Abstract: Japanese Imperialism in Manchuria: An Approach to the Role of Japanese Currencies in Soybean Marketing during the 1920s

Miriam Kaminishi


This essay aims to broaden discussion on the role of Japanese currencies in Manchuria during the 1920s, by describing its function in the process of soybeans marketing. Manchuria adopted a multiple monetary system considered "confusing" and often "chaotic" by foreigners. This monetary system was composed of a variety of currencies, including foreign, national, regional, and local levels, based on gold, silver, and copper, issued by public and private institutions, as well as by individuals. The Japanese currencies were issued by two banks: the Yokohama Specie Bank (YSB), which issued banknotes based on silver, and the Bank of Chosen with banknotes backed by gold. At first, it seems that the currencies of the monetary system of Manchuria were in conflict with the Japanese currencies issued by the YSB and the Bank of Chosen. However, by analyzing primary statistical data on the exchange rate and the issuance of major currencies published by the South Manchuria Railway Company, one can see that Japanese currencies played a major role in negotiating soybeans between Chinese grain dealers and international traders.