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Organising Japan's national railroad, 1906-1914.

In 1987 the Japanese government completed the privatisation of the venerable Japan National Railways (JNR) system. The break-up of JNR occurred amidst global enthusiasm for privatisation that affected a wide range of industries in dozens of countries. (1) Policy makers in Japan and elsewhere embraced privatisation in an effort to improve efficiency and productivity, expand market access and opportunity and, more generally, foster economic growth and development. Eighty years earlier many Japanese commentators and political leaders made many of the same arguments to support nationalisation of the nation's various railway properties. The result was the new Government Railways (GR) system, precursor to the post-World War II JNR. Many identified nationalisation as an important part of the solution to a variety of structural problems and as a tool in fostering economic strength and well-being in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Just as Japanese railway privatisation took place amidst a global flurry of denationalisation initiatives, the push toward nationalisation was also part of broader trend of industrial consolidation and widespread railway nationalisation. Japanese nationalisation supporters took particular note of Prussian State railway organisation in 1879. After all, Prussia had been influential in so many areas of Japanese public life, including military organisation and constitutional governance itself. But other advanced nations had moved toward nationalisation even more recently. France pursued partial nationalisation in the first decade of the twentieth century, while Switzerland had nationalised its railways in 1898 and in 1905 Italy created the first nationwide State-controlled rail system. (2) Even in the United States, which had been largely immune to statist economic policies, there were many who decried ruinous railway competition, ineffective regulation, and ceaseless litigation and, accordingly, sought varying forms of railway nationalisation to cope with these problems. (3) The idea that railways were not ordinary objects of private investment but were instead public utilities best managed and controlled publicly was a widely accepted notion. (4)

Besides nationalisation, Western Europe and the United States both experienced a wave of private-sector mergers in the decades around the beginning of the twentieth century that resulted in new and unprecedented levels of industrial concentration. (5) Japanese industry too pushed toward consolidation in sectors from banking to machine tools and the newly created GR was yet another, different form of economic consolidation and concentration.


This article considers the character and implications of Japan's railway nationalisation. It shows how State leaders managed the de facto merger of numerous State and private railway properties in the transition to a national rail system. That is, it suggests that nationalisation was not only a political project as it is often portrayed but that it also represented a management project in which the goal was to merge numerous public and private rail lines to create a successful, dramatically enlarged enterprise. In the effort to meet this goal, railway leaders helped create part of the critical national infrastructure fostering a national market system and the growth of large-scale industrial development in the 1910s and beyond.

Nationalising railways

GR was the result of legislation passed by the Diet, the country's national parliament, in 1906. But State development of railways had begun much earlier. (6) In 1872, a scant four years after the creation of the country's new, modern political order, the first rail line commenced operation between the new capital in Tokyo and the port of Yokohama. The government Ministry of Public Works (Kobusho) led construction and operation of this first line and continued to oversee railway operations throughout the decade. In 1881 the private Nippon Railway Company (Nippon tetsudo) obtained authorisation to operate a new line from Tokyo to north-eastern Japan. Over the 1880s other private lines launched operations and by the end of the decade Japan's rail network had grown to include government and private lines that together operated more than 1,500 km of track. (7) Like nearly all continental European rail systems, therefore, Japan's was a mixed public/private system. Also, like their European counterparts, the State intervened directly in railway operations and management in this period. The various private railways depended heavily on government railway engineers for technical assistance in areas as varied as line construction and train driving while also receiving irregular subventions and direct State subsidies. They could hardly be considered to have been wholly independent. (8) The State retained, as a result, a substantial interest in railways. This continuing interest was less a result of cultural or statist dispositions than a consequence of the ongoing relationship between public and private railways along with the persistent military perception of a national rail system as a critical strategic asset.

