In Japan after World War I, the population of the big cities increased with the growth of the heavy and chemical industries in urban areas, resulting in a widening of gaps in regional development. During the 1930s, the government urged factories to relocate from the cities in order to narrow the gaps. Moreover, the government assisted in the evacuation of munitions factories, above all the strategically important machine shops, to avoid air strikes during the Pacific War. Although not as many machine shops dispersed geographically as the government had anticipated, the agglomeration of small-to-medium-sized machine shops did accelerate, and the experience of learning by making various types of machines was acquired by many local cities as a result. Machine production increased remarkably in these local cities after World War II, enabling regional small-to-medium-sized shops to contribute substantially to the Era of the High-Speed Growth in the 1960s.
In most previous studies of the Japanese coal industrial history, it is assumed that small-scale coal mines were undeveloped. Large-scale coal mines, such as Mitsui and Mitsubishi, were thought to have monopolized the market during the interwar period. However, there is almost no empirical study that analyzes small-scale coal mines. Therefore, this paper examines the case of Arate coal mine, under small-scale management in the coalfields of Chikuhou during the interwar period. The coal market share of Arate was greatly extended under the oligopoly of large-scale coal mines from 1930 to 1935. In this study, this factor is analyzed from three angles: a market, production, and finances. What should be emphasized is that Arate produced high-quality coal that was equal to that of large-scale coal mines. Arate operated under a labor-intensive system, using low wage earnings, and was became able to compete at the same production cost as large-scale coal mines. That is, Arate competed on an equal footing with large-scale coal mines, in both the market and production cost, and grew in management scale. This paper thus presents a critique of the historical image of small-scale coal mines as undeveloped.
A long-running and thus-far unsolved issue in British economic history, known as the Macmillan Gap, is the role played by the British capital market in the provision of finance to small- and medium-sized enterprises. There have been numerous allegations of failure in the literature, where it is alleged that the capital market was reluctant to finance such enterprises. But recently a new view has appeared. A considerable proportion of small firms are said to have relied on private sources of finance through a circle of personally acquaintanted investors, and this form of financing worked satisfactorily in the pre-1914 era. However, there is little evidence of private financing, and therefore this picture is conjecture at present. The aim of this paper is to provide evidence to support this new view. We focus on a case of raising finance by White & Pike, a small printing firm in the late nineteenth century, through empirical research, drawing on contemporary records held in Lloyds Bank Archive and the Public Record Office.