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Sugiyama, Shinya (1981) Japan's Export Trade, 1859-1899, With Special Reference to Silk, Tea and Coal. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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My intention is to contribute to an understanding of Japan's economic development in the context of changes in the world economic structure during the second half of the nineteenth century, and to clarify the role of exports of primary products in industrialization. I focus on Japan's export trade with reference to her three main export articles of raw silk, tea and coal, which played a strategic role as the main source of finance for her industrialization. I have reviewed the interrelationship between the overseas market and the development of these export industries, in both its quantitative and qualitative aspects, examining in particular the question of international competitiveness. Exports of raw silk and tea, which were products of traditional industries, developed in connection with the European and American markets, where they competed with Chinese products; coal was developed as a modern industry by the Zaibatsu for the Asian market, and sold in competition with exports from Britain and Australia. The development of these industries was encouraged by various forms of institutional support from the Meiji government. I conclude that success in exporting depended on the degree to which exports could compete in the overseas market. This in turn basically depended on factors of quality, supply and price. In the case of silk and coal, Japan was able to increase exports through adjustment to overseas demand, mainly adjustments in production costs and technology. She was aided by favourable international economic factors such as the depreciation in the value of silver. Tea provides a contrasting example of a case where Japan failed to maintain competitiveness, due to unfavourable market conditions. Primary material has come mainly from British and United States consular reports, the Jardine Matheson Archive, papers in the Public Record Office, Japanese and Chinese records, and official statistics.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

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