By G. C. Allen
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Additional resources for A Short Economic History of Modern Japan
In 1869 the Government founded a Commercial Bureau to supervise and encourage foreign trade, and it provided for the establishment of organizations for developing the exports of artistic products. In 1877 it organized an Industrial Exhibition at Ueno Park, Tokyo. The Government had a particularly keen interest in foreign trade at this time. Large payments had to be made in foreign currencies in return for imports of equipment, such as merchant vessels, warships, munitions and machinery, needed to carry out its programme of Westernization.
European and American merchants and bankers can, therefore, be regarded as one of the chief instruments of econornic change during these early years. 10 Under the stimulus of Governmental example and of the new opportunities caused by the freeing of trade and the opening of the country, industry and commerce began to advance. The railway mileage, including State lines, increased to 122 by 1881. The tonnage of the mercantile marine grew from so me 26,000 in 1873 to about 50,000 in the early eighties.
Long before this, moreover, Western intellectual influences had been gradually permeating the country. In the eighteenth century the Japanese intellectual classes began to acquire what was known as the 'Dutch learning' (Rangaku), that is to say, a knowledge of THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE OLD REGIME 25 Western sciences (particularly astronomy, anatomy, medicine and military science) through the medium of the Dutch language. In the early part of the nineteenth century this tendency grew in strength and some three thousand students are said to have passed through the Dutch School at Osaka during the twenty-four years after its establishment in 1838.
A Short Economic History of Modern Japan by G. C. Allen