Michael Schiltz is Associate Professor for the Modern Japanese Studies Program at the University of Hokkaido. In his 2012 monograph “The Money Doctors from Japan”, Michael explores how money and finance have been among the most potent tools of colonial power. His study investigates the Japanese experiment with financial imperialism—or “yen diplomacy”—at several key moments between the acquisition of Taiwan in 1895 and the outbreak of the Sino–Japanese War in 1937. Through authoritarian monetary reforms and lending schemes, government officials and financial middlemen served as “money doctors” who steered capital and expertise to Japanese official and semi-official colonies in Taiwan, Korea, China, and Manchuria.
From the opening up of Japan after two and a half centuries of self-imposed isolation, and the implications for the monetary system (hint: domestically, silver was overvalued, and hence the arbitrage through foreign traders drained Japan of its gold), through wrestling back control of its currency, and aiming to expand the sphere of influence alongside territorial conquest, our conversation is firmly anchored at the intersection of Japanese and financial history.
This - Michael's first - book is available from Harvard University Press: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674062498
Michael's second, forthcoming book (available already internationally, and in Japan before Christimas), "Accounting for the Fall of Silver" explains that the 1870s and 1880s witnessed furious experiments with new financial products and, equally important, strategies for hedging exchange rate risk. Drawing on archives that have never been used before, the book throws new light on an important episode of nineteenth century world history. At the same time, it illuminates lesser known aspects of the first gold standard period. It draws attention to the existence of ‘carry trades’ between European money markets and the lesser liquid Asian periphery; and describes the creation of financial contracts with the sole aim of enabling commodity finance among Asian mercantile centers.
Our podcast listeners receive a 30% discount when ordering with the code ASFLYQ6 at Oxford University Press: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/accounting-for-the-fall-of-silver-9780198865025?cc=jp&lang=en&
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