The Shôken Fund and the evolution of the Red Cross movement

Romain Fathi, Melanie Oppenheimer

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This article examines the creation of the Shôken Fund and its impact on the evolution of the Red Cross movement globally, with a focus on the first quarter of the twentieth century and post-First World War European reconstruction. The Shôken Fund was an initiation of the Japanese Red Cross Society in 1912 to support Red Cross activities in peacetime, administered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. It came into effect in 1920 and the first grants were allocated to Red Cross Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1921. The article contributes to the historiography of the Red Cross movement and twentieth century humanitarianism by arguing that the Japanese Red Cross Society, through its Shôken Fund, played an important but little known role in the transformation of the Red Cross within the first years of the post-First World War period, as it helped to facilitate a shift in focus for the ICRC from war only to one that included peacetime activities such as those advocated by the newly created League of Red Cross Societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-831
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire
Issue number5
Early online date19 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Shôken Fund
  • Evolution
  • Red Cross


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