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"The New Development of Dispersed Production System: A Case from the Japanese Toy Industry in the Inter-war Period" (in Japanese)


  • Masayuki Tanimoto

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)


This paper explores Japan's pre-war industrialization from the viewpoint of small- scale businesses. A typical case can be seen in the development of rural weaving industry before the World War I. There functioned the production form besides factory such as putting-out system based on the peasant's sideline work. After the World War I, however, putting-out system in the weaving industry rapidly gave way to factory system that equipped the power looms. Contrastively, the industrial development in large cities, especially in Tokyo during the Inter-war period, entailed the increase of newly formed petty and small workshops. There functioned the production system based on the complex transaction of merchants, factories, small workshops and domestic works. Toy manufacturing, which developed as an export industry in the Inter-war Tokyo, was one of the typical industries based on that production system. As the urban area lacked the peasants and the intimate communities, urban small businesses stood on the different foundations. The skill was trained in the quasi-apprentice system where juvenile workers experienced a sort of on the job training. Based on this skill formation, not a few employees set up their own businesses and competed even with the wholesalers. Their activities were supported by the positive externality of the cluster. The formal and informal institutions played significant roles to prevent the transactions from disorder. The role of production organizer that combined the function of the merchant was also important. The combination of the merchant and the household economy, together with the social and institutional basis, promoted an industrialization based on the small businesses.

Suggested Citation

  • Masayuki Tanimoto, 2005. ""The New Development of Dispersed Production System: A Case from the Japanese Toy Industry in the Inter-war Period" (in Japanese)," CIRJE J-Series CIRJE-J-125, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:jseres:2005cj125

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