Merchant bankers and the modern trading system emerged between the 1830s and 1850s. Before these changes, it was commission merchants that were engaged in both trade and finance. They bought or sold goods on others' accounts and advanced from one half to three-fourths of the total amount of goods to the consignors. This financing system, the advance on consignments, was developed in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century and introduced to Great Britain in the end of the eighteenth century. Aside from selling and buying on consignment and trade finance, some commission merchants sold insurance and dealt with securities and sometimes speculated on their own accounts. To study the business of commission merchants, therefore, would contribute to understanding how international commerce and finance were managed, as well as the early insurance business and stock transactions before the modern system was established. But the business of commission merchants has never been seriously researched. The case studies of merchant bankers, which are relatively abundant, include few remarks about their activities in the earlier days when they were still commission merchants rather than merchant bankers. The author has been researching George Philips & Co., London, intending to complete one case study of a commission merchant house. The business records of this firm exist for a very short period, from 1801 to 1803, but its activities extend widely, from serving as an agency for import and export, trade finance, banking, to broking of marine insurance. In this essay, the author provides an overview of its transactions first and later elaborates on its marine insurance business.
In 1947, immediately after World War II, twelve Japanese life insurance companies reorganized themselves from stock concerns into mutual concerns. For example, in 1945 there were sixteen life insurance companies, of which thirteen were stock concerns and only three mutual concerns. Japanese life insurance companies converted their organizational structures into mutual concerns simultaneously after the war. Why did major life insurance companies reorganize themselves into mutual concerns? One reason is the democratic influence of GHQ, which caused the reorganization. It is the purpose of this article to seek a more critical and fundamental reason. The conclusions of this article can be summarized as follows : the corporate governance structure in Japan of the times caused them to reorganize. That is, in the chaos of the Japanese economy, (1) the power of the stockholders became weaker, (2) there was growing anxiety of strong labor movement, and (3) the new managements wanted to strengthen their positions. The life insurance companies tried to adapt themselves to such situations within the corporate governance structure of Japanese companies, and consequently they chose to reorganize as mutual concern. Moreover the Japanese government set a deadline (March, 1948) for reorganization under the Financial Institutions Reconstruction and Reorganization Law. That is why all the companies reorganized simultaneously in 1947. This article finds that the democratic influence of GHQ accelerated the Japanese life insurance companies' decision to reorganize as mutual concerns, and they had already started their reorganization under the new corporate governance structure.
The main purpose of this article is to clarify the British pattern of the introduction of technical instruction, analyzing the economic influence of the activity of the City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education at the end of the 19th century. This paper also focuses upon the fact that the City and Guilds attached importance to the opinion of small- and medium-scale merchants and manufacturers in Britain. As a first industrial nation, Britain had preserved entrenched institutional structures since the Industrial Revolution and as regards technical instruction, the state was reluctant to create the polytechnics and the scientific facilities like Germany. In Britain, on the whole, some voluntary societies, one of which was City and Guilds, endeavored to promote technical instruction throughout the 19th century. The conclusion of this paper can be summarized as follows. City and Guilds, which consisted of members of the Corporation of London and sixteen Livery Companies, conducted a nationwide technological exam for the various types of merchants and manufacturers and built the first technical college, Finsbury Technical College, in London. This college particularly attracted small- and medium-scale merchants and manufacturers who worked around London and coped with industrialization by relying upon their manual technologies. City and Guilds satisfied their needs concerning higher knowledge or information to catch up with the technical standards of their rivals. Moreover, they provided an opportunity to centralize the technical instruction system in Britain.
Gunze Silk Mfg. Co., Ltd. was established in Kyoto prefecture in 1896 and produced high-quality silk. The products were reeled in a factory by young female workers from rural areas who had appropriate skills and experience. After World War I, an expansion in the business caused a shortage of workers at the factory. In response, the management innovated a system for the employment of rural girls. This paper studies the formation of the recruitment system and analyzes how it was implemented by Gunze between 1925 and 1930. The management strategy was to select their employees carefully. First, they refused applications from girls under age in spite of the labor shortage. Only girls aged fifteen and over could get a job and enter the training program. Moreover, they included testing of the candidate's aptitude in the employment examination. Thanks to this, the training period was reduced from six to four months, and the number of trained workers increased. They also considered recruiting highly skilled workers from other factories and areas. This, however, would require reeducation of the workers, and they therefore did not develop this method of employment. In conclusion, the original recruitment system was a precondition for the systematization of the personnel training within industry, which made a contribution to the strict quality control.