NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1024304
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Tokugawa Japan and Industrial Revolution Britain: Two Misunderstood Societies
Ellington, Lucien
Social Education, v77 n2 p74-77 Mar-Apr 2013
In this article, the author presents a truer picture than economic historians have previously had of the economies of Tokugawa Japan, and Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Though substantially different, both societies were prosperous compared to most of the rest of the world. Japan's economic success began in the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), an era marked by rising affluence, flourishing commerce, and peace. Tokugawa prosperity rested upon a productive agricultural sector. Domestic trade also occurred through the shipments of large bulk commodities such as rice on both western and eastern routes off the coasts of the Sea of Japan and the Pacific. Commercial establishments were not heavily taxed, and gave merchants productivity incentives. Large financial houses had branches throughout Japan and small and large retail concerns proliferated. Private urban firms owned gigantic warehouses for storage of consumer goods. Japan's Tokugawa period helped build the foundation for that nation's current economic prosperity. Great Britain's Industrial Revolution (1780-1860), included a productive agricultural sector where better crop yields were created with less labor (freeing workers for other occupations), ready access to coal supplies that fueled factories, access to plentiful international supplies of cotton--the vital raw material for a fast growing textile industry, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Government also played an important role in the Industrial Revolution through guaranteeing private property rights, institutionalizing a non-arbitrary or confiscatory tax system, and moving toward free trade. Increases in international trade brought food imports and also provided factory workers disposable income that was not previously available to farm laborers. The British Industrial Revolution significantly reduced poverty. The author concludes that, while the study of history has a civic function, it is imperative that future citizens in a republic understand economics, especially the reasons why some nations became rich and others remained poor.
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A