The Monetary System of Japan in the Tokugawa Period
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This chapter describes the monetary system in the Tokugawa period – from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries – with an observation of its relationship with the periods before and after.
The monetary system in the Tokugawa period is known as the “triple standard system,” or the co-distribution of gold, silver, and zeni, a perforated coin made of bronze, iron, or brass. Published research has described this development process separately from the experiences in the preceding century, but this chapter emphasizes the fact that the triple standard system inherited a monetary system in the sixteenth century that was autonomously developed in this society.
Regarding the Tokugawa period, this chapter focuses on the currency policies of the Tokugawa shogunate, especially its frequent currency standard revisions.
Additionally, it highlights the continuity of the monetary system between the Tokugawa period and the subsequent Meiji Restoration, or modern Japan. This chapter specifically focuses on the distribution of various nominal metal and paper currencies and the de facto approach to the modern gold standard system in the Tokugawa period. These facts have facilitated a transition to the modern monetary system after the restoration.
KeywordsTriple standard system Gold currency Silver currency Zeni Paper currency
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17K03118, JP16H03650, JP17H02389 and JP18H00880.
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