The purpose of this article is to determine how and why Mitsui & Co. abolished the comprador system at its Shanghai branch. We investigated the case of Mitsui & Co. because it is the oldest and biggest general trading company (GTC), and it has increased its Chinese branches in the years straddling the 1900s. We focus on Mitsui & Co.'s Shanghai branch because it was the first Chinese branch for Mitsui & Co., and it served as the headquarters for its Chinese branches. Mitsui & Co.'s Shanghai branch abolished the comprador system in 1899. This was a precedent for the other Chinese branches of Mitsui & Co. and other companies, for example, other Japanese and German trading companies. We illustrate three reasons for the abolishment of the comprador system at Mitsui & Co.'s Shanghai branch. The first reason was Mitsui & Co.'s comprador himself. The comprador had a distinctive character. He drew salary as an employee, earned commission as an agent, and had a group of staffs. A typical comprador has the character of an employee and an agent and a group of staffs. The second reason was the influence of the off-the-job training (off-JT) program. The overseas off-JT program was launched in April 1898 and January 1899. Preceding studies advocate that the off-JT program undermined Mitsui & Co.'s comprador system. However, Mitsui & Co. abolished the comprador system in July 1899 at its Shanghai branch; thus, the trainees employed thereafter were on training and not on the job. The third reason was the human resource practices of Mitsui & Co. Employees that they cultivated during their professional practice in Mitsui & Co. and went on to become managers to deal with some goods in 1899. Mitsui & Co. cut down costs on the salary and commissions provided to the comprador, increased its trading partners, and adopted a long-term marketing strategy because of the abolishment of the comprador system.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the management and governance of a joint-stock company in Japan in the 1910s, focusing on the case of the Tone Electric Power Company. The Tone Electric Power Company was established in 1909, whose supply area was assumed to be Gunma prefecture at first. However, through mergers and acquisitions of electricity companies in the neighborhood, it grew up to be a big business beyond a regional company, covering four prefectures as the supply area. Tone Electric Power's history is a good case for investigating the evolution of management and governance in a Japanese regional company. In the governance of the Tone Electric Power Company, the large stockholders basically played a central role, and in this sense, the corporate governance structure was close to the classic shareholders sovereignty. However, it is notable that the shareholders were not monolithic and each large shareholder acted for his own interest. And in this situation, the employed manager, Sozo Osawa, gradually got power and became relatively independent from the shareholders. This fact suggests that the governance structure of the Tone Electric Power was in transition from the classic one in the 1910s.
This article analyzes the basic characteristic of the investment in Korean railways, centering on a relationship between the colonial Government and the investors. We deal with the case of a merger with six railway companies in 1923 as an example. In Korea in the era of colonization, a lot of railway companies were established in 1918-20. But, after the crisis of the postwar period, they could not make profits on their business. The Government had given the railway companies protections and aids to encourage establishing a network of railways, and railway companies, given the Government grants, could keep paying dividends. Early 1920s, the railway companies had difficulties of their business, and their investors were made fluctuated. The government enacted the Private Railway Aid Act to calm down the investors. On the other hand, railway companies bargained about merger as a means of breaking difficulties of their business. Although the Government, at first, opposed it, under the curtailed budget, it became to back up the merger. The railway company which was merged with six companies in 1923, wanted the Government to take burdens to break its difficulties. Kaichi Watanabe who was the president—director of the company, urged that the Government should set up the big project including buying out the lines of the railway companies. He tried to make its difficulties broken by the nationalization of the lines. The Government needed private companies to build a part of railways network. The investors wanted colonial government to take burdens in order to break difficulties of their business. Thus, there was a relationship between colonial government and investors, which restricted each other. While the Government should secure the investments in railways, the investors could parasitize on the Government budget in this scheme.