By Kevin C. Murphy
American retailers proven buying and selling companies within the ports of Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki which operated from 1859-1899 until eventually the repeal of the Unequal Treaties. participants of a privileged, semi-colonial neighborhood, the retailers shaped the most important workforce of usa citizens in nineteenth century Japan. during this first book-length therapy of this crew, Kevin Murphy explores their interactions with the japanese within the treaty port procedure, how the japanese management manipulated them to its personal ends, and the way the retailers themselves outlined the constraints of yankee enterprise in Japan via their ambiguous yet deep trouble with order and chance, restraint and dominance, and conservatism and dominance.
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Few must have come across the Pacific to indulge a love of nature or of the wilderness, so we are left primarily with the economic motivation. II By 1869, in accordance with the treaties, a total of seven foreign settlements were open. Of the seven, only Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki thrived; the others failed for various reasons. The decline of Hakodate, opened initially to serve the needs of the whaling ships, reflected the decreasing importance of that industry in the years after 1860. It was too far north to be of service on the trade routes and soon the port had no purpose.
The right to reside, divorced from the right to trade, was of limited value to any foreign merchant. 22 Western residents in Osaka and Tokyo blended with the dominant societies of Kobe and Yokohama. The Western intrusion presented the Japanese with two alternatives: driving out technologically superior foreigners, a course fraught with obvious danger, or granting the concessions demanded and carefully isolating foreign merchants within the treaty ports to buy the time necessary to strengthen the nation sufficiently to meet the Western threat.
The first decade of Yokohama’s existence saw the sheer adventurer and the inadequately financed weeded out, leaving a substantial corps of firms stable and profitable enough to survive well into the 1890s. A survey of eight of the most prominent American firms in the ports suggests some significant patterns. Six of the companies remained in business for twenty-four years or longer, while the other two operated for at least twelve years. The firms’ size remained fairly uniform. 2. Smith, Baker and Company retained three key employees for a minimum of twenty-four years, and each of the other five longest-lived firms FROM FRENZY TO INSECURITY 37 Table 3 Numbers of firms and employees clearly identifiable as American retained at least one key man for as long.
American Merchant Experience in 19th Century Japan by Kevin C. Murphy