For the most part Angus Maddison's successors at Groningen seem to have done best with providing consistent data from before 1970, albeit with some anomalies and with fixed boundaries. For data with changing boundaries I would suggest looking at
Broadberry, Stephen, and Alexander Klein. "Aggregate and Per Capita GDP in Europe, 1870–2000: Continental, Regional and National Data with Changing Boundaries." Scandinavian Economic History Review 60, no. 1 (2012): 79-107.
PPP has its problems too; it depends on the purpose of the comparison.

William D. O'Neil

On 7/5/2018 12:23 PM, Todd Kreider wrote:
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Peter Duus wrote:

  Indeed I also wonder whether anyone remembers that 1968 was the year the Japanese GNP finally exceeded West Germany’s and became the world’s second largest – an event that must have seemed more important  at the time than the Meiji Restoration.


I wonder how this was reported then since according to the OECD, Japan's GDP was 35% larger than Germany's in 1970 (PPP, 2010 dollars). The OECD data only goes back to 1970 but close enough to 1968. Germany had a GDP per capita of $18, 500 in 1970 whereas Japan's GDP per capita was $14,700 in 2010 dollars. 


Japan: $1.5 trillion

West Germany: $1.1 trillion

I wonder if West Germany ever had a larger economy than Japan after 1950 given Japan's much larger population.

Japan and  Germany had the same GDP per capita in 1991 but ten years later in 2001, Japan's GDP per capita was 92% that of Germany's and today is at 85%.  Germany's GDP per hour is 30% higher than Japan's. 

 The World Bank's data also only goes back to 1970 for "Germany" not West Germany but doesn't use the necessary PPP measurement, so I probably shouldn't be  considering this data. (The World Bank GDP per capita PPP data only goes back to 1990.) The non-PPP adjusted graph shows Japan's GDP per capita at $18,500 and Germany's at $19,600 in 1970 so in terms of GDP,  Germany's economy  was only 63% as large as Japan's.  As with the OECD, the World Bank is probably using West Germany data from 1970 to 1990. At any rate, the OECD uses the correct GDP measurements using PPP.


Todd Kreider


Well, since everyone else is reminiscing about Japan in 68-69, I must confess that I was there too, living in a visiting foreigner residence on Waseda University campus, where radical students were occupying the newly built student activity center in a dispute over who should control access to the space – and trying to break into  into the university auditorium.  The street beyond  the neighboring tennis courts – now the site of the Riga Royal Hotel--was lined with riot police vans filled vastly bored-looking officers.


The only attention I remember being paid to the Meiji Restoration was  the Sunday evening NHK  TV drama about Sakamoto Ryoma, which, I should add, really established him as a central figure in the Restoration.  Before World War 2, he rarely appeared  in textbooks among the list of principals along with Okubo, Saigo,  Ito and all the usual suspects.


I did, however, attend one memorial event – the semi centennial anniversary of the founding of the Shinjinkai – the first radical student organization at Todai.  Ironically, it was held on the day that the riot police brought an end to the student radical occupation of  Yasuda Tower.  As the former student radicals, now in their seventies. many of them  union officials or Socialist politicians, reminisced about their times, the dull  thud of tear gas bombs murmured in the background. When the event ended, a couple of them said “Let’s see what’s  going on.”  We made our way behind riot police lines that were keeping everyone else away but as we neared the pond in front of the now emptied tower the piercing miasma of  slowly disappearing made it difficult to go any further. Disappointed, the old radicals decided to go home.


The fall of Yasuda Tower, I think, signaled an important moment of political change – the beginning of the collapse of the postwar left.   Of course, the cause was more complicated than that but I doubt that former Zengakuren leaders, nostalgic or not, are having reunions this year.  Indeed I also wonder whether anyone remembers that 1968 was the year the Japanese GNP finally exceeded West Germany’s and became the world’s second largest – an event that must have seemed more important  at the time than the Meiji Restoration.


Happy July 4th, Peter Duus


From: gregory clark <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2018 4:08 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NBR's_Japan_Forum] Why no celebration of Meiji Restoration 150th anniversary?


I too was around 68-69 and witness to the Kamata Senso, the very violent student attempt to block the Sato Eisaku flight to the US where he would do the deal allowing the US to continue to use Okinawa as a base for continued bombing of Vietnam.


MY memory is similar to that of Rick Dyck: There was so much turmoil going on that few had the time to remember Meiji. If any thing Meiji was seen on balance as the originator of the conservatism that had led Japan to its seeming impasse.


Gregory Clark

On Jul 3, 2018, at 14:54, Rick Dyck <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Dear Colleagues,


I was in Japan in 1968, which was the year of the centennial of the Meiji Restoration.  I was studying at Kyushu University.  


Beginning with a group at Kyoto University, students organized protests of the centennial which spread throughout Japan. 


