幕末、明治初期における生糸輸出の数量的再検討 : ロンドン・リヨン市場の動向と外商 [in Japanese] Quantitative Review on Japan's Raw Silk Exports from 1859 to the Mid- 1870s [in Japanese]
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Raw silk was the most important export article from Japan during the Process of industrialization. The development of the silk reeling industry in Japan was accelerated by the continuous increase in demand for Japanese silk overseas after the opening of the ports in 1859. It has been insisted in earlier studies, firstly, that the rapid increase of raw silk exports from Japan, mostly from Yokohama, was mainly due to its good quality and cheap price and secondly, therefore, that western merchants who dealt exclusively with raw silk exports enjoyed an enormous profit in the transaction owing to the difference in prices between Yokohama and the international markets (London and Lyons). I intend in this article to review quantitatively these discussions on Japan's raw silk exports from 1859 to the mid-1870's with special reference to the London and Lyons markets where Japanese raw silk was transported, using mainly British Consular Reports and the Jardine Matheson Archive. London was the distribution centre of the world silk trade in the middle of the 19th century. In the early 1860's Japanese raw silk was exported to Britain via Shanghai. After the opening of regular services to Yokohama by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1864 and Messageries Imperiales in 1865, direct shipments to Britain and France increased. Though the shipments to Marseiles increased especially after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, London remained the central the market of the world silk trade until 1880. Before Japanese silk was imported to Britain in 1859, Chinese silk took a share of 70-80 per cent of Britain's total raw silk imports and established a predominant position in the London silk market. Japanese silk was first welcomed with enthusiasm and its imports increased to 2,294 thousand lbs. in 1863, or 27 per cent of Britain's raw silk imports. However, the quality of Japanese silk deteriorated in the following years and its imports were continuously stagnant partly because of the deterioration in quality and partly of the increase in imports of Chinese silk. The price of Japanese silk both on the London and Lyons markets had been continuously high during this period. In both quality and price, Japanese silk remained in keen competition with Italian, Chinese and Bengal silk, and, though its quality was comparatively better than Chinese and Bengal silk, the possibility of expanding its market was restricted due to the stagnation of the domestic raw silk production and the decline in quality. The second discussion concerning the difference in prices turns to the miscalculation of the exchange rates. Reviewing carefully prices in Yokohama, London and Lyons, the price in Yokohama was about 83 per cent on average of the prices in London and Lyons, which was quite reasonable, if freight, insurance and other expenses were included. It is necessary to pursue a detailed study on the operations of western merchants in Japan.
- SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORY
SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORY 45(3), 262-289,355-35, 1979
THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORY SOCIETY