One aspect of Japanese modernization in the early 20th century was rural economic development. Farmers played a large role in the development process because of the importance of agriculture, especially sericulture, to Japanese exports. Micro-finance was one of the factors in the rural development process (as we have seen with Grameen Bank in the present day). This paper analyzes the birth and growth in modern Japan of a local micro-finance system. It does so through a case study of Kano village, which is in the Chiisagata area of Nagano Prefecture. This was the center of Japanese sericulture production. In 1900, the Japanese government adopted the Industrial Cooperatives Act. It was a mixture of ideas taken from overseas. The intent was to provide credit for cooperative members. This kind of cooperative credit union spread throughout Japan over the next two decades or so. Earlier, the construction of a national railway network had not only integrated the Japanese internal market but also connected it with markets outside Japan. By the 1880s, over 50% of American raw silk was produced in Japan. As the industry expanded, it needed capital for seasonal purchases of fertilizer. However, because the scale of production was small, Japanese farmers had difficulty in obtaining credit. The credit unions created in the wake of the Industrial Cooperative Act helped to satisfy the demand for capital and allow the industry to grow. Silk was the main cash crop in Kano village. The Kano Credit Union was organized in 1903 by a young graduate of one of Japanese new universities. Other executives of the cooperative included wealthy farmers and the village's former officials. The cooperative itself was a modern institution but it drew on pre-existing traditions of local credit networks. This paper focuses on the Kano Credit Union through the end of World War I. Its growth supported, and was supported by, a boom in the local sericulture industry. Hence micro-finance provided crucial support for the development of the local economy.
In this paper, I considered the progress of mechanization in port area during the Interwar period and the process of reorganization. Chikuho area, the northern part of Kyushu, is the biggest coal mining area in Japan. Most of the coal was loaded into ships at Wakamatsu port to be transported. In cargo handling industry in Wakamatsu port, a structure of subcontract was formed. It was composed by members as follows; shippers(coal mining companies or coal merchants), stevedoring contractors, “Kogashira”(master of stevedoring) and “Nakashi”(stevedore). Around 1930s, a movement of reorganization by mechanization rushed into the cargo handling industry in Wakamatsu port area. However, as a result of my analysis, it was clarified that the structure mentioned above was maintained. In Chikuho coal mining industry in 1920s suffered by depression, inefficient loading operation and its high cost came to be recognized as serious problems. Therefore, big shippers such as Mitsui Bussan and Mitsubishi Kogyo produced machinery for loading operation to prompt speedy loading and to lower the costs. At the same time, they limited the number of stevedoring contractors and “Kogashira”. On the other hand, they strengthened the business relationship with the rest of them. Stevedoring contractors were forming closer relationships with shippers and that made them stipulate their responsibilities at loading operation. In the process of stipulation, triangular conflicts between stevedoring contractors, “Kogashira” and “Nakashi” were gradually surfaced in cargo handling business. Under the situation mentioned above, stevedoring contractors expressed their strong will that they would protect “Kogashira” and “Nakashi”. The expression led the their trust to stevedoring contractors and that allowed the stevedoring contractors to maintain their base for their existence.
This paper clarifies the growth of the furniture industry during the postwar high-growth period in Bingo Fuchu, where is famous as a production center for high-class marriage furniture. With the increase in income during the postwar high-growth period, there was a growth in the bridal market as well, thereby it lead to an expansion of the high-class marriage furniture market. Against this background, it was evident that Bingo Fuchu had been also rapidly expanding as one of the most famous production centers for high-class marriage furniture in Japan. We consider the following two aspects as being of great significance in the popularizing Bingo Fuchu as a production center for high-class marriage furniture. First, the production system for Bingo Fuchu's original high-class marriage furniture and that for mass products were coexisted and led by backbone manufacturers. This aspect is different from that indicated previous studies which emphasize mechanization and mass production. Further, the creation of a new advanced system (specialized Planning Management Division, enhanced manufacturing facilities, etc.) and enhancing existing provincial cooperation among associated local enterprises made it possible for the production system to be constructed in Bingo Fuchu. Second, in order to construct a new distribution system for increasing sales, a burgeoning production center was necessary, since there were no local wholesalers in Bingo Fuchu. Thus, a new distribution system was constructed as a supplementary to establish wholesalers who played a central function in distribution, as indicated by previous studies; this system was characterized mainly by development of the trade fair business. Initially, certain backbone manufacturers enabled Bingo Fuchu to acquire the reputation of being a production centre of high-class marriage furniture from the end of the 1950's to the beginning of the 1960's. This was done by conducting nationwide exhibitions in reputed furniture stores and winning prizes for excellence on the basis of market evaluation. Further, local trade fairs in Bingo Fuchu led by the unions in the middle of the 60's also played a vital role in the establishment of Bingo Fuchu's reputation. At these trade fairs, a long-term dealing relationship was established between wholesalers and retailers through the disclosure of production information. In addition, almost simultaneously, manufacturer's sales offices were established in Bingo Fuchu as distribution points and sales bases in order to attempt strengthening ties with business partners and customers.