On Macro-economic Statistics for "Manchukuo"

Yuzo Yamamoto


The purpose of this paper is not to make a general appraisal of the economic statistics related to Manchuria. I will briefly discuss what we know about two existing sets of statistics -- national income statistics and international balance of payments -- which are essential to understanding macroeconomic performance in the so-called "Manchukuo [Menzhouquo] era" (1932-1945). I have previously written on national income statistics (1993a and 1996) and on statistics for international balance of payments (1980 and 1993b). For more detailed information, please refer to these earlier works.

1. National income statistics

At present, the statistics known to exist for Manchukuo are categorized by their compilers into three time series.

1.Mantetsu Keizai Chosakai series (South Manchuria Railway Co., Economic Research Association series):
----Mantetsu Keizai Chosakai (1933)
----Mantetsu Keizai Chosakai (1934)

2.Manshukoku Keizaibu series (Manchukuo Economic Bureau series):
----Manshukoku Keizaibu (1938b)
----Manshukoku Keizaibu (1940)
----Manshukoku Keizaibu (1941)
----Manshukoku Keizaibu (undated a)

3.Manshu Chosa Kikan Rengokai series (Manchuria Survey Agency Association series):
----Manshu Chosa Kikan Rengokai (1944a)
----Manshu Chosa Kikan Rengokai (1944b)

South Manchuria Railway Co., Economic Research Association series

The South Manchuria Railway Co., Economic Research Association conducted a survey in 1933 covering national income and national wealth for fiscal 1930. The purpose was described as follows: "The task of Section 5, Group 1 of the Economic Research Association was to devise a tax structure in a single written document...[It] attempted to calculate approximate figures for Manchuria's national income as well as its national wealth" (Mantetsu Keizai Chosakai 1933, Introduction). The survey was devised as one link among the surveys proposed for the early period of state-building in Manchukuo. Therefore, the survey put its strongest effort into producing materials which evaluated tax-bearing capabilities. National income was defined as "statistics on profits of enterprises, both public [i.e., government-operated] and private, business profits, interest rates, land rent, real wages, and labor compensation" (ibid., explanatory notes).

However, "at the time of the survey, security was not yet assured, so the area of the survey was limited to China's three northeastern provinces [i.e., Manchuria], in addition to which fluctuations in the value of the currency, differences in units of weights and measures, and other factors meant that the survey was conducted under exceedingly poor conditions" (Toshikawa 1941, p. 129). These factors meant that the survey results had a rather peculiar character.

(1) It was intended that the survey be a so-called "personal-subjective" national income statistics survey of the sum total of personal incomes, but at the same time the project was also a "one hundred percent theoretically impractical survey" conceived from "objective" methods accumulated during the compilation of statistics on industry and earnings sources. (On personal-subjective methods and material-objective methods, see Yamamoto 1993a.)

(2) The geographic scope of the survey was limited to Manchuria, so that Rehe province and areas attached to the South Manchuria Railway were not included. (However, simple estimates were compiled for areas attached to the South Manchuria Railway, and the results are listed in the appendix.)

(3) All monetary amounts shown are converted to Chinese yuan. (In 1930, the average conversion rate was 100 Japanese yen = 166.35 Chinese yuan.)

These kinds of peculiar characteristics mean that the statistics cannot be directly used together with statistics from later years. While the materials on Manchuria immediately prior to the state-building period are valuable, their utility is limited to serving as references only.

Manchukuo Economic Bureau series

This was the official survey conducted by the Manchukuo Economic Bureau. The first survey was conducted in 1938 to cover fiscal 1937, and later surveys were conducted every other year thereafter.

According to the survey manual Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosa yoko [Manchukuo national income survey outline] (Manshukoku Keizaibu 1938, 1940), the purpose of the survey was, in accordance with the beginning of the five-year Industrial Development Plan for Manchuria, to "survey the rapid development process of this country's national economy and the distributional conditions of economic strength which now appear in the economy and its components; and to contribute to the autonomy of future economic and financial policies." Furthermore, it was decided to integrate data from field work, questionnaire surveys, and existing materials, and to handle "gross material product related to national income" through the use of "material-objective methods." Therefore, the survey was conducted for seven separate industries: 1) agriculture, 2) fisheries, 3) mining, 4) manufacturing, 5) commerce, 6) transportation, and 7) public and independent businesses. An eighth item was international investment and business profit differentials.

Among the estimates of national income compiled by the Manchukuo Economic Bureau, the figures for three years, 1937, 1939, and 1941, are known, and there are notes which are believed to be rough estimates for 1943.

Manchuria Survey Agency Association series

The opening sections of the First Survey Report for fiscal 1941 by the Manchuria Survey Agency Association include a detailed explanation for this series (Manshu Chosa Kikan Rengokai 1944a, preface, survey outline, etc.). They explain that the objective and methodology of these surveys were "with subjective methods (human methods) to calculate national income, to grasp the composition of that income, to contribute to planning on capital distribution, and to contribute to evaluating the total combined national strength."

