- 歴史と経済 (ISSN:13479660)
- vol.47, no.3, pp.37-55, 2005-04-30 (Released:2017-08-30)
Enterprises owned and managed by Korean-Japanese, who constitute the largest ethnic minority in Japanese society, have tended to focus their business activities in certain specific industries. This paper examines the inter and intra-industry dynamics behind the concentration of their economic domains. In particular, I clarify the historical reasons for the considerable entry of ethnic Korean-owned firms into the Nishijin kimono manufacturing in Kyoto, which is considered one of the symbolic businesses of traditional Japanese beauty. I then investigate the economic and social mechanisms through which Korean businesses, such as those in Kyoto, have transferred their resources from declining industries to growing ones. After World War II, Korean businesses entered the Kyoto textile industry by utilizing resources that they had accumulated within their ethnic community. The community functioned as a facilitator of business opportunities, through informal information networks. Once the enterprises were established, however, they did not maintain any special relationships among themselves, and they actually competed against each other, while they conducted regular transactions with the mainstream Japanese business community. Each firm nurtured its own competitiveness, and consequently they each exhibited different rates of growth and profitability. The ethnic networks, however, initially played a significant role in directing the entry of ethnic Koreans into certain industries. Moreover, the same mechanism played a role in the expeditious exit of those textile companies from their declining businesses. Once again, ethnic information networks facilitated the shift of economic activities, this time towards the pinball amusement industry, which has become the most representative industry of ethnic Koreans in Japan to this day. In sum, the ethnic community acted as an active agent which made the barriers of entry, exit, and mobility between industries much lower for the ethnic Korean community in Japan.