- 歴史と経済 (ISSN:13479660)
- vol.52, no.4, pp.1-15, 2010
The purpose of this paper is to examine the distribution process in place between modern Japan and colonial Taiwan during the interwar period, and to position the activities of the main economic actors in response to the actions of the government as commodity regulator. Specifically, I focus on changes among export brokers from the 1920s to the 1930s. In doing so, I pay attention to the actions of economic actors in response to changes in the external environment, and consider the quantitative and qualitative state of the process of commodity distribution that emerges as a result of my analysis of changes in the trading system. The following findings emerge from this analysis. The expansion of Taiwan rice shipments to Japan following the appearance of horaimai in 1922 was supported by a speculative trading system based on a mixed storage system, and the rice accommodation system made possible by the Yamashita Kisen issue of bills of lading. As a result, a large number of Taiwanese export brokers expanded their business operations and increased market share. However, the aim of these transactions was only to preserve export quantity and did not stimulate the export brokers to improve export quality. Although the amendment of the Taiwan rice inspection law in 1926 aimed to improve the domestic market reputation of Taiwan rice, strict inspections acted to regulate the quantity of rice shipped and provoked excessive competition among export brokers, resulting in a fall in profitability. This aggravation of trading conditions made it difficult for export brokers to continue business and they had no option but to withdraw from the market. On the other hand, I also show that Japanese exporters facing the same risks dealt positively with these changes in the trading environment by acting to improve quality, such as by the introduction of rubber roll rice hullers. Additionally, I show that although Mitsui Bussan, Mitsubishi Shoji, Sugihara Shoten, and Kato Shokai engaged in intense competition at the beginning of the 1930s, such activity was funded by rebates from shipping companies that profited from the rice trade. That is, I conclude that the change in major actors in the Taiwan rice export trade was due to structural change in the distribution process, the main factors of which were the trading and distribution systems.