In the Meiji period, Japan began to manufacture various products of modern industries such as cotton yarn, paper, or refined suger which had formerly been imported from abroad. In the fields of trade and shipping as well, Japanese enterprises started to replace foreign companies. We may call the phenomena the replacement by Japanese national enterprises. The case was different with the field of life insurance, where foreign companies entered into the Japanese market already cultivated by Japanese companies. The first Japanese life insurence company was established in 1871, followed by many others until about 1890. The foreign companies of those days had agents in Japan and did business mainly for foreign residents. Two American and two Canadian companies, authorized to enter the Japanese market about 1900, expanded their amount of insurance in force rapidly by selling insurance with tontine allottment. Since tontine offered high-rate allottment at maturity instead of annual allottment, it became popular among wealthy people. Foreign companies occupied for more than 10% of the Japanese market in 1904-06. They gradually reduced their activities thereafter, because American companies were prohibited from allotting tontine by the Insurance Law of New York State. On the other hand, some Japanese companies adopted the method as it was not prohibited by the Japanese Insurance Law, causing a considerable damage to American companies. In the 1910's an American company withdrew from the field and the share of other foreign companies decreased yearly. We intended here to find out the foreign companies which had agents in Japan since 1870, the exact date when five companies started their business for the Japanese, the reason for their success and their eventual withdrawal from Japan.
The purpose of this paper is to trace the historical formation process of the Sumitomo Zaibatsu around 1837 and 1845 with the objective of discovering how the reform of not only the house precepts, shop rules and miner's rules etc. but also the house system were done by Genbee Takawara, the head-clerk of the Izumiya-Sumitomo and how characteristics the reform of these feudalistic house system had as compared with the reform of Mitsui and Konoike in the Tokugawa Period (1600-1868). The 1830's brought Tokugawa Japan to the edge of another period of crisis compounded of financial insolvency at the top and reaction to conditions of poverty at the bottom. The country was seething with displaced peasants and the cities choked with peasants and wanderers. The poor were in a desperate mood. Outbreaks of violence and rice warehouse smashings became frequent. In 1837 there was a uprising led by Heihachiro Oshio (17921837), a scholar and a leading O-Yomei philosopher, who had already sold his books to help the hungry poor. The rebels attacked Osaka, and tried to kill the heartless Bakufu's officials and to set fire to the city centre where luxury-living merchants and usury capitalists had been living and to release its wealth to the poor. But they were put down in a day by the Bakufu's troops and Oshio took his own life. His revolt, while quickly put down, shocked greatly the Bakufu, the country and luxury-living merchants who profited while the poor starved. Thus, G. Takawara who became the leader of the Sumitomo Tempo reform, had repeatedly memorialized Tomohiro Sumitomo, the family head, on the need for reform in 1837-1844, following the Oshio rebellion. In this paper I will focus on the role of G. Takawara, the head-clerk of the Sumitomo, the most representative big business, mine-manufacturer and usury of Edo period and analyze the characteristics of the reform for the “modernization” and “rationalization” of the Sumitomo house.
As widely recognized, one of the characteristics of german company law since 1870 is shown in the provisions of the Aufsichtsrat as a compulsory organ. This legal institution was established simultaneously with the marked development of big business. Therefore, interaction between company law and large business organization raises an important issue of german business history. But we have still few empirical study of Aufsichtsrat in its historical reality. Moreover, decisive points of the problem; its meanings and functions in the dynamics of entrepreneurial activties have been remained a tabula rasa. Only the relation to amalgamation, relations between banking and industry, or interlockings have been roughly outlined in some eptomizing works. The real situations of Aufsichtsrat in the course of making integrated, multi-functioned big business seems to be most rich soil of german business history that is not yet ploughed. In this essay a preparatory approach is tried to analyze concretely the institutional and functional dimensions of Aufsichtsrat during the turn of the century through cases of three famous companies, namely : Mannesmann-Röhren, Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG and Harpener Bergbau-AG. As a result, it would hot be allowed to induce any solid and general conclusion from these few cases. But it is fairly sure that a combination of top figures of Aufsichtsrat and Vorstand (executives) had been appeared as the top management de facto, which had acted as entrepreneur in decision making of big business. In fact, they also inclined to become the same social status group in the Kaiserreich. Effective analysis of the process and character of emergence of so-called managerial capitalism in Germany cannot be expected without further empirical as well as theoretical research on this group.