Professor Tetsuji Okazaki will present his research which examines the difference between the regime transition phase and consolidation phase, dividing government elites into the pre-Meiji-Restoration-born group and the post-Meiji-Restoration-born group. Using the newly constructed government elites’ data after the Meiji Restoration in Japan, his research shows that reformers’ strategies to recruit government elites and establish a new intra-elite hierarchy changed from the regime transition phase to its consolidation phase. Initially, in order to contend against the incumbent elites, reformers recruited talented activists from the non-elite strata and assigned them to higher-level positions based on their abilities. On achieving a transfer of power, however, reformers’ primary concern shifted to alleviating the dissatisfaction of the masses and the former elites. Therefore, while the barrier preventing access to the elite group keep lowering, which opened the way for non-elites to gain elite status, former elites are reintegrated into the elite group and the intra-elite hierarchy again comes to reflect the social stratum of the former regime.
Tetsuji Okazaki is Professor of Economics at the University of Tokyo. He has been the President of International Economic History Association (IEHA) since 2015. His recent publications include “The expanding empire and spatial distribution of economic activities: The case of Japan’s colonization of Korea during the pre-war period” (with Kentaro Nakajima) forthcoming in Economic History Review, 2017, “Measuring the extent and implications of corporate political connections in prewar Japan” (with Michiru Sawada) forthcoming in Explorations in Economic History, 2017, and “Acquisitions, productivity, and profitability: Evidence from the Japanese cotton spinning industry” (with Serguey, Braguinsky, Atsushi Ohyama,and Chad Syverson) American Economic Review, 105(7): 2086-2119, 2015