Yokohama Shokin Ginko
Yokohama specie bank
Original: Possessed by the University of Tokyo Faculty of Economics
Publication year: 2003～
Editor: Haruhito Takeda (University of Tokyo professor emeritus)
Index: Commentary by Haruhito Takeda
This is a microfilm version of classified internal bank documents that tell the story of the Yokohama Specie Bank, which began life in 1880 specializing in foreign exchange and finance and over the following 67 years continued to make its mark through chaotic and turbulent times. This reproduction of an historical resource of monumental significance describes in minute detail the journey of the Yokohama Specie Bank.
A fundamental primary source in the form of a full history of the Yokohama Specie Bank (six volumes seven books) published in the 1980s by the Bank of Tokyo―for all practical purposes the successor to the Yokohama Specie Bank―and released in its entirety for the first time here. As well illuminating myriad aspects of foreign exchange and finance, it sheds light on the bank's organizational structure, staffing, office regulations and legal issues with the operation of the bank as a whole, commercial practices in Japan and elsewhere, office procedures, precautionary measures, status of the bank's major clients, and overall business performance.
◆1st release Supplement: Total 49 reels, JPY980,000
◆2nd release: Total 156 reels, JPY3,120,000
This release consists mainly of material from branches of the Yokohama Specie Bank in various overseas locations, mainly reports, head office correspondence, and financial statements from the bank's London and New York branches, providing an insight into the activities of the Yokohama Specie Bank in these two pivotal international financial centers. Both branches provided services on behalf of the Bank of Japan, meaning the documents here give a clear and detailed picture of investments, with an emphasis on specie holdings abroad.
◆3rd release: Total 163 reels, JPY3,260,000
These reels contain material related to the bank's activities in China, principally those of its Shanghai and Dalian branches, and a portion of the documentation concerning loans to China. Together they form a record closely connected to the branch material in the second release. As well as painting a detailed picture of the activities of each branch, they include numerous reports on the economic situation where the branches were located, making them a useful resource for those studying the history of the relevant regions.
◆4th release: Total 151 reels, JPY3,020,000
In a continuation of the third release, these reels contain information on Yokohama Specie Bank involvement in loans to China from the latter half of the Meiji period, to the interwar years. They also contain material on overseas investment, and documents related to overseas agreements, chiefly involving the US and European branches up to the war.
The material on Chinese loans includes documents substantiating the bank's involvement in a wide range of investment in China, from the development of steel resources, to various companies, and railways. In overseas investment, the material includes records of French treasury bills launched during World War I, the issue of municipal bonds by cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, corporate bond issues by businesses such as the South Manchurian Railway Company, plus foreign currency bonds held by the Yokohama Specie Bank. In overseas agreements, the reels contain information on international finance agreements that became necessary under the strict foreign exchange controls put in place as the country moved from a semi-war footing to a wartime economy.
◆5th release: Total 121 reels, JPY2,420,000
Continuing on from the fourth release, contains mainly material on overseas agreements involving the bank's branches in the West. These were international finance agreements that became necessary with the tightening of exchange controls as Japan moved from a semi-war footing to a war economy. As well as transfer documents, the end-of-year accounts include some from domestic branches after the war, the inclusion of material from the chaotic postwar era setting this set of reels apart.
◆6th release: Total 170 reels, JPY3,400,000
Contains additions to the Kishi material in the 2nd release, records dealing with specific topics, such as commercial registration documents, and documents dealing with the question of compensation for raw silk exports, plus correspondence from branches.
◆7th release: Total 68 reels, JPY1,360,000
Material from the bank's Chinese branches, divided into three in original series order. China 1 documents vividly the process of adjustment leading up to smooth foreign exchange settlements in northern China as Japanese economic influence there grew with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. China 2 covers maritime customs duties in places like Guangdong and Shanghai, and material dealing with the system of compensation for legal tender exchange, invaluable for understanding more about Japan's tight foreign payments position on the eve of war in the Pacific, and moves to find ways of overcoming it. China 3 contains related resources such as research reports.
◆8th release: Total 80 reels, JPY1,600,000
These reels trace the activities of the bank in the Philippines, French Indochina, Thailand, the Dutch East Indies and other parts of Southeast Asia, from the start to the end of the war in the Pacific. As well as surveys of funds at branches such as those in Bangkok, Saigon, Hanoi, Manila and Rangoon, the material covers figures for each location including the financial situation, politics and public finances, and is a veritable treasure trove of empirical proof of trends in the international economy, and of research sources.
◆9th release: Total 91 reels, JPY1,820,000
Made up of several different types of material, all from the prewar years, particularly the period when the Japanese economy was moving increasingly onto a war footing.
◆10th release(Serves as a supplement to 1st release): Total 99 reels, JPY1,980,000
◆11th release: Total 59 reels, JPY1,180,000
A collection of just under 900 items Shinji Arai kept close at hand during compilation of the highly-regarded Yokohama Shokin Ginko Zenshi ("A complete history of the Yokohama Specie Bank") (in six volumes, seven books). As well as the original material, includes resources put together by the Zenshi editors themselves, plus material generated in the process of assembling other bank histories ahead of the Zenshi.
◆12th release: Total 55 reels, JPY1,100,000