Tokyo Watanabe Bank

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Tokyo Watanabe Bank (東京渡辺銀行, Tōkyō Watanabe Ginkō), originally named the Twenty-Seventh National Bank (第二十七国立銀行, Dai-Nijūshichi Kokuritsu Ginkō), was a commercial bank based in Tokyo, Japan.

It was founded in 1877 and managed by Watanabe Jiemon IX, who ranked as the fifth wealthiest landlord in Tokyo City during the first decade of the 20th century. [1] [2] [3] Upon his death in 1909, his son Genjiro took over presidency and renamed himself Watanabe Jiemon X. [2]


During World War I, the Watanabe family made investment in unsound ventures by making the bank put out more than 26 million yen to them. [1] [2] After the war and the Great Kantō earthquake, they began to have trouble repaying the debts, most of which were unsecured. [1] [4] The president borrowed cash from usurers and diverted the working capital of its subsidiaries through fraud and misappropriation to avoid bankruptcy. [1] [2]

The bank became nearly insolvent as its shoestring operation came to light in business magazines in February 1927. [2] Its senior managing director was sent to the Ministry of Finance to ask for a government-financed bailout on 14 March 1927. [2] However, due to some miscommunication, Finance Minister Kataoka Naoharu stated in the Imperial Diet that the bank had just gone bankrupt. [2] [5] [6] His false statement led to a bank run and the bank's real bankruptcy, triggering the Shōwa financial crisis. [2] [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Chō, Yukio (1999). Tsutsui, William M. (ed.). Banking in Japan: The evolution of Japanese banking, 1868-1952. Taylor & Francis. p. 112.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ogawa, Isao (1996). "金融恐慌と機関銀行破綻 : 東京渡辺銀行の系列企業を中心に" (PDF). 滋賀大学経済学部研究年報 (in Japanese). Shiga University. 3: 39–80. ISSN   1341-1608 . Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  3. Katō, Yuriko (10 November 1985). "明治における宅地所有の状況と貸地貸家経営(その1)". 青山學院女子短期大學紀要 (in Japanese). Aoyama Gakuin: 182. ISSN   0385-6801 . Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  4. Tamaki, Norio (2005). Japanese banking : a history, 1859-1959. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 152. ISBN   9780521022330.
  5. 1 2 Metzler, Mark (2006). Lever of empire the international gold standard and the crisis of liberalism in prewar Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN   9780520931794.
  6. Ohno, Kenichi. "Showa Financial Crisis of 1927". National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Retrieved 23 November 2015.