Socio-Economic History

Vol. 82, No. 2

S. SUGIYAMA, Changes in power sources during the process of industrialization in Japan, with special reference to cotton and silk-reeling

This article is a micro-level analysis of changes in the power sources for cotton and silk-reeling, the industries that led Japan's industrialization from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Four cases in the cotton-spinning industry are reviewed: Osaka Boseki in Osaka and Kanegafuchi Boseki in Tokyo and Hyogo, which all used steam; Nisshin Boseki in Tokyo, which used thermal power; and Fuji Boseki in Shizuoka which used hydroelectric power. For the silk-reeling industry, the most highly developed area, the district of Suwa in Nagano prefecture (central Japan), has been examined.
In cotton spinning, a shift from steam to electricity began as coal prices rose during WWI. However, steam was widely established as a source and profits were rising rapidly as a result of the wartime economic boom. For cotton spinning companies it was therefore economically rational to continue to use steam power. Rather than purchasing electricity from power companies, companies generated it themselves from steam. By contrast, in the Suwa silk-reeling industry the change from steam to electric power took place rapidly from the late 1890s, encouraged by the rising prices of both firewood and coal.


Akiko CHIMOTO, Employment relations in the spinning industry: a dispute between Kanegafuchi Cotton Spinning Company and the Central Cotton Spinners Federation

A dispute concerning workers arose between Kanegafuchi Cotton Spinning Company and member companies of the Central Cotton Spinners Federation—a local organization affiliated with the Japan Cotton Spinning Federation—at the end of 1896. Thereafter, paternalistic and familial employment relations based on worker protection policies became common, and opinions regarding the enactment of the Factory Act changed.
In January 1897, the incident was settled with the “Arbitration Statement of the Central Cotton Spinners Federation, Kanegafuchi Cotton Spinning Company, and Mitsui Bank”, arbitrated by Bank of Japan Governor Yanosuke Iwasaki. A committee was established to form rules regarding the restrictions on workers, which had caused the dispute. Both sides accepted these decisions.
This study clarifies the arguments on both sides of the dispute by examining the events causing the dispute and the details of the committee’s deliberations. While both the Central Cotton Spinners Federation and Kanegafuchi Cotton Spinning Company had issues with worker retention, they approached the worker movement issue differently. The Central Cotton Spinners Federation inherited pre-modern methods of controlling workers, which restricted their movement. In contrast, Kanegafuchi Cotton Spinning Company attempted to improve worker retention by guaranteeing them the freedom of movement.


Hideaki INUI, Restructuring of the commons and the resilience of common-pool institutions: a case study of Gillingham royal forest, 1651-1703

This article explores the relation between the resilience of common-pool institutions, which were reasonably sophisticated institutions set up to manage the commons, and the role of popular agency as expressed in petitions of the poor and stakeholders concerning the distribution of benefits. The benefits came from an eighty acre charitable trust for poor relief, part of the Gillingham royal forest, which was granted after the deforestation and the dissolution of the commons during the years of the English interregnum (1649-1660). Counter to earlier scholarship, it argues that the dissolution of the commons did not negatively impact the stakeholders, disrupting social welfare, but instead led them to opt for a more advantageous property regime, revitalizing the poor-relief system through the beneficial interest derived from the eighty acres of land granted as charitable trust. It also argues that the monitoring set up locally by a bottom-up initiative in rural society generated internally self-regulating and self-governing institutions that were neither private nor public, but resided in an intermediate sphere. This arrangement avoided the deficiencies or failures of community governance, and the resilience of common-resources institutions were potentially increased.


Akira UEDA, The reconstruction of cotton cultivation in the Ferghana region, 1917–1929

This study investigates the relations between economic reconstruction and social restructuring in Central Asia from the Russian Revolution until 1929, focusing on the revival of cotton cultivation and food supply in the Ferghana region. The Ferghana region was the agricultural center of Russian Central Asia and the battle front of the civil war after 1917. In the first section, quantitative analysis of data using the geographic information system documents the total destruction of cotton monoculture in 1922 and its reconstruction in 1929. The second section, based on archival records, examines reasons why cotton monoculture revived by 1929, although food shortages and the civil war continued until the early 1930s. Finally, this study shows that the Soviet regime attempted to control farmers through advance payments to cotton farmers, land reforms, and purges of opponents. The Soviet regime eventually succeeded in reconstructing export-oriented cotton cultivation despite the food shortage, reducing the Soviet state's trade deficit. However, the main reasons for the destruction of cotton monoculture in 1922—namely, shortages of food, irrigation, and labor—were not resolved, and these problems persisted in the 1930s.


Daisuke KOGA, The conflict between London clearing banks and Bank of England on the American Exchange Committee during World War I

Following the “Amalgamation Movement” which produced many bank mergers, the power of London clearing banks grew to a point where they not only came into conflict with the Bank of England regarding financial policy but also threatened the authority of their rival in the London money market. Marcello De Cecco concludes that London clearing banks challenged the financial power of the Bank of England, and that they were victorious over their rival in the period up to the financial crisis of 1914. This paper examines the next stage in the conflict, the conflict over wartime “Exchange Control” and the “Administration of the Gold Reserve”, little studied disputes that took place on the American Exchange Committee. Edward Holden, a leading banker working with other London clearing bankers, attempted to consolidate the committee's control of British gold reserves under the banner of “Exchange Control”. Aware of these intentions, Walter Cunliffe, Governor of the Bank of England, objected vigorously. My analysis of primary sources provides a detailed description of the conflict between these parties over the leadership of the committee, and situates the ensuing victory of the Bank of England as a watershed in its establishment of control over the London financial world.