chapter  11
19 Pages

The emergence of the economic science in Japan and the evolution of textbooks 1860s-1930s


From the late 1880s to the mid-1890s (the third decade of the Meiji era) Japanese economic studies increasingly moved away from English liberal political economy towards German historical and social policy orientations. The new historical and ethical thought and German financial science first entered into Japan through the English translation of Luigi Cossa’s and Richard T. Ely’s textbooks. H.C. Carey’s Principles of Social Science were translated by T. Inukai in 1884-88, and the English version of Friedrich List’s National System of Political Economy (translated by Sampson Lloyd in 1885) was translated by S. Oshima in 1889 and propagated through the Kokka Keizai Kai [State Economics Association], established in 1890. These works appealed to those who were concerned with national independence and the protection of infant industries. But the first intermediaries of German economic ideas were the English versions of Luigi Cossa’s textbooks, such as Guida allo studio dell’economia politica (1876), translated as Guide to the Study of Political Economy (Cossa 1880) and dedicated to Henry Fawcett, with an introduction by W. Stanley Jevons. The Japanese translation of Cossa’s Primi elementi di scienza delle finanze (1876) was instrumental in introducing German political economy and public finance into the educational programmes of Japanese universities and colleges. Cossa (1831-96), who was professor at the University of Pavia and had studied with Lorenz von Stein and Wilhelm Roscher, played a very significant role in bringing the new economics not only into his home country, Italy, but also into Japan. He was a key mediator in the intellectual process that turned liberal and utilitarian political economy into the historical and ethical economic thinking of the third decade of the Meiji era. The textbooks by Richard T. Ely played a similar role. Ely (1854-1943), who studied with Johannes Conrad and Karl Knies, was a founder of the American Economic Association, which was set up in 1885, following the Verein für Sozialpolitik founded in 1872. Masasada Shiozawa (1870-1945), who studied under Ely at the University of Wisconsin from 1896 and got a Ph.D. there some years later, taught at Waseda and brought there a new political economy freed

from Amano’s influence. Shiozawa wrote an introduction to Inoue’s widely read translation of Marshall’s Elements of Economics of Industry, and was a leading figure in the Japanese Society for Social Policy. He later became Waseda’s president and a council member of the Japanese Economic Association founded in 1934. Ingram’s A History of Political Economy was translated by T. Abe in 1896 (together with his preface to the Japanese edition) and was widely read together with Ely’s and Cossa’s textbooks (Keizaigakushi-gakkai 1984: 282-3).