This paper examines the fashion business by focusing on the entrepreneurship of a Japanese wholesales merchant Inanishi & Co. in the 1920s in order to demonstrate the dynamism of the creation of fashion. Inanishi played a central role in making season colors and designs using the silk textile “Meisen,” which was one of the first leading commodities accepted by the masses in Japan. In the late 1910s department stores in Japan enjoyed increased bargaining power in the consumer market. Against the backdrop of this power they decreased the volume of trade with wholesalers while starting to deal directly with the silk textile producers. The reason for this shift was to increase the number of sales promotions and shift their strategy to fit the mass market. For that purpose they made use of Meisen. Inanishi was deeply concerned about their weakening power as a middleman and wanted to find a place for themselves in business relations with department stores. As the Meisen market expanded from the late 1910s, Inanishi noticed that achieving both product differentiation and mass production had become the new business challenge for the textile industry in the 1920s. Inanishi designed a unique fashion creation system by utilizing both silk textile producers and department stores. Inanishi tried to survive by collecting fashion information from major department stores, and then spreading it to silk textile producers by publishing the monthly magazine “Sensyoku-no-Ryuko” and organizing a textile fair twice a year. By getting information from these two channels, producers may also have been attempting to decrease the uncertainty in the distribution process. As a result of complicated interaction between the department stores, the wholesalers and the silk textile producers, the fashion creation and diffusion system was constructed.
The purpose of this article is to examine the business model of the mail order of the department store during the prewar period in Japan. With the maintenance of postal services, the major kimono retailers which were changing to department store began the mail order business in 1890-1900s. They considered it to be central means to go into the local market. It was intended for people of the wealthy groups and continued developing until the beginning in 1920s. The business model of it was characterized by a choosing agent. That is to say, a salesclerk of the mail order section considered an appointed price and a taste of each customer and chose goods in place of the customer. This model was obliged to be started because it took too much a cost to make the catalogue which contained all items. It was a cause to raise the cost that Japanese consumption markets were various complicatedly. However, considering that people in the countryside did not have enough information about urban goods because of the undeveloped media, this model had convenience and rationality. For the purpose of choosing the suitable goods, the salesclerk sometimes went on a business trip to do sales and tried to grasp the characteristic of local markets and the taste of customers. In addition, each department store raised the brand image of the store by an advertisement and guaranteed returning or exchanging goods. After the latter half of 1920s, the sales of the mail order business did not expand because a popularization strategy did not succeed in contrast with store - based sales. The catalogue which contained all items was not made after all; consequently orders from the people of the middle groups, who got enough information from ladies' magazines and liked to choose goods by oneself, did not increase.
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the contents and significance of the regulations implemented by local governments prior to the enforcement of the initial commercial law in 1893, when Japanese corporations introduced the concept of limited liability, the fundamental characteristic of corporation law. Taking up the cases of Tokyo and Osaka as examples, this paper discusses how the regulations urged newly established corporations to complete their capitals. During the depression after 1882, not a few corporations went into bankruptcy and some of the promoters committed fraud. Under such circumstances, the judiciary denied the corporations' limited liability to protect creditors. This, however, had considerable adverse effects on the general stockholders who had extensively invested in the stock market. The governments of Tokyo and Osaka immediately implemented two measures to address this issue. First, they executed the inquiries into the properties of the promoters. This measure was expected to prevent the authorized initial stockholders from committing fraud, failing to pay the money for acquiring stocks, and committing embezzlement. In addition, the investigation into the promoters' properties eventually compelled them to make an initial payment to acquire the companies' stocks at the time of the formation of the companies. As a result, the companies' assets were secured. Such a practice was imperative in propagating the idea of the limited liability in general. The second measure was the instructions for the companies to amend their rules of operation. This regulation was to ensure that the rules conform to the fundamental provisions of a corporation, that is, the limited liability, the payment of stocks, and the organization of the corporation. This measure also had the effect to secure the assets of the corporations. In conclusion, the above-mentioned regulation eventually propagated the idea of the limited liability. This conclusion can be verified by the fact that the Tokyo Appellate Court, which had previously denied the limited liability of the stock companies, was forced to amend its ruling.