Hayek in Japan: The reception of a neoliberal thought

Gilles Campagnolo

Table of Contents


The modernization of Japan has been taking place since the last half of the nineteenth century: paradoxically enough, elements of Japan’s geography and culture may explain this evolution. Even though very few Japanese economists would call themselves “liberal,” Hayek’s writings had a large audience. The heir to the Austrian school of economic thought, who was pro-free trade and a supporter of individual liberties has been fully translated (twice in fact, see references of Complete Works, at the end of this essay) thus illustrating his influence in academia, public service, and politics (on economic policies). Hayek anchored his views in those of the early Marginalist Austrian founder Menger (1840-1921), whose archives are also to be found in Japan. The encounter of Austrian thought and the far-away land may create a stir. In order to understand the extraordinary impact that the thought of Friedrich Hayek had, philosophical and epistemological traits are examined in this paper, along with attempts to make sense of this striking occurrence.

JEL classification: B25 – B31 – N15 – P16


  • Austrian school of economics
  • Capitalism (the history of high-capitalism, Hoch-Kapitalismus)
  • Hayek (Friedrich)
  • liberalism / theories of freedom
  • Menger (Carl)