Expansion and Transformation of the Export-Oriented Silk Weaving District: The Case of Fukui in Japan from 1890 to 1919
The development of the Fukui silk weaving district was curious because it became the largest industrial district of habutae, or plain silk, fabric production in Japan within a decade after it began operations in the late 1880s. Initially, the production of habutae rapidly spread geographically from the capital city to surrounding areas in the same prefecture. Fukui introduced power looms beginning in the mid-1900s, which was the earliest among Japan fs silk weaving districts. Production was first dominated by small family firms, but later by factories employing 10 or more workers. Interestingly, Fukui fs emphasis on weaving habutae gradually shifted, and a range of more sophisticated products emerged during the later stages of the silk industry fs development in the district. This study attempts to explore the causes of the rapid expansion and transformation of the Fukui silk weaving district and the effects on the size, location, structure, and labour productivity of weaving firms.
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