|タイトル||Thinking about the Economic Impact of the Great Kantō Earthquake: Historiography, Economic Theory and Contemporary Analyses|
|報告者||Janet Hunter（London School of Economics and Political Science）|
The decade following the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 witnessed a proliferation of writings on the economic consequences of the disaster. This outpouring of writings declined rapidly from the early 1930s as memories of the disaster retreated and the Japanese economy faced new and arguably greater challenges in the form of the Great Depression and the Second Sino-Japanese and Pacific Wars. Over subsequent decades little scholarly research was undertaken on most economic aspects of the 1923 disaster; only since the start of the 21st century has there been renewed interest in analysing some of these economic dimensions, in particular making use of quantitative techniques and advances in economic thinking, for example the application of ideas from economic geography and market integration. My presentation considers firstly some possible reasons for this lacuna in the historiography, suggesting that it is in part a reflection of trends in economic thinking and economic history scholarship that have led us to downplay the importance of one-off disasters of this kind in longer-term economic trajectories. I then discuss some of the analytical approaches that characterised the contemporary literature, making reference to a range of published historical sources, both official and non-official. These publications not only show how contemporaries sought to make sense of what had happened but were also integral to the overall recovery process. Understanding the mechanisms whereby the physical disaster impacted on the country’s economy was regarded as one of the keys to achieving rapid rebuilding. This belief infused not only official reports, but the writings of academics, businessmen and journalists. Finally, I discuss some of more recent advances in the economics of disasters which have helped to provide us with more coherent frameworks for analysing the impact of a major natural disaster in a market economy, arguing that much of their content would have come as little surprise to commentators in 1920s Japan.