Tokugawa coinage

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Tokugawa coinage was a unitary and independent metallic monetary system established by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1601 in Japan, and which lasted throughout the Tokugawa period until its end in 1867.

Devaluations and re-evaluations

Initially, the coinage was used essentially for export procedure or export purposes in order to pay for Import guide of imports of luxury goods from China, such as silk. As gold and silver were in short supply, and also because the government was running a deficit, the content of gold in coins was decreased on two occasions, in 1695 and 1706-1711, in order to generate more revenues from seigneurage, but with the effect of generating inflation.

With the beginning of the 18th century, Japan started to restrict the export of bullion currency, which came to be seen as a loss for the country. An export ban on monetary specie was imposed by Arai Hakuseki in 1715. Trade substitution was encouraged, but remained limited anyway due to the policy of closure, or Sakoku. Upon Arai Hakuseki's suggestion the government increased again the gold and silver content of coinage in 1714-1715, but this led to crippling deflation this time. In 1736, Japan abandoned this policy and again increased the money supply, with a resulting price stability for the next 80 years.

In the early 19th century, budgetary problems resulting from natural disasters and large Tokugawa governmental expenditures led the government to increase the money supply and the seigneurage associated to it. From 1818 to 1829 the money supply increased by 60%, and from 1832 to 1837 by 20%. Severe inflation again followed as prices nearly doubled.



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