IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Japanese Economy during the Interwar Period: Instability in the Financial System and the Impact of the World Depression


  • Masato Shizume

    (Bank of Japan)


The Japanese economy during the interwar period faced chronic crises. Among them, the Showa Financial Crisis of 1927 and the Showa Depression of 1930-31 marked turning points. The Showa Financial Crisis of 1927 was the consequence of persistent financial instability because of the incomplete restructuring in the business sector and postponements in the disposal of bad loans by financial institutions. The crisis brought reforms in the financial sector through large-scale injections of public funds and the amalgamation of banks. The Showa Depression of 1930-31 was caused by the Great Depression, a worldwide economic collapse, which had been intensified in Japan by the return to the Gold Standard at the old parity. Japan escaped from the Great Depression earlier than most other countries through a series of macroeconomic stimulus measures initiated by Korekiyo Takahashi, a veteran Finance Minister who resumed office in December 1931. Takahashi instituted comprehensive macroeconomic policy measures, including exchange rate, fiscal, and monetary adjustments. At the same time, the Gold Standard, which had been governing Japan's fiscal policy, collapsed in the wake of the British departure from it in September 1931. Then, Japan introduced a mechanism by which the government could receive easy credit from the central bank without establishing other institutional measures to govern its fiscal policy. This course of events resulted in an eventual loss of fiscal discipline.

Suggested Citation

  • Masato Shizume, 2009. "The Japanese Economy during the Interwar Period: Instability in the Financial System and the Impact of the World Depression," Bank of Japan Review Series 09-E-2, Bank of Japan.
  • Handle: RePEc:boj:bojrev:09-e-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Masato Shizume, 2017. "A History of the Bank of Japan, 1882-2016," Working Papers 1719, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
    2. Shibamoto, Masahiko & Shizume, Masato, 2014. "Exchange rate adjustment, monetary policy and fiscal stimulus in Japan's escape from the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-18.
    3. William B. English & Christopher J. Erceg & J. David López-Salido, 2017. "Money-Financed Fiscal Programs : A Cautionary Tale," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-060, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Matthew Baron & Emil Verner & Wei Xiong, 2020. "Banking Crises without Panics," NBER Working Papers 26908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Masato Shizume, 2016. "Financial Crises and the Central Bank: Lessons from Japan during the 1920s," Working Papers 1611, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boj:bojrev:09-e-2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bank of Japan). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.