Socio-Economic History

Vol. 81, No. 2

Keiichi NAKAYASU, The small-scale cargo vessel business in 19th century Japan: its role in village society and the occupation structure

Small-scale cargo vessels accounted for an overwhelming majority of cargo vessels in 19th century Japan. Most past studies have focused on large-scale cargo vessels, and little is known about their small-scale counterparts.
This article is a first step to filling that lacuna in research through a study of the activities of small-scale cargo vessels in the Iwami-ginzan domain and their place in village society. I found that small-scale cargo vessels operated in a spatial realm similar to their larger-scale counterparts, both in terms of the area they covered and their role in distribution of commodities. Most of the small-scale vessels were managed in a family-like manner, and many of their owners combined vessel-management with other occupations. They undertook business in various ways, including acting as merchants, contracting business for the feudal lords, and contracting for those in the transport industry. This combination of vessel management and other occupations, and the differing management styles, were intended to reduce risks. The cargo vessel business, as an important aspect of livelihood in village society, contributed to the development of the iron and ceramic industries in the Iwami-ginzan domain. The business also played a role in reducing dependence on agriculture, and may have contributed to an increase in the population in the coastal region of this domain.


Akira OHNO, Was Japanese raw silk almost entirely excluded from use as warp in the U.S. and Europe around 1900?

This article examines the widely accepted theory that Japanese raw silk was almost entirely excluded from use as warp in the U.S. and Europe around 1900. First, I produce evidence which shows that Japanese raw silk was made into organzine to be used as warp for yarn-dyed fabrics. Secondly, I also produce evidence which demonstrates that unthrown Japanese raw silk was sized to be used as warp for a grey-woven fabric, habutai. But, up to 1910, most Japanese raw silk was not used in the raw as warp for grey-woven fabrics such as piece-dyed satin, because its cohesion was poor. This was connected with lack of sericin. In the 1890s and 1900s Japanese reelers produced only white silk, which contained less sericin than yellow silk. Worse still, they cast off sericin in order to make raw silk snow-white. Reelers later introduced silkworms which spun yellow silk from Europe, which together with improved reeling method retained sericin. Accordingly, after 1910 Japanese raw silk came to have fair cohesion and also could be used as warp for grey-woven fabrics.


Hideto MATSUBARA, Strategies adopted by Japan’s mandarin orange-producing regions in the 1970s and 1980s

In the 1970s and 1980s growing regions of mandarin orange, known as satsuma or unshu, in Japan were faced with a fall in consumption. This study explores the strategies—including choice of orange varieties adopted by mandarin-producing regions at that time. Past research has primarily studied quality competition among producing regions between the 1970s and 1980s. Most of this work has looked at internal conditions in producing regions and has not considered relationships with actors outside the region, or relationships among producing regions or relationships between producing regions and their markets.
In contrast, this research focuses on strategies, including introduction of new varieties that were based on careful consideration of the choices and market situations of other regions. The historical examination of two cases (the Mikkabi region in Shizuoka prefecture and the Uwa region in Ehime prefecture) helps us identify the existence of a dynamic process, in which internal conditions in each producing region, as well as their relationships with actors outside their regions, influenced one another. Each producing region crafted its development by (a) interacting with its market and other regions and thus (b) swinging between focusing on a particular variety and producing diversified varieties.


Kiyotaka MAEDA, Economic policy conflict between the home government and the colonies after the Japanese–Sino War: a case study of the salt industry

This paper examines a case in which policies developed for the domestic salt industry were applied to the competing salt industry that was developing in the colony of Taiwan, focusing on the ways in which the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce tried to mediate the clashes between the metropole government and colonial authorities over what strategies to take. The analysis shows that: first, salt industry policy in the home islands of Japan depended on the salt monopoly policy in Taiwan. Second, after domestic salt manufacturers failed to gain control over the salt industry in Taiwan, they demanded measures to block a surge in Taiwanese salt entering the domestic market. Third, before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, the Ministry of Finance could not decide whether to adopt a salt tax or a salt monopoly, because these taxation schemes were regressive.
Industry policy in the home islands of Japan was designed to improve the finances of the metropole; in cases where the industries of the home country and the colonies were in competition, policies created in the home country inevitably had to take into consideration the interests of the colonies. Because colonial finance was not independent from metropolitan finance, policy management by the colonial government constrained the home government’s policy decisions.


Toyomu MASAKI, Export of Indian guinée to Senegal via France: intercolonial trade in the long nineteenth century

This study focuses on the intercolonial trade in Indian guinée [Guinea cloth], a blue cotton cloth produced in the French-controlled Indian territory of Pondicherry and exported to Senegal via France. Several works have shown that guinée cloth functioned as a currency in local trade—especially as a means of exchange for Arabic gum along the Senegal River. However, few studies focus on the broader issues of the global guinée trade. This study seeks to answer a series of questions using historical records obtained from Pondicherry, France, and Senegal: why the cloth had to be produced in Pondicherry, how much guinée cloth was transported to Senegal via France, and how the French government controlled this trade. In the process, the paper presents trade data for the period 1833 to 1921: the quantities and prices of the guinée exported from France to Senegal and Pondicherry’s share in the total imports of guinée into France. It also explains the transition in trade policy and the reactions of each stakeholder. The significance of this study lies in the fact that it highlights the long-term global linkages between Pondicherry, France, and Senegal through the guinée cloth trade.