Socio-Economic History

Vol. 76, No. 1

Teppei DOI
Characteristics of the labour market and employment in the mining industry in modern Japan: research using the management material of “tomoko” at Ashio and Osarizawa mines

This article explores the characteristics of the labour market and employment in the mining industry in Japan from the 1900s to the 1910s, taking as examples Ashio and Osarizawa mines.

Miners in modern Japan formed communities known as tomoko. Their members handed down their technical skills only to fellow tomoko members and mediated employment for members. In order to correctly understand the characteristics of the labour market of miners, it is necessary to prove how tomoko participated in their employment. However, there exist few studies and unconfirmed details.

Based on the idea above, I analyzed the realities of the employment of miners by using tomoko management materials. I ascertained that tomoko maintained the demand-and-supply balance in the labour market by training miners and mediating jobs and also found that workers sometimes moved from one mine to another through introductions provided by tomoko and that the patterns of how they moved had regional differences.


Hiroaki ISHII
The political and economic background of the1922 movement to repeal business tax

This paper examines the movement to repeal business tax initiated by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and other trade associations in 1922. This paper counter-argues an established interpretation that the movement was driven by small-sized enterprises which allegedly suffered from a heavier tax burden than big businesses. This paper proves that the real argument for tax repeal was based not on the size of enterprises but on the method of taxation, because the retail and whole-sale industry was the only sector that was taxed on the basis of the total amount of sales, regardless of profit levels.

The movement succeeded in bringing about a reduction in business tax rates, and this should be understood in the historical backdrop of major changes in political structure, including the budget deals between the government and political parties following the Washington Naval Treaty, and diversification of interests of landlords and farmers in the rural areas. This movement also suggests that the activities of interest groups addressing the government, political parties, and parliament members during this period in Japan were comparable to American-style lobbying.


Changmin LEE
Telecommunications and an optimal contract in the rice trade: the background to the decline of inland brokers and rise of grain merchants in prewar Korea

When rice export began in great quantities from the 1890s, the profits from inland distribution and foreign trade of Korean rice were divided between inland brokers (gyak-ju) and grain merchants in the ports towns. One of the reasons why inland brokers were prosperous in the 1890s was the particular contract structure between inland brokers and grain merchants. An optimal contract allowed inland brokers a big margin, resulting from information asymmetry, such as inadequate monitoring of inland brokers on the part of grain merchants. However, the appearance of telecommunications changed the contract structure, resulting in the decline of inland brokers.

Grain merchants prospered through the use of telecommunications for the rice trade. First of all, telecommunications allowed grain merchants to use the Rice Exchange to heir advantage. Additionally, as trade based on telecommunications was established among grain merchants, the role of agents in the rice trade drastically declined. However, not all agents, including inland brokers, disappeared from the grain market. They were able to find new business opportunities in decreasing new transaction costs derived from increased anonymous trade.


The struggle against the traditional system of self-government and the establishment of a new “chō” system in modern Kyoto

The purpose of this paper is to clarify changes in the self-government of “chō” in modern Kyoto. Chō is the basic town unit characterized as a mutual-aid and mutual surveillance body since the Muromachi period (1336-1573). In the Meiji era (1868-1912), chō was a traditional system of self-government organized exclusively by house-owners. By the late Meiji, this system became subject to criticism by the press and by tenants in many chō. In 1919, for example, tenants of Rokkaku-chō struggled against house-owners for the right to participate in self-government. The background of this struggle was the rapid industrialization in Kyoto in the Taishō era (1912-1926), the rice riots (kome-sōdō) of 1918, and the campaign for universal suffrage. As a result, the chō system was overhauled. The most important change was that chō officials were no longer limited to house-owners. Tenants, too, could become officials, with rights equal to those of house-owners. Furthermore, reforms were made in cost-sharing and traditions relating to ceremonial occasions.


Shin’ichi IWAMOTO
The industrialization of the clothing sector and the rise of middle-sized tailoring enterprises in the first half of the 20th century in Japan

This article aims to explain empirically the industrialization of the Japanese clothing sector. This industrialization process strongly reflected the variety of products manufactured by the textile industry. Industrialization of the clothing sector had started by the end of the 19th century. From that time, sewing machines were in wide use, while the scale of factory-based manufacture ranged from large to small, and home-based manufacture was also common. Further, statistical records began to classify various kinds of factories, occupations, and products, including knitting, tailoring, sewing, hats, and socks, and so on.

Factory-scale businesses can be divided into four: large-, middle-, and small-sized plants, and domestic manufacture. Domestic production experienced an especially wide expansion. Many factories were related through trust relations. Some factories made few types of goods, and other factories manufactured many items since sewing machines could be set up either in one or multiple locations.


Tomoko IUCHI
Activities of the Garment Association, 1929 -1934

This paper investigates the activities of the Garment Association from 1929 through 1934. The association was an auxiliary institution of the Japanese Army, founded in 1929 to secure textile resources, standardize civilian and military clothing, as well as proliferate domestic woolen goods in preparation for all-out war. In particular, the Garment Association promoted the westernization of clothing and a “movement to standardize clothing” of all kinds, notably school uniforms, calling for the wide use of army khaki, a change supported by military-supply companies.

With disarmament following World War I, military-supply enterprises shifted their focus to the civilian sector. They supported the Garment Association amid the recession, in an effort partly designed to prevent a further decrease in consumption.

The military-supply industry supported the Garment Association’s measures as a way to stimulate clothing consumption. Though initial attempts to spread use of army khaki clothing were thwarted by negative association that linked khakis to the military, a recommendation by the association pushed matters forward at the prefectural level, resulting in both the adoption of uniforms in secondary boys’ schools and a drop in price due to mass production.