Socio-Economic History

Vol. 66, No. 4

The migration pattern of Tokugawa peasants: an analysis of documents from Northeastern Japan, 1760-1870

Although recent studies by Japanese historical demographers have enormously enriched our knowledge of the fertility and mortality of Tokugawa peasants, their migration patterns still remain poorly understood. Using the shumon aratame-cho (religious registration records) of Yambe, a village in northeastern Japan, this article clarifies several critical aspects of migration in the Tokugawa period. The main findings can be summarized as follows:

(1) The gross migration rate of Yambe was relatively high, 46 per thousand per year. But in-migration and out-migration offset each other, and thus net migration made very little impact on the village population.

(2) Marriage and employment as servants (hoko) were the dominant reasons for migration. Both reveal distinct patterns as do the movements of males and females.

(3) The number of migrants declined precipitously after about 1840, because servants (hoko-nin) were replaced by day laborers (hiyatoi).

(4) The age profile of migration showed a sharp peak from the upper teens to the lower twenties, because marriage and hoko were concentrated in these age groups. The male profile peaked at a higher age than the female profile.

(5) The average distance of migration was 4 km, and almost all migration took place within a radius of 10 km from Yambe. Villagers tended to migrate farther away for marriage than for hoko.

The growth strategy of Hoden Oil Company, 1893-1908

Hoden Oil Company grew through a strategy of merging other mining companies. Success in mining led to high profits, which led to high dividends, which caused the capital to increase and made possible mergers through the issue of stock, with an expansion of the scale of business as the end result. When Hoden Oil achieved mergers with refining and wholesale companies in a process known as daigodo (amalgamation), it became one of the leaders of the Japanese oil industry, on a scale rivalling Nippon Oil Company.

Soon, however, its production rate of crude oil began to reach a ceiling, signalling that its growth strategy was coming to an end. However, the company continued to pursue the strategy of mergers, expansion and capital increase, until in 1909 the discovery of falsified accounts brought disaster.

The next year saw the beginning of reforms known as naibu seiri. Professional managers were introduced and, most important, the growth strategy was changed to one based on gradual advances through technical innovations in mining.

The subcontractor system in Japan from 1955 after the period of high growth: a historical analysis of the Japanese auto industry

As one of the most characteristic features of the Japanese auto industry, the system of subcontracting has been evaluated in various ways and regarded as an important factor in Japanese industrial competitiveness overseas. There have been, however, many arguments which tend to apply only to the relations between car assemblers and their direct suppliers, and also deal only with the rational side of one-to-one relations between firms. The purpose of this paper is to examine the characteristics of the Japanese subcontractor system with an emphasis on its structural stratification and how the collective interests of the suppliers have influenced its workings.

First, I analyze interactions between a group of car assemblers (the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) and a group of major suppliers (the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association). Second, I examine smaller suppliers' relations with their buyers, based on the results of a survey which I carried out in the Keihin district.

While the subcontractor system in Japan has been reinforced since the 1960s, various problems have also emerged during the process. Although the solutions to the problems differ from one tier of the system to another, they reflect the collective interests and activities of the suppliers in each tier.

Chisako TSUJI
The failure of the early Meiji attempt to cultivate American cotton in Japan, 1874-1887

In the early Meiji period, the Japanese government embarked on a project to cultivate American cotton as part of its industrial promotion program. The project was, however, unsuccessful. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the causes of its failure.

Earlier studies have concluded that the attempt to transplant the cotton itself was unsuccessful as well as the project as a whole, mainly because of 'the dominance of small-scale farming' in Japan or the 'backwardness' of Japanese agriculture. However, since there is evidence that in some areas farmers actually succeeded in rearing American cotton, the 'supply side' cannot have been the decisive factor.

This paper takes into account the 'demand side', focusing on how American cotton was handled by cotton growers and processors. There was a deep concern on the part of the growers that the raw cotton would not sell unless the government was willing to buy it up. At the same time, the processors complained that long stapled American cotton was unsuited to processing machines built for the short stapled Japanese variety. Thus, the major cause of the failure was that American cotton was unable to find a market in Japan at the time.

The policy of the People's Republic of China toward private enterprise in the early period after its foundation

The purpose of this article is to review the early economic policies of the People's Republic from a standpoint critical of the revolutionary view of history. Specifically, by studying the actual conditions of steamship companies, we intend to show that political movements such as 'the Movement Against Three and Five Evils' and 'the Democratic Reform Movement' had a significant influence on China's subsequent transformation into a socialist state.

After entering the Korean War, China made a drastic move away from 'neo-democratic' policies and started to exercise control over economic activities. In the middle of 1951, the Communist Party started 'the Movement against Three and Five Evils' and 'the Democratic Reform Movement', which took a similar form as the land reforms in targeting the bourgeoisie. Through these political movements, many major private enterprises were converted to semi-governmental corporations, and as a result, the Communist Party established a dominating role in the economy. As there was little difference between semi-governmental and state-run corporations, we can say that the China's transformation into a socialist state really began in 1951, and that the Korean War acted as the turning point.