Starting in 1890 with the end of the first private railway construction boom, the industry was subject to a wave of mergers and consolidations. From the national financial panic in 1896-97 to nationalisation a decade later, fourteen separate mergers involving significant railway properties had taken place. In those nine years the number of private rail companies declined from sixty-six to thirty-nine. Government Railways officials, many of whom had advocated a unitary national system from the 1870s, pushed even more aggressively as the number of private firms declined. By 1904 and the onset of the Russo-Japanese War military leaders too, even more insistently, urged the creation of a genuinely national system. Legislation to create such a system passed in the Diet in March 1906. The law mandated State acquisition of seventeen of the most significant remaining private companies. Acquired with State bonds, the seventeen railways were absorbed into the new, dramatically enlarged GR system by the end of 1907. When completed the new GR had suddenly expanded from around 30 per cent of total rail trackage before nationalisation to about 90 per cent after. More important, it controlled all major trunk lines, with the remaining private companies confined to small local and branch lines. (9)

The meaning of railway nationalisation has been subject to considerable debate. One line of argument focuses on the leadership of a class of technocratic elites. To some, these individuals were 'progressive bureaucrats' who effectively mobilised State resources for the achievement of national unity and economic growth. (10) Others see these officials less as progressive than as intrusive. Toshiharu Watarai, for example, argues that railway nationalisation along with such acts as the establishment of the Tobacco Monopoly or a State-controlled steel plant were part of a broader pattern of expanding State control over the economy. In this view Watarai echoes contemporary Mitsubishi Industries director Shoda Heigoro, who saw nationalisation as part of a pernicious trend of industrial bureaucratism (kangyoshugi). (11) Even stronger critiques of nationalisation have been made by Japanese Marxist scholars who describe the creation of GR as a critical act in solidifying State monopoly capitalism. (12) Oshima Fujitaro, for example, described nationalisation as a product of the absolutist tendency (zettaishugi no keiko) of the semi-feudal Japanese state. Therefore, GR both derived from and was implicated in the growth of Japanese militarism and its push toward the creation of empire in Korea and elsewhere. (13) Finally, other scholars have focused on GR as a product of a loose and shifting alliance of State bureaucrats--civilian and military--and industrial leaders acting on behalf of what has been called the 'developmental state'. (14) Studies by Steven Ericson and Nakamura Naofumi, for example, see railway development and nationalisation as products of negotiation between State and local government agencies and varieties of public and private interest groups throughout society. (15) Ultimately these negotiations served statist developmental goals.

While certainly different these interpretations share at least two attributes. First, each evaluates Japanese railway nationalisation as a discrete, Japan-specific project centred on domestic concerns and locally specific conditions. By doing so these arguments elide the many contemporaneous nationalisation and consolidation projects taking place in industrial States everywhere. It would perhaps be more accurate to conceive of the Japanese case as a local variation of the global evolution of industrial development. A second attribute shared by existing interpretations is the emphasis on nationalisation as an overwhelmingly political project and the resultant GR as a political entity. Yet, while the new enlarged GR may have been destined to be controlled by government officials, it had to function, to a very substantial degree, in an economic realm. Like privatisation supporters eight decades after, the new GR leaders emphasised the need to overcome the inefficiencies and incoherence of the preceding system. To that end railway officials encouraged the embrace of a 'service ethic' (saabisushugi) to improve customer service and the creation of management programmes organised in a 'businesslike' (bijunesuraiku) manner in the hope of promoting financial stability and efficient operation. (16) To be sure, the new national system was an agency of the Japanese state but it was at the same time an economic institution functioning in a rapidly changing industrial economy.

The objectives of railway consolidation were varied and complex, with military and business leaders having very different priorities. Supporters, however, had several general organisational and operational goals for the new system. The first focused on unifying and co-ordinating the country's transport infrastructure by expanding and integrating the components of the formerly mixed rail network. Second, there was broad support for reducing passenger and freight transport rates as well as in bringing nationwide consistency to rate structures. Third, service improvement was regarded as linked with expanded operational efficiency and productivity enhancement. The goal of merging public and private railway lines to create GR, therefore, was to expand the system and the national market through service improvement and operational expansion.

To achieve this goal the most critical task for leaders of the new GR was the creation of systemwide integration and standardisation. Beginning with the passage of the Railway Construction Law of 1892 through the Railway Operations Law of 1900 government officials began to push to achieve standardisation throughout the system. From fixing the rail gauge at 3 ft 6 in. (1,067 mm) and the setting of minimum track curve radii to regularising station platform dimensions, the standardisation laws and regulations marked the beginning of efforts to construct a coherent, nationwide operational rail network. (17) Nevertheless, on the eve of nationalisation the seventeen absorbed companies still differed substantially from each other and from the existing government railway. Moreover, formerly overlapping competing systems led to the existence of parallel or redundant route structures, overlapping workshops and a proliferation of classes and models of locomotives. The leadership of the new railway organisation recognised from the outset the importance of integrating this new complex structure.

