II . Outcome of the Study Groups - Summary



1. The modernization of the Japanese diet -- Tsutomu Otsuka
2. The modernization of the flour milling and food oil industries -- Yoshifumi Sasama
3. Beginning of the apparel industry -- Shozo Nakagome

Otsuka's paper explains that the Japanese diet of rice as the staple along with miso soup and pickles has been unchanged since the Kamakura period, the twelfth century, when miso soup emerged. A technique to "cook delicious rice" evolved because of the emphasis placed on the delicate flavour of cooked rice. The important factors for the rice-cooking technique have been the amount of water used, intensity of the fire, and the utensils used (pot and rice tub), which were developments unique to Japan.

Although the mess tin and steam cooker were developed for military use during the Meiji period, the rice-cooking technique itself remained unchanged. Company-provided meals, which became popular along with industrialization, kept this diet without change. Army meals consisted of the same diet.

The modernization of the Japanese diet and the development of the food industry had to wait until after the Second World War, not only when the full-scale provision of group meals became available and quantity cooking technology was developed due to the introduction of Western-style side dishes, but also when ready-made foods became prevalent.

In Sasama's paper, it is pointed out that, prior to the introduction of modern milling, flour was manufactured by the stone mill with the use of hydropower and wind. At this stage there was no basic different among the milling technologies found in various parts of the world. As a result of the significance of milling which was pointed out by the delegation to Europe and the United States in the early Meiji, the government introduced a new modelled stone mill from the United States for development in Hokkaido (1871) and its power source was transformed from the water wheel to the steam engine in 1876.

In the private sector, a businessman named Keijiro Amemiya ran a small factory in 1880 with two steam-powered stone mills made in the United States, and in 1896 he introduced four roller mills which produced high quality flour. Even though the installation of the machines was done by referring to photographs and sketches sent from the United States without the aid of any foreign engineers, they were successfully put into operation. In the countryside, Teiichiro Shoda of Gumma introduced a roller mill in 1900. Shoda studied the catalogue and technical books in English on his own and installed the machine by himself. On the other hand, because the flour import duty which used to be free was gradually increased to up to 34 per cent by the government in order to offset expenses entailed by the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the roller mill industry made rapid progress in various parts of Japan such as in Utsunomiya, Kumagaya, and Nagasaki, which introduced the roller mill at an early stage.

Although Japan had a long history of food oil manufacturing, the production method remained at the hand-presser stage with tatsuki pressers (wooden pillar type) and tamajime pressers (oil extraction by hydraulic power created by the pressure of a big rock). Traditional oil mills mostly produced vegetable oils such as sesame oil for eating and rapeseed oil for illumination. In view of the fact that the use of edible oil was extremely limited in the relatively poor diet system, the oil manufacturing industry hardly felt any pressure from the imported vegetable oil market even after the Meiji period.

It was around the time of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) that the oil manufacturing industry acquired the technology from advanced countries to modernize production. For example, although the Yokkaichi Oil Mill installed a most superior machine equipped with a hydraulic presser in 1881, its management failed because the company was defeated in the competition with conventional sesame oil manufacturing, which was produced as a sideline by farmers.

After the Russo-Japanese War, attention was given to the effective utilization of soy beans, a speciality of Manchuria. Regarding soy bean production, the strained draff obtained after oil extraction was so valuable as a fertilizer that the soy bean oil extraction industry was in effect one and the same as the fertilizer industry. Soy bean oil production relied upon either the "screw press method" or the "solvent extraction method" introduced from abroad. However, because the processing cost of the latter was half that of the former, the key factors in the development of soy bean oil manufacturing depended upon the superiority of the solvent extraction method as well as the acquisition and expansion of the edible oil market and the soy bean draff market. The oil production department of Suzuki and Co. (which later became the Honen Oil Company) satisfied the two conditions cited above and they constructed an oil mill in 1917. However, the noteworthy point here is the fact that because all the machinery was produced either in Japan or Manchuria, the construction cost was half as expensive as if foreign machinery had been imported.

As described by Nakagome's paper, it was after the opening of Japan's ports in 1859 that Western tailoring and dressmaking technology was transferred to Japan, and dressmakers were trained to satisfy the demand of the Westerners who moved into the settlements. This was the case because Western clothing required more advanced sewing skills (especially in the cutting techniques) than Japanese clothing. This paper gives a detailed explanation of a case in which a foreign woman with excellent dressmaking skills who resided in a settlement taught a Japanese tabi maker, and of a case where Japanese artisans employed by a foreign trading house in the settlement acquired the tailoring technology for men's clothing. This was the manner in which Western tailoring and dressmaking technology was transmitted to the Japanese even before the Meiji Restoration, and by the early Meiji a clothing shop for high-ranking government officials and for the well-to-do was opened on the Ginza in Tokyo.

The new Meiji government decreed that the clothing for civil servants and high-ranking officials should be Western clothing and that the government-provided uniforms for the police, state-run enterprises, and the military should be Western styled. Although the demand for Western clothing was mostly limited to men's clothing, the dressmaking technology was completely mastered by Japanese makers because Western dressmaking schools were opened in Tokyo and Osaka by the time the number of Western clothing shops was on the increase.

However, Western clothing worn by the average people of that time tended to be the "long mantle" made of imported woollen cloth; this was the forerunner of ready-made clothing. What is important here is the fact that the first distribution channel of such ready-made Western clothing was the second-hand clothes market which had been in existence over three hundred years since the beginning of the Tokugawa period. It was after the Russo-Japanese War that ready-made men's suits and overcoats appeared on the market and the full-scale development of the apparel industry came about after the Second World War.