ABSTRACT

Westerners performed functions essential to the growth of the Japanese economy. Until the end of the nineteenth century they retained preeminence in those spheres, and it was not until after the First World War that their r6le became a subordinate one. In manufacturing industry, however, the history of Western enterprise was quite different. Although in the decades that immediately followed the opening of the country, Western advisers and experts had an important influence on the country's industrial evolution, and although the commercial intercourse which the foreign merchants made possible had profound indirect effects on industrial production, instances of Western industrial enterprise as such were very few. Indeed, direct participation by Western firms in Japan's industrial expansion, though always limited to a small number of industries, was considerably more important in the twentieth century, especially after the First World War, than at any time during the nineteenth century. It might have been thought that Western industrial entrepreneurship would have found ample scope in a country where the Government was deliberately fostering industrialisation, but where the business classes had at first but small acquaintance with modern methods of organisation. That this was not so needs explanation.