The general trading company, Sogo Shosha, is usually defined as “a firm that trades all kinds of goods and services with all nations of the world.” The emergence of the Sogo Shosha in Japan has been heavily written about from different perspectives. Some used models to focus their attention on the internal organizations and management policies. Some stressed the importance of economic circumstances in Japan. In this paper, I explain the formation of the general trading company from the perspective of customer relations. I did a case study on Mitsui Busan (Mitsui Co. Ltd), one of the biggest Sogo Shosha in Japan. From the information I gathered from Mitsui Busan, I have focused on their customer relations around 1959. From there, I have grouped the major customers, who have business dealings of more than ¥0.5 billion a year with Mitsui Bussan, into Mitsui Keiretsu, non-Mitsui Keiretsu, and subsidiary companies. I discovered that Mitsui Bussan's transactions with its major customers were consistent and that they covered a very wide variety of goods and services. It was also discovered that Mitsui Busan had very specific product dealings with specific groups of customers. The formation of Mitsui Busan arose from the transaction and relations with its customers, and thus formed a heavily dependent customer network. In conclusion, the most important factor was their tightly-knit customer relations and network with all its customers. It is a misconception that Mitsui Busan only had strong relations with the Mitsui Group. In actual fact, non-Mitsui Group customers were as highly valued as those from the parent group. Therefore, in analysing the emergence of Sogo Shosha in Japan, it is best to look at the customer relations and network of the Sogo Shosha.
It goes without saying that economic and industrial growth of prewar Japan had much relied on the development of silk industry. Nevertheless, the previous studies have concentrated upon the research of the growth of export market and business of export products from the view of trade balance of prewar Japan, and unreasonably ignored the importance of domestic market. This paper attempts to clarify the increasing domestic market and consumption of raw silk during the period from 1870s to 1920s by closely examining the various kinds of statistical data including cocoon production as original material. This also tries to analyze a secular trend of the domestic demand, as well as production and distribution process of raw silk in prewar Japan. One of the most important findings in this research is the larger scale of domestic silk market than the estimated figure of the previous researches. The other significant point this paper has made is to show the evidence that the variety and requirement of the domestic market had distinctively differed from export products, accordingly the repeated increase of export had not always induced the decrease of the importance of the domestic market of raw silk in the period.