- 歴史と経済 (ISSN:13479660)
- vol.51, no.2, pp.1-17, 2009-01-30 (Released:2017-08-30)
The purpose of this article is to clarify the actions of the South Manchuria Railways Company (SMR) and its shareholders during the period of the 1933 SMR stock issue, using documents from the closed institutional records of its Tokyo branch. My interest in this issue is to establish how the SMR achieved this capital increase from private sector shareholders and investors in general, given the turbulent business environment resulting from the Manchurian Incident and the resulting increased scrutiny of the SMR itself. At the same time, I consider the significance of changes in the shareholder body during the take-up period by examining the reorganization of the SMR. In summary, this article establishes the following four points. First, bids for the newly-issued common stock were distributed approximately into two groups, the majority of bids clustering around the 53 yen mark, below the lower price of the offering. The record of the public offering shows that while some general investors were enthusiastic during the "Manchuria boom," others demonstrated a rather more cool attitude. Second, after the new stock came into circulation, it was rural shareholders who took up new and outstanding stock sold off by urban shareholders in areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, Kanagawa and Hyogo prefectures. The proportion of stock held by rural shareholders increased, and the number of shareholders also showed a greater rate of increase in rural areas than in urban. Throughout the take-up period, the relative importance of rural shareholders increased within the SMR shareholder body. Third, the sale of SMR stock by urban shareholders was triggered by political intervention in the SMR from the period of the Manchurian Incident to the time of the stock issue and the resulting management uncertainty and poor outlook. On the other hand, the reason that rural shareholders bought up the stock was that within the context of a widening loss of confidence in regional banks, an improved "environment for investment" brought about the stable circulation of reliable SMR stock which was seen as a haven for investment Finally, the transformed shareholder body successfully demanded the restructuring of the SMR to ensure the recovery of the share price and the payment of dividends Within the context of an increase of issued stock and diversification of the body of shareholders, the SMR could not ignore the specific demands of a large body of shareholders, numbering some tens of thousands of registered individuals, and as such it may be said that the shareholder body was able to exert a form of "governance" over the SMR.