The integration problem is a critical challenge for any consolidation programme, public or private. There are three critical integration tasks: procedural integration, physical integration, and manage rial/cultural integration. (18) Procedural integration refers to the creation of a workable institutional structure for the new entity and the establishment of appropriate new systems for accounting and record keeping. Physical integration requires linking physical assets of the new enterprise, redeploying or liquidating redundant or unnecessary assets, and co-ordinating scheduling and marketing activities. Managerial/cultural integration involves organising new lines of authority, realigning personnel organisation, and establishing coherent work rules while at the same time establishing new strategic leadership and constructing a new, meaningful institutional/managerial culture. Even as the new GR hoped to improve service and enhance productivity, therefore, leaders felt compelled to create a coherent integrated institutional structure.

Procedural integration

Japan's pre-nationalisation government railway operations had been administered by the Works Division (Sagyo kyoku), a unit of the Ministry of Communications (Teishinsho) until March 1907. The Works Division had control over virtually all operational decision making systemwide. There were no regional sub-units and no substantive local autonomy in personnel, purchasing, or other operationally relevant matters. Nationalisation, however, prompted government leaders to experiment with a variety of new organisation structures and to initiate changes in ministerial links, reporting procedures, and system hierarchy.

The earliest effort at procedural integration was the creation of the Imperial Railway Agency (Teikoku tetsudocho), launched in April 1907. (19) In the directive creating the agency, Communications Minister Yamagata Isaburo asserted that the new unit would be critical to the fulfilment of nationalisation's goals and that it would serve as a critical step in the renovation of railway operation and organisation. (20) Despite this pronouncement, the Imperial Railway Agency and the system it managed were little changed from their predecessors. It remained a minor institutional office under Ministry of Communication jurisdiction. And, although it created new sub-units for operations on the islands of Hokkaido and Kyushu, operational decision making continued to be highly centralised, and little system co-ordination was undertaken during the agency's brief existence. In the end, the agency was a short-lived, transitional structure. Not long after the purchase of the last of the lines nationalised under the 1906 legislation, the Imperial Railway Agency was disbanded.

The key individual in the subsequent restructuring of railway organisation was the long-time social policy administrator Goto Shimpei. Goto had begun his government career in public health administration in the 1880s. In the twentieth century he administered Japanese interests in Taiwan and served as the first president of the South Manchurian Railway. In July 1908 he became Minister of Communications. In that capacity he developed a policy for management of the dramatically enlarged GR. His approach included a number of elements, including his belief that effective railway operations required more clearly developed lines of authority. Moreover, he said, managers needed more clearly defined responsibilities and the freedom to carry them out. Gotoo also called for a diminution of central decision making, devolving responsibility for day-to-day operations and local organisational matters to regional division-level managers. (21) The practical result of Goto's approach was the creation of the Railway Administration (Tetsudooin) in December 1908, of which Goto himself became the first president.

The Railway Administration represented a sharp departure from past railway management and organisation. Not least of the novelties was its removal from Ministry of Communications jurisdiction. Instead, the new Railway Administration was set up as an independent administrative body with its president having Cabinet-level rank. Since Goto already occupied a position in the Cabinet as Communications Minister, this provision had relatively little immediate importance. Nevertheless, it did elevate the importance of railway matters in Cabinet discussions and established its ministerial independence. As such the Railway Administration moved the national system in a new organisational direction and represented a precursor to the creation of a separate Ministry of Railways (Tetsudosho) in 1920.

Following up on Goto's intent to diminish central administrative control, the Railway Administration created five regionally distinct operational divisions. To the divisions in Hokkaido and Kyushu were added three additional divisions for eastern, central, and western (which included the island of Shikoku) Honshu. Most important, unlike conditions that prevailed during the preceding Imperial Railway Agency, each division was now given substantial local autonomy for personnel, purchasing, and specific local operations. Moreover, division heads reported direct to the president rather than lower-level officials. From the first, Goto argued that such a system would 'simplify and speed' decision making by smoothing the flow of information and ensuring responsibility and accountability for operational decisions and actions. (22) Yet in 1913 new Railway Administration president Tokonami Takejiro undertook efforts to limit this local autonomy. In the main, organisation structure and reporting requirements remained unchanged. Tokonami's principal interest was to expand central control over equipment and materiel purchasing. During his administration local divisions were also stripped of any substantive technical independence. Rather than being a radical departure from the approach to structural reorganisation pursued since 1907, however, Tokonami's policies continued efforts to integrate the system. By centralising purchasing and technical development he was seeking to move GR toward a more tightly co-ordinated and operationally efficient system. An additional, and not unwelcome, by-product of central purchasing control was the ability to support and encourage domestic production of railway rolling stock and other equipment. (23)

