The Tokyo University economist Shibagaki Kazuo has identified the period from the last years of Meiji to the 1920s as marking the beginning of ‘scientific attempts to apply economic theory to the analysis of the Japanese economy’ (Saeki and Shibagaki 1972: 15). Shibagaki’s statement may be open to debate, but it is certainly true that the Taishō (1912–26) and early Shōwa (1926–89) periods saw a change of emphasis in Japanese economic research.