Country Girls and Communication among Competitors in the Japanese Cotton-Spinning Industry
This chapter focuses on unpublished documents from Kanegafuchi Boseki and Platt Brothers of Oldham. It uses unusually helpful materials from Dai Nihon Boseki Rengokai which, although familiar to Japanese scholars, have been largely unknown to others. The chapter documents the high female labor force turnover in the cotton textile industry throughout the period prior to the Pacific War. It tests the hypothesis that there was little benefit to the industry from a more experienced work force. Econometric evidence indicates a more experienced labor force contributed to the more efficient production of cotton textiles. The chapter attempts a reconciliation of the findings. Japan's distinctive homogeneity of technical practice among its cotton-spinning mills apparently well explains the equally distinctive transience of its cotton textile labor force. Intensive communication among firms led to a not-surprising homogeneity of practice.