Reuters blog archive

from Global Investing:

When Japan was an emerging country

Recent wild swings in Japan's financial markets -- stocks, bonds and the yen -- make Japan look almost like an emerging country.

Back in the 19th century, Japan was an emerging country, with its feudal society based largely on farming.

According to a paper by U.S. based researchers Chiaki Moriguchi and Emmanuel Saez, Japan's GDP per capita in 1890 was at the level of U.S. GDP per capita in 1790, or about $1,200 in 2004 dollars. According to them, this is roughly comparable to the GDP per capita of the less developed countries today.

John Dower,  author of Pulitzer-prize winning "Embracing Defeat" which covered the occupation of Japan by the American forces, describes the late 19th century Japan as "a small country with few obvious resources".