Like organisational structure, railway finance and accounting had been highly bureaucratic and centrally controlled prior to nationalisation. Prevailing accounting regulations required that railway operating revenue be included in general government accounts and, as a regular government agency, its operating budget depended wholly upon State-appropriated funds. Moreover, funds for construction and system upgrades required specific legislative appropriation. This effectively meant that national railway funding was held hostage to shifting political agendas and that other government functions including military demands could and did cut into operating funds. To make matters worse the competition between the military and the railway for funds took place amidst a pair of serious financial panics in 1897-98 and 1900-01 as well as the run-up to war with Russia in 1904. The result was that GR's new construction funds declined in the years following 1901. In a statement to the eighteenth Diet in 1903 the political party leader Hara Kei argued against existing railway funding procedures, saying long-standing plans for railway improvement and new construction were having to rely on an unstable funding base. On some occasions work had to be postponed because of the lack of public appropriations. On others, funds were appropriated but were inadequate, with the result that essential work was left unfinished or completed in a makeshift manner. For these reasons, railway construction and improvement, tasks that are crucial to national development, were undertaken only partially and with the greatest difficulty. (24)

Although Hara emphasised the macroeconomic advantages of stable railway funding, historians have focused instead on Hara's railway development policy as an effort to expand local party reform programmes. In short, they regard his interest as first and foremost an instance of pork-barrel politics. (25) Whatever Hara's motivation, his party submitted legislation in 1903 that sought to alter railway funding by linking it more directly with operating revenue. With the onset of the Russo-Japanese War, however, the legislation was set aside.

In 1909, following nationalisation and the creation of the new Railway Administration, the Diet passed legislation that generally met Hara's earlier goal of loosening railway financing. Article 1 of the Imperial Railway Accounting Law authorised the railway to retain revenues and determine new construction and system improvements on the basis of internally derived funds. At the same time, article 2 of the law also allowed the railway to seek government subvention or to float loans to make up shortfalls or if required to fund essential construction or system upgrades. (26) An important result of the legislation was that because of the high initial cost of financing nationalisation itself along with resources needed to finance ambitious construction and improvement programmes, railway financing began to run a deficit by 1914 and the organisation required regular infusions of short-term financing thereafter. (27) This became one of the main problems that ultimately crippled the system. Yet, at the same time, it is also true that the legislation lessened the railway's need to compete for funds and ushered in an era of substantially pay-as-you-go operations. This change made it possible, and indeed encouraged GR, to try to benefit from efforts to improve efficiency and output. And, at least in the short term, the new accounting system stabilised and consolidated railway financing.

Physical integration

With the consolidation of eighteen separate systems in 1907 the new GR faced the substantial challenge of linking and co-ordinating its newly acquired assets. While developing new organisational structures represented a critical task for the system, integrating its varied physical assets and having them work together to enhance railway economies seemed an even more immediate requirement. Redundancy was among the most obvious issues. Overlapping route structures led quickly to track abandonment and the elimination of duplicative passenger and freight facilities. A perhaps less consequential, but nevertheless symbolically significant, redundancy matter was the existence of one or more passenger stations from the old firms that shared station names. The names of many were simply changed. In many other cases the old province (kuni) name was attached to one or more of the other stations to distinguish them. So Wakamatsu station in Fukushima prefecture, for example, became Aizu-Wakamatsu to distinguish it from the more prominent Wakamatsu in Kyushu, and Nagaoka in Niigata prefecture retained its simple name while the much smaller Nagaoka in Shiga prefecture saw its station renamed Aomi-Nagaoka. (28)

