During the period of industrialisation in Japan from the 1870s to the 1930s, the textile industry was Japan's largest manufacturing industry, and the country's major source of export earnings. It had a predominantly female labour force, drawn mainly from the agricultural population.
This book examines the institutions of the labour market of this critical industry during this important period for Japanese economic development. Based on extensive original research, the book provides a wealth of detail, showing amongst other things the complexity of the labour market, the interdependence of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, and the importance of gender. It argues that the labour market institutions which developed in this period had a profound effect on the labour market and labour relations in the postwar years.
'Janet Hunter's numerous articles on the textile industry and its female workers have, since the 1980s offered tantalizing hints of the issues shes develops in this fine monograph, which will be the standard treatment of the Japanese textile industry and its workers for years to come. Hunter leaves no stone unturned , and even those topics that she claims to set aside for other studies benefit from her keen analysis.' - Monumenta Nipponica
1. Introduction: Textile Workers and Japanese Industrialisation 2. The Rural Connection: Growth, Distribution and Gender 3. The Growth of the Mechanised Textile Industries in Prewar Japan 4. Rural Origins 5. The Making of Textile Workers 6. The Institutions of Wage Payment 7. Changing the Rules of the Game: the Role of the Government 8. Collusion and Collaboration: Collective Action by Employers and Employees 9. Textile Work, Families and Villages 10. A Summing Up