Issues in Modern Japanese Economic Development: Late Industrialisation, Imperialism and High Speed Growth

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Janet Hunter SAR 5.17


This course is available on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The course combines an examination of selected major themes and historiographical issues in modern Japanese development  with a focus on particular empirical aspects of Japanese economic history since the mid-19th century.  Topics will include pre-industrial growth and its legacy; economic growth before the Second World War; formal and informal empire; the Pacific War and the Occupation of Japan; trade and interaction with the international economy; consumption and living standards; gender in the modern Japanese economy; institutions and organisations.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

20 weekly two-hour seminars in MT and LT. One 2-hour seminar in ST.

(There will be a Reading Week in the 6th week of MT and LT.)

Students are expected to do prior reading and preparation, to participate in group discussion and to make presentations.

Formative coursework

students will be expected to write two essays of no more than 2,500 words. 

Indicative reading

A detailed reading/seminar list is handed out at the beginning of the course, but the texts listed below provide a background: A Gordon, A Modern History of Japan (2003); P Francks, Japanese Economic Development (3rd edn, 2015); P Francks, Rural Economic Development in Japan (2006);  J E Hunter, 'The Japanese Experience of Economic Development' in P O'Brien (Ed, Industrialisation: Critical Perspectives on the World Economy (1998);  M Tanimoto (eds), The Role of Tradition in Japan's Industrialisation (2006), Part 1.


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (30%, 3500 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2015/16: 12

Average class size 2015/16: 12

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills