Socio-Economic History

Vol. 69, No. 2

Susumu HIRAI
The March Revolution and settlement regulations in the village societies of northwest Germany

This article examines settlement regulations in one Hanoverian province (Provinz Osnabrück) during the 1840s and 1850s in order to investigate changes in rural social order and autonomy.

Before 1848 there was Pauperismus (great poverty) among the rural lower classes of the region, particularly among the Heuerleute (landless cottagers) who rented cottages and land from Bauern (farm holders). Traditionally, the state and village communities, whose members were solely Bauern, exercised little control over these renting relationships. However, when the Heuerleute began to riot and petition in March 1848, the state attempted to mediate between them and the Bauern. In October, the state and the provincial parliament established a law governing the renting of cottages and land. According to the law, village communities were expected to organize Heuerlings-commissionen (local commissions) composed of both Bauern and Heuerleute members. After 1848, under the supervision of the state, these commissions began to monitor and control the Bauern who rented cottages and land to Heuerleute families. Consequently, the March Revolution ended the early modern form of Bauern autonomy via state intervention and the partial integration of the landless cottagers.


The activities of the Bank of Japan as lender of last resort in the 1920s

The purpose of this article is to analyze the activities of the Bank of Japan as lender of last resort (LLR) in the 1920s. During the crisis of 1920 and the banking upheaval of 1922, the Bank of Japan faced an outflow of specie as a result of the rapidly worsening balance of trade, and therefore limited its relief financing. However, after the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 it embarked on large-scale relief financing, with government backing, in order to prevent a financial disaster. As a result, the market stagnated from an excess of currency. Since there was the additional issue of a possible return to the gold standard, when the 1927 crash occurred the Bank of Japan made retrenchment its priority and carried out more relief financing, particularly for the larger banks. In short, the Bank of Japan's activities as LLR in this period were regulated by the logic of the return to the gold standard.


Masafumi YOMODA
Interregional competition in the production of imitation Panama hats: an institutional comparison of prewar Taiwan and Okinawa

Prewar Japan exported imitation Panama hats, which were produced mainly in Taiwan and Okinawa. However, there were sharp differences between the institutions organizing economic transactions in each region. This paper analyzes the institutional differences, focusing mainly upon transaction patterns between merchants and producers, trade associations, export inspection systems, and institutions for improving production techniques.

The first difference is that while producers in Okinawa were dominated by Japanese merchants with relatively long-term gains in mind, those in Taiwan gradually became independent of Japanese merchants and exported hats through Taiwanese branches in Kobe. Second, while short-term transactions were predominant in Taiwan because of frequent entries and exits by producers and merchants, long-term transactions were predominant in Okinawa. Third, while the short-term transactions in Taiwan led to short-sighted behavior, such as the adulteration of products and the weakening of trade associations, the long-term ones in Okinawa produced hats of improved quality, stronger trade association, and good producing skills. In conclusion, institutions in both Taiwan and Okinawa developed complementary relationships which led to contrasting institutional combinations, causing differences in performance. In addition, the implication is that the institutions adopted in Taiwan and Okinawa reflected different economic traditions in China and Japan respectively.


The illegal partition of common land in the prefecture of the Drôme during the French Revolution

From the autumn of 1792, there were frequent disturbances in the rural communities of the Drôme regarding the illegal division of common land (or lands held in common). The purpose of this article is to examine the processes which led to such illegal partitions and the social awareness of the peasantry of the time.

Since the eve of the Revolution, rural communities had wanted to divide not only common land which had been seized by the feudal lord, but also that which had remained under community control. They anticipated that the public authorities would legalize partition. But when the law of October 11, 1792 cut off their hopes by deferring partition, rural communities refused to obey, and began a process of illegal partition through voluntary direct action. In their eyes, this was a legitimate way of restoring social justice.

Even after the partition, rural communities maintained traditional customs and rights of cultivation. This indicates that the purpose behind the partition was not to create the modern proprietary rights, but to increase communal and individual income and to achieve a secure livelihood through the effective use of common land.


Manabu OZEKI
Clothing consumption and the concepts of flow and stock: an analysis of late-Meiji village surveys in Ibaraki prefecture

This article argues that before World War I rural clothing consumption cannot be understood as a 'flow' concept alone. An analysis of extant sonze (village surveys) in Ibaraki prefecture reveals, firstly, that there were two different concepts of 'consumption', and hence two different words and measures for it: seisan (production) consumption and seikatsu (living) consumption. The former consisted of the purchase of an item as well as home production, and was measured from output data. The latter meant the daily use of an item which was in stock. In this case the estimated use value was probably calculated from the total amount of clothes in stock, and it never corresponded to any 'flow' measures of clothing consumption. Secondly, it seems that people at that time applied the concept of depreciation to the household's clothing stock too. These findings have considerable implications. First, we cannot estimate the peasants' standard of living from 'flow' measures alone. Second, if the peasants' chief motive in purchasing new clothes was to replace worn-out traditional kimono, then it would not have been easy for western-style clothing to penetrate the Meiji rural market. This interpretation is consistent with recent studies in textile history.