–1937, Chapter 4.

43 The boycott of Japanese-issued notes re-awakened in 1923 in response to Japan's refusal to waive its territorial claims in Northeast China. See NCH, 14 April 1923, p. 81.

44 See, for example, an article by Arthur Sowerby, a member of the Shanghai branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in NCH, 8 August 1925, p. 1925; Dorothy J. Orchard, ‘China's Use of the Boycott as a Political Weapon’, in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science— China, p. 256.

45 Shen bao 27 November 1919, p. 6; Shen bao, 28 November 1919, p. 10.

46 Yokohama shōkin ginkō zenshi, vol. II, p. 360, 385. The YSB may have tried to increase its Hankou circulation in the early 1920s in order to offset the fall in demand in Shanghai.

47 Yokohama shōkin ginkō zenshi, vol. I, p. 336.

48 On Yuan Shikai's interventionism see Cheng Linsun, Banking in Modern China: Entrepreneurs, Professional Managers and the Development of Chinese Banks, 1897–1937, pp. 37–57.

49 On the dynamics of subsequent boycotts between 1923–1932, see Wray, William, ‘Japan's big-three service enterprises in China, 1896–1936’, in The Japanese informal empire in China, 1895–1937, edited by Duus, Peter, Myers, Ramon H., Mark, R. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton, 1989), pp. 3164; Gerth, Karl, China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003).

50 Many of the YSB's records were transferred to Washington DC during the American occupation of Japan.These include, among other valuable items, the YSB in-house monetary surveys but apparently little by way of internal branch correspondence.

51 Share price data compiled from Meiji taishō kokusei sōran [An Overview of Meiji and Taisho-era Official Statistics] (Tokyo: Tōyō keizai shimposha, 1975), p. 315.

52 Boomgaard, Peter, Brown, Ian, ‘An Introduction’, in The Economies of Southeast Asia in the 1930s depression (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 119.

53 NCH, 24 May 1919 pp. 507, 598.

54 NCH, 7 February 1920, p. 374.

55 NCH, 4 January 1919, p. 30. Monday's run on the Bank of Taiwan was thought to have resulted in ‘less than $25.000 of its notes’ and about half the amount in YSB silver dollar notes cashed.

56 Niv Horesh, Shanghai's Bund and Beyond: British Banks, Banknote Issuance and Monetary Policy in China, 1842–1937, Chapter 4.

* The author wishes to thank Professor Richard Burdekin, Professor Gregory Evon, Ms Mayumi Shinozaki and two anonymous MAS readers for their insightful suggestions concerning earlier versions of this paper.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

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