Japanese was not always a super power. Before the late 19th, early 20th century Japan was a relatively weak country. like China, its traditions and history was very important to them. So much so that they refused to industrialize, let in foreigners and had an isolationist policy throughout these times. This all changed in the 19th century. Western nations were quickly industrializing, and the resources needed to sustain this were too much for the mother country to handle. these countries then chose imperialism as an easy way to to get these resources. With Japan's isolationist policy, Western nations began pressuring them to open up ports and trade. Fearful of being colonized by one of these Western nations, Japan very quickly industrialized and changed its country to become more modern and Western. Europeans and the United States backed off, and Japan started to take control of colonies. In 1871, Imperial Japan issued the first currency of this new revitalized state, using the Japanese Yen as its basis. It was tied to European currency to make it easier with trade. Although the new Japanese Yen were created, all of the country's previous issues of currency was still circulating in the market, which led to many people becoming confused about the new economy. The Japanese government allowed banks to issue their own currency, and they created notes that were able to be exchanged with gold. just like the gold certificates of the US. In 1871, the New Currency Act of 1871 was emplaced, which switched the currency into the Gold-standard. the original conversion was 1.5 grams of gold for every 1 Yen. ironically, Japan issued German printed notes to be used in commerce. Most of the surrounding Asian countries preferred Silver to Gold as currency. Japan began trading with them for gold and Silver, and this led to the establishment of a Gold-Silver ratio for trading. national banks began to print more and more of their own convertible currency, and despite the government's best efforts to stop this, a high inflationary period was starting to arise. A civil war broke out in the nation causing new notes to be printed to fund war efforts, making the inflation even worse. In 1899, Japan ceased to honor any National bank notes as legal tender. this stabilized the economy, until the first World War.
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