Socio-Economic History

Vol. 66, No. 6

The formation of large silk-reeling factories and the United States market: a case study of the growth of Okaya Silk Reeling Co. and the establishment of its brand

In addition to technological progress, confidence in raw silk brands was a necessary condition for the development of the silk-reeling industry in Japan. Silk reeling in Suwa district, in Nagano prefecture, developed rapidly from the mid-1880s, by increasing exports to the United States. During the late 1890s, however, it had to undergo reorganization because a higher level of quality, especially in uniformity, had come to be required as a result of technological progress in the U.S. silk manufacturing industry, particularly the speeding up of power looms. Up till then, small factories had reeled silk separately and then had re-reeled and baled cooperatively. However, in order to produce uniform raw silk, pioneering firms introduced continuous production systems from reeling to re-reeling and packing, in far larger factories. Furthermore, they established their own brands by labeling original chops as a commitment to maintain quality. This was possible since the commitment was self-enforcing, given that their production systems were efficient in producing high quality raw silk, and that American buyers paid sufficient quality premiums when the guarantee of quality was reliable. By fulfilling these conditions of technology and information, the pioneering firms were able to return to the top of the world silk-reeling industry in the 1900s.

Migration patterns in silk textile production centers in the late Tokugawa period: a case study of the town of Hachioji

The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between the development of market locations and population accumulation in a rural industrial society by examining migration patterns in the late Tokugawa period. From the 1820s, the development of the silk industry in Hachioji generated migration by peasants from nearby villages and by workers from areas where the textile industry was already developed. In the late 1830s, the silk industry became divided into sericulture, reeling and textile production. As a result, fabric dealers migrated short distances from nearby villages, while peasants began to migrate longer distances to be employed on daily contracts. This shows a decline in the effect of distance as a factor in the intention to migrate.

Out-migration occurred as Hachioji tenants moved to the Edo labor market in the 1840s. After the 1850s, the decline of Hachioji's function as a post town (shukuba) caused many servants employed in inns to migrate out to other post towns.

This study clarifies that the development of the silk textile industry caused a shift in the spatial system of Hachioji from a post town to a market town (ichiba). Silk fabric production centers were the only areas where the industrial development of rural towns occurred before the opening of the ports.

Kazuhiro ITAMI
The establishment of the actualization of inheritoręs shares in mid-nineteenth century France: an analysis of the depositions made in the 1866 Agricultural Questionnaire

This paper analyzes the depositions made in the 1866 Agricultural Questionnaire concerning law amendments about the actualization of inheritor’s shares. In those days, excessive division of land was a problem and the law of inheritance was seen as the major cause. The Court of Cassation of France used to give decisions to divide land in kind, but such a trend gave rise to complaints in many regional areas. Even in the 1866 Agricultural Questionnaire depositions, farmers’ opinions concerning this problem can be found. These depositions can be grouped into six types, two of which are more important than the others. The first type requested the actualization of each child’s share while keeping equality between the children. The second type requested the freedom to make wills (especially the expansion of the willed portion).

The farmers in the Paris Basin demanded the amendment of the Civil Code so that requests of the first type would be possible. In central and southwestern France, demands for both types were seen, but the first type was becoming predominant. Eventually, the central government decided to adopt the first type. The farmers’ demands were realized at least to a certain extent. This outcome was based on the inheritance strategies of French farmers that are investigated in this paper.

Yasukichi YASUBA
The challenge of 'Historical Institutional Analysis': Is cliometrics under threat?

'Historical Institutional Analysis' has recently gained prominence in Japan. This note examines the criticisms of traditional cliometrics made by Tetsuji OKAZAKI, its major proponent, and evaluates his contributions. Most of his criticisms are found to be misplaced since cliometrics is not excessively technical and is not uninterested in income-distribution, institutional problems, and economic development. He made a valuable contribution in discovering in kabunakama (guilds) a system which maintained commercial order. However, this order was monopolistic, and therefore unlikely to play a positive role in modernization. Most of his other contributions are in the tradition of neoclassical economics in the broad sense of the phrase, so that cliometrics is not seriously threatened.