2018 年 34 巻 p. 86-103
Japan's ume production has kept growing since 1960's but it is overwhelmingly concentrated in Wakayama Prefecture, which now hosts over two thirds of ume cultivation in Japan. The success and prosperity of the Wakayama ume production center is noteworthy in the hardship of local production centers, which has struggled to survive amid the globalization. We examine what has most contributed to the Wakayama dominance by comparing the development and industrial structure of ume production centers between Wakayama and Gunma Prefectures. The latter is the second largest ume production center in Japan. There are two epoch making periods in the postwar ume production growth in Japan. The first surge in ume production was led by the booming unripe ume demand in 1960's; the 1962 revision of the Liquor Tax Law lifted the ban on brewing private ume wine. The second surge occurred in late 1980s and 1990s; the growing health consciousness and the development of the restaurant industry stimulated a demand for "Umeboshi (a pickled Japanese ume）" and contributed to the rapid increase in ume production. However, the second surge was unique in Wakayama Prefecture and not significant in other areas. Main results in this study on competitive advantages and driving forces of the Wakayama dominance in ume production are as the followings: Firstly, from late Taisho period to early Showa ere, the core of ume production industry containing ume cultivators and processors was established in considerable size in Wakayama prefecture. The local specialty, "Nankoume," acted as a mediator of this combination. But the other ume production centers, even Gunma Prefecture, failed to form such combination. Secondly, the combination benefitted both of two players. Cultivators provided primarily processed ume to processors either directly or through broker and could avoid the damage from market fluctuation. And processors were relieved from the burden of primary processing and could focus on the development of innovative products such as "Katsuoume" and "Ajiume". This enormously contributed to the Wakayama dominance. Finally, owing to the benefits from the combination, the Wakayama Prefecture secured its position as a main center of ume production in 1960s and led the secondary expansion since late 1980s. Simultaneously, based on the combination, it formed a broader ume production complex containing various supporting industries such as distribution and tourism. This further strengthened the solid competitive advantage of the Wakayama ume production center.