It did not take much in 1968 to get a demonstration going. The worldwide noise level was high. That was the year of the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the Chicago Democratic convention.  Japan had its own set of issues, mostly related to complicity in the US Vietnam policy. 


For example, in June, 1968, a US phantom Jet on its way from a bombing mission in Vietnam crashed into the campus at Kyushu University, and for a full year the students would not allow officials from the nearby US air force base on campus to remove the wreckage.  Also in 1968, the US nuclear aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, docked at the US naval base in Sasebo on its way to Vietnam.  A huge group of students, including yours truly, traveled from Fukuoka to Sasebo for demonstrations, with the President of Kyushu University, Inoue Masaharu, in the lead.  Inoue was later forced to resign by the Minister of Education, partly for his role in the demonstrations, but also for proclaiming  “police are the enemy (警察は敵だ!).”  


The climax to all of this came in January, 1969 with the march on Yasuda Kodo at Todai.


There was so much in Japan to protest in 1968 that the Meiji Centennial was simply rolled into the mix.  


Ishibashi Tanzan was still alive in 1968.  As a lifelong anti-imperialist, he made the case that the demonstrations of 1968 were a fitting way to celebrate the Meiji Centennial.  In 1912,  Ishibashi was beginning his career as a cub reporter when Emperor Meiji died.  At the time he wrote that the real legacy of Meiji was not Japan’s colonies, but the Charter Oath and the value of democracy.  In 1968, Ishibashi felt that Japanese students protesting the complicity of Japan in the bombing of Hanoi was worthy of the legacy of Meiji.  


Rick Dyck



From: Edith [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 10:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Re: [NBR's_Japan_Forum] Why no celebration of Meiji Restoration 150th anniversary?


Let me just add to Roberts note that the impact of the Meiji Restoration on the rest of Asia was immense, through its demonstration effect that an Asian country could defeat China and Russia and create a modern industrial state. Anti-colonial rebels from across Asia spent time in Japan as part of their revolutionary educational enterprise, and were given love and support under the banner of co-prosperity. The experience of actual Japanese occupation shattered the illusion but not the underlying lessons of Japans rise, which we are seeing playing out today again with China. The lessons? A non-western state can beat the West but not without facing the fury of the West and possible defeat. Japans post-war hedging strategies have served as another kind of model for its Asian counterparts, including China.




Edith Terry
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On Jul 3, 2018, at 7:04 AM, Richard Katz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


OK. Time to tell why I’m so interested in the Meiji Restoration and, in the course of this, also answer Ehud Harari’s question about how people got interested in Japan.


I arrived at Columbia University in the fall of 1969, during the Vietnam war. Since they offered no course on Vietnamese history, I took a two-semester seminar on China and then Japan. At the time, all I knew about Japan was that, when my parents bought me a toy and it broke three days later, it was made in Japan. I was stunned when, at the very first session of the Japan semester, one of the several Chinese students said, in the presence of one Japanese girl, “I hate Japanese.” The class was explosive for me in so many ways. Firstly, Japanese history is like a soap opera. It’s up; it’s down; it’s up again, down again. Secondly, Japan was at once similar enough to Europe, and different enough, to make it a fascinating comparison. And thirdly, Japan was the only Asian country, aside from Thailand, to escape Western imperialism, something very important to someone involved in antiwar activity. And that escape was due to the Meiji Restoration. Beyond that, the Meiji Era created rapid, state-led modernization in a wide variety of life’s facets, economic and political and military and cultural and interpersonal relations. People like Okubo, Fukuzawa and Okuma fascinated me.


Recall that this was also the time of emerging US-Japan trade frictions and the US policy debate over Japan’s industrial policy. So, the Meiji Era experience was integral to any look at these issues.


So, perhaps my view of Meiji is seen through a romantic prism, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it.


There was a debate among Western scholars—and perhaps those in Japan as well—as to whether the 1930-40s militarism was a logical outgrowth of Meiji oligarchical rule or an interruption in the progress seen from Meiji through Taisho. The latter view has always made more sense to me. 40 years ago, I tended to see the secret societies on the 1930s as the descendants of those assassins of Okubo and the Black Dragon Society, i.e. those who resisted Meiji Era modernization. I have no idea what current views about all of this now prevail among mainstream historians in Japan and the West.


In any case, to me, the event seems a lot more than just a rivalry among different Han. Is that how it’s taught in Japan? It also seems to me that, no matter what flaws may have existed—and what human institution is not flawed, cf. Robespierre—the Meiji Era is the foundation stone of modern Japan.


I’d love to know how school children have been taught, and how that teaching has changed over the decades. I don’t know how the Communists and JSP viewed Meiji, but I can well imagine that they may have seen it as a precursor to 1930s militarism and downplayed it when they were so prominent among teachers.


Richard Katz






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