The meaning here of "planning on capital distribution" refers to what was called the "state capital plan," a national plan established in all seriousness by Manchukuo, following the lead of Japan, in fiscal 1944. The objective was to survey the distribution of national consumption capital and savings capital and, in the process of preparation, the national income survey came to be conducted through "subjective-human methods." Concretely, the methodology used by the Manchuria Survey Agency Association was "for convenience sake, to divide the ten items of estimates on the right into, for each item, enterprise income amounts (profits), property owners' income amounts (land rents, interest), employees' income amounts (salary, wages), along with taxes, and calculate total amount of income." The ten categories were: 1) agriculture, 2) fisheries, 3) mining, 4) industry, 5) commerce, 6) transportation, 7) self-employed work and work done at home, 8) government (including regional organizations), 9) public sector earnings, and 10) international investment and business profit differentials. The first eight categories represent sectors through which individuals receive incomes.

The main time series for 1941 was estimated using the human method, and it amended and supplemented the Economic Bureau time series compiled through the material method. Afterwards, estimates of Manchukuo's national income seem to have been compiled integrating the human method, and the 1943 survey was carried out by the Economic Bureau. However, work on the 1945 survey was brought to a halt by the end of the war.

2. Statistics on international balance of payments

Manchukuo's statistics on international balance of payments are divided into two time series: Manchukuo's officially announced statistics and surveys on international balance of payments for 1939 and before, and statistics on foreign exchange balance of payments compiled by the Manchuria Central Bank from 1940. The following sections describe these statistics sets.

Official statistics of Manchukuo

The main points regarding the "Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi chosa" [Survey of international balance of payments for Manchuria (including the Guandong territory)], which was published as the official statistics, can be discerned from the following passage (Manshu Chuo Ginko 1942, explanatory notes).

The Manchukuo international balance of payments survey has the purpose of gathering basic materials on the fiscal economic policy of our country [i.e., Manchukuo]; through the cooperation of the Finance Bureau and the South Manchuria Railway, the first survey began in 1935 (for fiscal years 1933 and 1934) after which the Finance Bureau (then named the Economic Bureau) took responsibility and thereafter continued the survey every year, but owing to conditions it ceased operations in 1939, which is the situation at present.

The phrase "it ceased operations in 1939" is in fact none too clear. We can infer from existing materials that the survey was conducted until 1939, but it is certain that the survey materials ceased to be made public starting with the materials for fiscal 1937. The survey reports themselves are scarce today, so a reference list is presented here.

1. Mantetsu Keizai Chosakai [South Manchuria Railway Co., Economic Research Association] (1935)

----contents: 1933 through 1934

2. Manshukoku Zaiseibu [Manchukuo Finance Bureau] (1936)

----contents: 1935

3. Manshukoku Keizaibu [Manchukuo Economic Bureau] (1937)

----contents: 1936

4. Manshukoku Keizaibu [Manchukuo Economic Bureau] (1938a)

----contents: 1937

These existing "Surveys of international balance of payments for Manchuria (including the Guangdong territory)" for the years 1933 through 1937 are extremely detailed. It would not be overpraise to say that the survey was a superb accomplishment which surpassed the existing standards of its era.

At present, the survey reports cannot be located in their original forms, but the findings of the 1938-1939 portion remain in a summary chart. Statistics for these and all other years can be found in various scattered sources, but the most complete set is:

5. Manshu Chuo Ginko (1942)

----contents: summary table for 1933 through 1939

Manchuria Central Bank Exchange Statistics

It is already known that, for the period from 1940, after the Manchukuo Economic Bureau had stopped compiling official estimates, a large-classification table for Manchukuo exists in the form of "Tai Nihon shushi" [Balance of payments with respect to Japan] (1940-1944) and "Tai Kahoku shushi" [Balance of payments with respect to North China] (1941-1944). First, let me present the representative statistical materials for the prewar era.

A. Manshukoku Keizaibu [Manchukuo Economic Bureau] (every year)

B. Manshukoku Kokumuin Somucho (tokeisho) [Manchukuo State Affairs Institute Office (statistics management)] (undated)

Entries in Document B on the relevant "Balance of payments with respect to Japan" statistics state: "In accordance with the Exchange Control Law, [we will] calculate estimates of currency revenues and expenditures based on reports issued by all foreign currency banks, not including non-exchange revenues and expenditures" (Table 51, explanatory notes). "Balance and payments with respect to North China" is written in exactly the same way: "In accordance with the Exchange Control Law, [we will] give careful attention to estimates of conversion of the nation's paper currency based on reports issued by all foreign currency banks, not including non-exchange revenues and expenditures" (Table 52, explanatory notes).

