Kyodo Gyogyo Fisheries Company developed into the biggest fishing company in Japan, owning 71.6% of trawlers in the 1930s. It decided to expand into shrimp trawling off the west coast of Mexico in 1934. Since 1929, the soga shosha Mitsui Bussan had imported Galveston shrimp, caught in the Gulf of Mexico, in the United States. Shrimps were a profitable business, and Mitsui expanded its business to the Gulf of California and bought large quantities of shrimp from Mexican cooperatives at Guaymas. Kyodo's trawlers also used Guaymas as a fishing base and came into conflict with Mitsui. But in February 1937, the two companies launched a US$19, 000 joint venture called the Guaymas Project. The venture failed after half a year when Mitsui withdrew, fearing no future in the importing of shrimp because of strict foreign exchange controls by the Japanese Ministry of Finance. In September 1937, Nippon Suisan's Mexican office asked the San Francisco office of the soga shosha Mitsubishi Shoji to sell its shrimp and provide financial assistance. Their relationship was good, but with increased sales in the United States, Kyodo, renamed Nippon Suisan in 1937, depended more and more on Mitsubishi for both sales and finances. Mitsubishi gradually left the sales business in the hands of American brokers, while taking a 5% commission but providing insufficient financial support. In July 1940, Nippon Suisan sought to restructure its Los Angeles office to sell directly to American brokers on the West Coast and dismantle the sales system dependent on Mitsubishi. But until September 1940, Mitsubishi continued to control 100% of sales of two fisheries companies, Nippon Suisan and the late-coming Hayashikane Shoten. The trawling of shrimp was prohibited by the Mexican government in September 1940, a move supported by popular nationalist sentiment in Mexico.
The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on the relationship between local wealth holders and Japan's industrialization, with particular focus on the enterprising booms in provincial areas during the Meiji Era. It examines the case of the Hiroumi family, the largest manure merchant in the town of Kaizuka in Sennan, Osaka. The following are the significant findings made : (1) The investment behavior of the Hiroumi family changed around the time of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95). Before the war, Hiroumi depended mainly on income from its manure business. However, the family began to invest in stocks, especially those of local enterprises, after the war, and stock investment eventually became the family's most important source of income in 1897. Since then, the Hiroumi continued to invest in local enterprises and contributed to the industrialization of Sennan area. (2) The Hiroumis' investment behavior had two characteristics : First, in selecting the firms to invest in, the family carefully researched their potentials as well as the reputations of their founders. Second, the family continued to monitor the firms it had invested in and decided to reinvest in them only after screening their performances. Furthermore, the family became actively involved in the corporate restructuring of firms if necessary. In this fashion, by channeling the region's limited financial resources only to firms with potential, the Hiroumi family contributed to the continuing growth of local enterprises in the area. (3) In the industrialization of the region, the Hiroumis played a role similar to that of an investment banker, and many other local wealth holders like the Hiroumis similarly supported the continuing rise of local enterprises in Sennan area. The existence of those local wealth holders was one of the factors that sustained the “provincial vitality” of the Sennan area throughout the prewar period.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the development of the manufacturer-supplier relationship in the German automotive industry from the 1920s to the 1960s and to examine the continuity (or discontinuity) between the prewar and postwar periods. There has been no detailed historical research on this topic, though the German experience forms an interesting contrast to the American and the Japanese cases. Using original documents mainly from the DaimlerChrysler Archive and focusing on Daimler-Benz, I found that the postwar manufacturer-supplier relationship is quite different from that of the prewar period. While an arm's-length relationship was dominant in the prewar period, with frequent replacement of suppliers and little cooperation on the part of manufacturers, though often concentrating a whole order for a part on a sole supplier, the postwar relationship is more stable and characterized by intensive mutual commitment, with a clear trend to the two-vendor policy. An important turning point in the evolution of the manufacturer-supplier relationship can be found in the wartime economy. Under serious pressures of economic regulation and military production, Daimler-Benz provided suppliers with continuous support and instruction and introduced cooperative product design with selected suppliers. There are reasons to believe that these wartime experiences are related to the postwar development. However, a more direct reason for the postwar changes lies in the new economic environment and experiences in the postwar period, especially the serious shortage of production materials as well as delivery and quality problems of suppliers, combined with the drastic increase in demand for cars. Carmakers had to secure a sufficient parts supply and required the suppliers to keep a large production capacity with enormous capital investment for a longer term, which led necessarily to a stable manufacturer-supplier relationship with mutual commitment.