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Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan (Twentieth-century Japan: The Emergence of a World Power) [Hardcover]

Mark Metzler

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Book Description

10 Mar 2006 Twentieth-century Japan: The Emergence of a World Power (Book 17)
This book, the first full account of Japan's financial history and the Japanese gold standard in the pivotal years before World War II, provides a new perspective on the global political dynamics of the era by placing Japan, rather than Europe, at the center of the story. Focusing on the fall of liberalism in Japan in late 1931 and the global politics of money that were at the center of the crisis, Mark Metzler asks why successive Japanese governments from 1920 to 1931 carried out policies that deliberately induced deflation and depression. His search for answers stretches from Edo to London to the ragged borderlands of the Japanese empire and from the eighteenth century to the 1950s, integrating political and monetary analysis to shed light on the complex dynamics of money, empire, and global hegemony. His detailed and broad ranging account illuminates a range of issues including Japan's involvement in the economic dynamics that shook interwar Europe, the character of U.S. isolationism, and the rise of fascism as an international phenomenon.

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"Lever of Empire is an engrossing page turner - I simply could not put it down until I had finished it. This is an important subject, and one that has not been given adequate attention in Western scholarship on Japan until now. Metzler has done thorough research, and has woven these materials together into an elegantly written whole. The result is an outstanding book." - Richard J. Smethurst, author of A Social Basis for Prewar Japanese Militarism: The Army and the Rural Community"

About the Author

Mark Metzler is Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

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The road that led to the crisis of 1931 began in the late 1890s, when Japan's Asian empire, gold standard, and foreign borrowing got underway simultaneously. Read the first page
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