Loans to Money-Losing Mines
Manuscript on paper, entitled on label on upper cover “Ginzan Kashitsuke kiroku” [“Loan Records of the Silver Mines”], signed by Chudayu (or Chiwaki) Shiraishi.
8vo (235 x 168 mm.), orig. blue semi-stiff wrappers, modern stitching. [Japan]: 1853-54.
Silver was mined at the Ikuno Ginzan (Ikuno Silver Mine) from the 9th century until 1973 and was an important source of income for the central government. Lead, copper, zinc, and gold were extracted along with silver. There were a number entrances to the mine, and more than 20,000 local residents were in some way involved in the mining industry.
In the 19th century, the mines were running deficits as they were not producing enough silver. This is a fascinating official record maintained by Chudayu (or Chiwaki) Shiraishi (1817-87), of the loans made by the bakufu to the Ikuno and nearby Ase silver mines to improve their efficiency and production levels. Shiraishi was at this time working for the bakufu, employed as deputy officer of the two silver mines, overseeing their operations and finances. Later, during the Meiji Restoration, Shiraishi became well known as a scholar of Wagaku (Japanese studies) and as a journalist.
This manuscript, written in a very beautiful hand, contains detailed accounts of the series of loans made by individual members of the bakufu to each mine, with names of lenders, size of loans, interest rates, purpose of the loans (apparently most of the money went to pay the salaries of the miners), etc. The signature of Shiraishi appears on the first and final leaves.
In fine condition; some well-repaired worming touching text. Preserved in a chitsu. Stamp (with release stamp) of the Nagoya Eirin Kyoku (the Forest Management Division of the Nagoya City government).
Item ID: 7391