The Meiji (1868〜1912) and Taisho (1912〜1923) eras saw rapid growth in porcelain production in Japan. This was achieved in two ways: through an increase in factory size, and through an increase in the number of small-scale business concerns. It is on the second pattern that this paper will focus. In addition to inheritance, the increase in small-scale concerns was mainly caused by skilled workers' becoming independent. These skilled workers tended to come from areas around porcelain-producing districts, and to have started work at a relatively young age. However, there is no clear link with the type of factory where they had been employed. Conditions in the porcelain industry in the Tono area helped such workers. First, it was possible to obtain an advance of money from wholesale merchants. This has been seen as a form of extortion in previous research, but in this paper a more positive assessment will be made. Second, it was possible to postpone complete independence, and start with involvement in subcontracting or peripheral industries. Third, a worker of superior skills might be able to marry the daughter of his employer and set up a branch business, as a sub-type of the succession system.
|Translated title of the contribution||Small-scale business in the porcelain industry of modern Japan: a case study of the Tono area|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - May 2003|