Syozo Kawasaki, the founder of Kawasaki Shipyard, died in 1912. Kawasaki Sohonten (limited partnership), the holding company of Kawasaki family, was founded by his daughter and grandsons in 1920. While Kojiro Matsukata, the president of Kawasaki Shipyard since 1896, founded Matsushokai in 1920, his own holding company. And Matsushokai held increasingly more stocks of Kawasaki Shipyard than Kawasaki Sohonten. Matsukata brothers operated many companies of shipbuilding, iron manufacturing, sugar refining and machine manufacturing. These companies borrowed much funds from Jugo-Ginko, whose president was Iwao Matsukata, their eldest brother. Both of Kawasaki and Matsukata family came from Kagoshima prefecture, so this group of businesses was called Sasshu (old name of Kagoshima) Zaibatsu. All of these companies overborrowed and overinvested at the period of financial panic in 1927, so they were on the brink of ruin. The family of Kawasaki and Matsukata retired from their companies and thus Sasshu Zaibatsu collapsed at that time.
From the second half of Taisho Era to the beginning of Showa Era, many firms loosely carried out strategies for expansion and for that reason they collapsed. Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. was a typical case of them. The company had acquired huge profit during the First World War. But its management became worse in the second half of Taisho Era, because the company excessively carried out strategies for expansion in the depression. Moreover, in the process, the company excessively depended on its main bank. This bank was Jugo Bank. Therefore, when Jugo Bank had collapsed in the Monetary Crisis in 1927, Kawasaki Shipkyard Co., Ltd. collapsed too. The process of this collapse of the company was a typical case of many management collapses in this age. However, the process of settlement of the company differed from those of other collapsed firms. Because the company had an important position in the Japanese national defense program, and Jugo Bank, the main bank of the company, too had special position in the Japanese financial circles. This article traces this process of the collapse and settlement in Kawasaki Shipyard Co., Ltd..
The House of Konoike is known as one of the most powerful merchant houses of Tokugawa Japan. The history of the Konoike in the course of Japan's industrialization has been often compared with that of the Mitsui : the former as an unsuccessful case, and the latter as a successful one. This paper is an attempt to shed more light on the modern history of the Konoike, with special reference to the following questions. In what branch of economic activity was the accumlated capital of the Konoike invested, in response to changing scene of national economy during the Meiji-Showa Eras? What kinds of business policy were pursued during the period? What kinds of result did the investment and the policy bring on the Konoike and the Konoike Bank? How were the traditional House system and the managerial organization altered to adjust new environment? What kinds of role did the employed manager, such as Michio Doi, Hisashi Shimamura and Jiro Harada, play in the modernization of the Konoike? By examining these questions, the writers intend to make clear the causes of the Konoike's failure to be brought up as a first class zaibatsu. In conclusion, the business activities of the Konoike since the beginning of Meiji era can be divided into three phases. The first phase (1868-1896) can be explained as the periodd of diversification. The second (1897-1919) can be characterized as the period of specialization in banking. During this period, the Konoike Bank, which was established in 1900 in the form of unlimited parthership and wad reorganized in the form of corporation in 1919, became the only enterprise that the Konoike controlled directly. Conservative behavior under the leadership of Jiro Harada, an employed manager, was another characteristic feature in this period. In the third phase (1920-1933), a holding company, the Konoike Gomei, was established in 1921 and the Konoike Bank was separated from the Konoike family. The Konoike Gomei was more eager about diversification and about holding stocks of various companies in this period than in the preceding period. In this sense, one might reckon the establishment of the Konoike Gomei as an indicator which shows the formation of the Konoike zaibatsu. This is, however, an outward look. The timing of the shift from specialization policy to diversification one was too late and each share of stock held by the Konoike Gomei was generally too small to control the management of each company. Consequently, the Konoike failed to grow up as a first class zaibatsu and remained to be a mere wealthy family.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the influence of “Hansai-shobun” (藩債処分, the adoption and rejection of feudal debts) upon the Osadas (長田家, a big merchant in Osaka), and to take a general view of the reasons why many big merchants in Osaka declined after the Meiji Restoration and why the Finance Ministry decreed “Kawasegata” (為替方, the semi official organ having charge of revenue and expenditure of the Government) to place mortgage equal to the Government money on deposit in the 7th year of Meiji. The author begins this analysis by considering the influence upon them of “Ginme-haishi” (銀目廃止, the abolition of the silver standard in Osaka), for it was the first policy overtaking the Osaka merchants. In spite of being many studies about the merchants who tided over the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration and afterward became “Zaibatsu” (財閥, the big financial combine), there have been so far few studies about the merchants who couldn't do so. The conclusions of this article are following. First. Some causes that made the Osadas decline are (1) “Ginme-haishi”, (2) “Haihan-chiken” (廃藩置県, the abolition of feudal clans and the establishment of prefectures), (3) the decree to repay the Government the money of pre- “Hans, ” (4) the decree to repay the Government its money on deposit, and (5) “Hansai-shobun” ((イ) freezing of credits, (ロ) rejection of feudal debts, and (ハ) the current price of “Shin-Kyu Kosai” [新旧公債, new and old national bonds] being below face value). It is sure that the Osadas succeeded in tiding over (1), (2), (3), and (イ) of (5), but the Osadas couldn't obtain the new base of profit by managing jointly “Horaisha” (蓬莱社, a kind of bank), not only because, of the way of tiding over them but because of (4) and (ロ), (ハ) of (5). As a result the Osadas were compelled to decline. Among them the greatest causes are (ロ), (ハ) of (5), for the Osadas, who had a great amount of “Hansai” and nearly the half of whose “Hansai” were rejected, had overcome the monetary stringency, looking forward to the delivery of all “Hansai”. From this analysis, the author would like to take the general view as to the big merchants in Osaka that they were at first divided into the declining group and enduring group because of (1), but the latter were divided again into such two groups according to the influence of (4) and (ロ), (ハ) of (5) upon them in proportion to the degree of holding and embezzling the Government money, the degree of borrowed money in “Hansai”, and the degree of the other borrowed money. Secondly. The policy of the Finance Ministry to do with the Osadas after (4) was remarkably generous notwithstanding the embezzlement of the Government money. The Finance Ministry gave the Osadas convenience to maintain the family name. This is not only owing to the sympathy for the old illustrious family, but also owing to the inevitable circumstance for the Government to require big merchants such as the Osadas as “Kawasegata”. The Government was also to blame for that embezzlement. And the great amount of the loss of the Government money embezzled by Yamashiroya (山城屋), the Mitanis (三谷家), and the Takagis (高木家) as well as the Osadas made the Finance Ministry decide the reformation of the loose connection between the Government finance and “Kawasegata”. Thus the Finance Ministry decreed to place mortgage equal to the Government money on deposit in the 7th year of Meiji.