After the war,

C. Tohoku Busshi Chosetsu Iinkai [Northeastern Materials Regulating Commission] (1948)

which was related to "Balance of payments with respect to Japan" was compiled and edited, making it convenient to use, but "Balance of payments with respect to North China" had missing and incomplete portions. Recently, three statistical tables written in pencil and located in the Zhang Jia'ao Collection were discovered (they were probably compiled into a major report immediately after the war), and their use allowed the existing figures to be restored to an almost complete state.

D. Editor unknown (undated a)

E. Editor unknown (undated b)

F. Editor unknown (undated c)

Explanatory notes in Document D (annotation 2) confirm that these statistics are the work of the Manchuria Central Bank, which covered overseas capital revenues and expenditures:

From 1940, according to a Manchuria Central Bank survey, trade statistics and the amount of paper currency withdrawals were calculated taking into account the real yen fund balance of payments of the Central Bank.


I am at present conducting research on production indicators essential to compiling macro-economic statistics, and I have presented a portion of the work in an article (Yamamoto 1996). I hope to take the next opportunity to follow up this report with a discussion of production indicators and material production.

Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities


Ajia Keizai Kenkyujo (1986), "Cho Koken Monjo" mokuroku.

Manshu Chuo Ginko (1942), Ji Daido 2-nendo Shi Kotoku 6-nendo Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi ichiran hyo.*

Manshu Chosa Kikan Rengokai (1944a), Kotoku 8-nendo Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosasho.*

---- (1944b), Kotoku 8-nendo Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosa sanko fuhyo.*

Manshukoku Keizaibu (1937), Kotoku 3-nen Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi chosasho.

---- (1938a), Kotoku 4-nen Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi chosasho.

---- (1938b), Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosa yoko (Kotoku 5-nen 2-gatsu).

---- (1940), Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosa yoko (Kotoku 7-nen 7-gatsu).

---- (1941), Kotoku 6-nendo Manshukoku kokumin shotoku sokatsu hyo.*

---- (undated), Kotoku 10-nendo Manshukoku kokumin shotoku chosasho (an).*

---- (every year), Kinyu josei sanko shiryo.

Manshukoku Kokumuin Somucho (undated), Manshu keizai sanko shiryo. (It is believed that this survey was conducted in May 1945.)

Manshukoku Zaiseibu (1936), Kotoku 2-nen Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi chosasho.

Mantetsu (Minami Manshu Tetsudo Kabushiki Kaisha), Keizai Chosakai (1933), Showa 5-nen Manshukoku kokumin shotoku narabi ni kokufu keisansho.

---- (1934), Kokumin shotoku oyobi kokufu chosa ni kansuru kenkyu: toku ni Manshukoku ni okeru baai no kosatsu.

---- (1935), Showa 8-9-nendo Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) kokusai shushi chosasho.

Tohoku Busshi Chosetsu Iinkai (1948), Tohoku keizai shososho, Vol. 19, Kinyu.

Toshikawa Mitsuo (1941), "Wagakuni no kokumin shotoku," Chosa, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Yamamoto Yuzo (1980), "Manshukoku" kokusai shushi ni kansuru kison tokei ni tsuite, Kobe Shoka Daigaku Keizai Kenkyujo kenkyu shiryo No. 27.

---- (1993a), "Manshukoku" kokumin shotoku tokei ni tsuite", in Mizoguchi Toshiyuki, ed., Dai-2-ji taisenka no Nihon keizai no tokeiteki bunseki, Heisei 2-4-nendo Kagaku Kenkyu hojokin kenkyu seika hokokusho.

---- (1993b), ""Manshukoku" o meguru taigai keizai kankei no hatten: kokusai shushi bunseki o chushin ni," in Yamamoto Yuzo, ed., "Manshukoku" no kenkyu, Kyoto Daigaku Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyujo (this work was later republished as Yamamoto Yuzo, ed., Shinpan "Manshukoku" no kenkyu, Rokuin Shobo, 1995).

---- (1996), ""Manshukoku" seisanryoku no makuro-teki kenkyu-josetsu: "Manshukoku sangyo seisan shisu" no kento o chushin ni," Keizai Kenkyu, 47-2.

Editor unknown (undated a), Manshu (Kantoshu o fukumu) tai-Nihon kokusai shushi (Daido 2 ~ Kotoku 11-nen).*

Editor unknown (undated b), Man-Nichi kokusai shushi jisseki ruinen hikaku hyo (Minkoku 22~33-nendo).*

Editor unknown (undated c), Tohoku tai Kahoku boeki oyobi boekigai shushi jisseki hyo (Minkoku 30~33-nendo).*

(* Indicates the document is included in the Zhang Jia'ao Collection, located in the Archives of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. On Zhang Jia'ao and the Zhang Jia'ao Collection, see Ajia Keizai Kenkyujo (1986).)