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Masashi Izumo and Hiromi Morishita

This chapter outlines the reception and diffusion of Malthus’s economic thought in Japan from the 1870s to the 1910s. It explains that while the first complete translations of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population and Principles of Political Economy did not appear in Japan until 1923 and 1943, his theory of population became widely known by the end of the nineteenth century through lectures, translations, journals, textbooks, and literary works. It describes the vital role played by popular novels and examines how both the advocates of migration and expansion who used Malthus’s theory of population and the socialists who rejected it shared a common misunderstanding of Malthus’s proposition. After describing the debate between Marxists and Malthusians over the Japanese population problem, it notes that these issues were taken up by later generations of scholars and contributed to the development of economics, demographics, and social policy in Japan.

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Gilbert Faccarello, Masashi Izumo and Hiromi Morishita

This introduction to the book sums up the main results developed in the different chapters and emphasises the basic features of the reception of Malthus’s works and ideas in Europe, America and Japan. In particular, it stresses the importance of the French editions in this reception in Continental Europe, the neglect of Malthus’s theological views, and proposes an explanation of why Malthus’s works generated huge and lasting controversies.