November 14 2014: Japan and International Debates on Commercial Morality

On November 14, Janet Hunter will give a lecture entitled ''Bad Practices' and 'Fraudulent Means': Japan and International Debates on Commercial Morality in the Late 19th - Early 20th Centuries'. Time: 15.10-17.00 hrs, Lipsius 0.28.

Evolution of Transnational Discourse

Discussions on the morality of business conduct have a long tradition in Western Europe, and the rapid growth of the British economy in the 19th century generated growing debates on what was referred to as ‘commercial morality’. Though starting mainly in England, consideration of these issues developed into a global discourse on commercial morality in the late-19th – early 20th centuries, a period during which Japan became increasingly integrated into international commercial transactions. This discourse included a perceived global hierarchy of standards of business morality, a hierarchy in which Japan was regarded as being situated right at the bottom. This lecture will explore the evolution of this transnational discourse, Japan’s part in it, and the response of Japan’s business and political leaders to the criticisms levied at their country.

Janet Hunter, Saji Professor of Economic History, London School of Economics
She has written widely on the economics and social development of modern Japan, focussing in particular on the development of the female labour market, the textile industry, and the development of communications. Her current research is focussed on two projects: the economic effects of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and on the international discourse on commercial morality (in conjunction with the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation), the subject of this lecture. Recent publications include The Historical Consumer: Consumption and Everyday Life in Japan, 1850-2000 (edited, with P.Francks, 2012); ‘Reviving the Kansai Cotton Industry: Engineering Expertise and Knowledge Sharing in the Early Meiji Period’ (Japan Forum Spring 2014).

Last Modified: 10-06-2015