A more formidable redundancy problem, and one more representative of the physical integration challenge facing the new GR, was the (reconfiguration of the constellation of workshop complexes it had already operated and those newly obtained with nationalisation. All of the acquired private railways as well as the old government railway operated their own workshops for locomotive and general rolling stock production, maintenance, and repair. With nationalisation the new GR was in possession of twenty-two workshop properties, many in clearly overlapping territories. In the Tokyo area, for example, the GR shop in Shimbashi was now part of the same system as the large nearby Omiya shop of the old private Nippon Railway Company. The Kobe, Hyogo, and Takatori shops, formerly properties of three separate private systems, shared the same territory in central Japan's Kansai region. Over the next several years numerous shops were closed, including the Kobe shop as well as the workshops in Hyogo, Hiroshima, and Nagaoka. In the same period the Railway Administration opened several new facilities while the others were being closed. In 1912, for example, the large Hamamatsu shop complex in Shizuoka prefecture, first planned in 1908, opened on the GR main line between Tokyo and Nagoya. A new shop also opened in the important Japan Sea coast city of Kanazawa. Workers in these and other newly opened shops were overwhelmingly transfers from shops closing elsewhere or were workers deemed redundant in other locations in the system. As a result, each new shop began operations with a skilled work force capable of the heavy locomotive overhauls they had been designed to provide. (29) This shifting shop experience was replicated throughout the system as assets were disposed of, transferred, or reorganised.

The pre-nationalisation government and private railway shops had acquired increasing skill in rolling stock production. Nevertheless, virtually all motive power had been purchased from many different foreign producers. (30) The newly created GR acquired as many as 177 different locomotive types from the seventeen purchased lines. Unsurprisingly, as it sought to integrate its new assets GR also set out to streamline the jumble of locomotive types and standardise new locomotive designs and purchasing procedures. In 1909 the Railway Administration shifted locomotive production from its own shops to four main designated private producers and declared in 1912 that it would thenceforth purchase only domestically produced locomotives. The private producers did not merely offer products for sale: Railway Administration engineers instead provided specification guidance, design advice, and production assistance to the designated private firms. (31) At the same time, the government imposed sharp increases in tariffs on imported locomotives and locomotive parts in the hope of nurturing the emerging industry. Standardisation of locomotive type and purchasing fostered import substitution even as it promoted efficiencies in the designated private firms and in Railway Administration shops.

The overall fleet of rolling stock grew dramatically in the years immediately following nationalisation. The number of locomotives increased by more than 30 per cent but, even more significant, average locomotive weight and motive power increased by 10 per cent. The size of the freight and passenger car fleets also grew substantially while overall capacity grew even faster. In the freight car fleet, for example, between 1907 and 1914 capacity rose at nearly twice the rate of fleet size growth, or 69.1 per cent growth in capacity versus a 35.1 per cent expansion of the number of freight cars. This dramatic growth in passenger and freight car capacity was, of course, partly the result of the introduction of new, larger cars. Even more, it was the result of feverish rebuilding programmes that took place in shops throughout the system. For example, between 1909 and 1914 GR shops rebuilt 4,315 dedicated coal wagons throughout the system, providing 6,876 tons of additional capacity. At the same time, virtually the entire pre-existing wagon fleet operating in the Kyushu coalfields was rebuilt to increase capacity. (32)

The consolidation of the new nationalised GR in 1906-07 did not automatically smooth railway operations. Letters and articles in newspapers and popular magazines complained bitterly about poor and unpredictable service, traffic bottlenecks, and inadequate and insufficient equipment. Although GR officials acknowledged difficulties involved in the complex amalgamation of eighteen separate railway companies, by 1910 many of the most egregious co-ordination problems had either been resolved or were on their way toward resolution. By that year the development of unified scheduling, system-wide communication protocols, and procedures for standardised station and freight operations had all helped smooth passenger and freight traffic flows.

Ultimately, however, success of the system's physical integration depended on the connection and co-ordination of the new enlarged system's route structure. Prior to the passage of nationalisation legislation there was no coherent national network of trunk lines. Military and bureaucratic leaders had long contended that the resultant rail system was disjointed and, as a result, a critical strategic problem. Moreover, many regarded the system as inefficient and inconvenient for shippers and passengers alike. A favourite example of the system at its cumbersome worst was a hypothetical shipment of goods sent from Yokohama to nearby Kofu. Prior to consolidation such a shipment required travel over four separate rail systems with separate rate structures and with transfers at each exchange point. Consolidation and linking of the eighteen separate route systems overcame many such problems but other connection problems required system growth.

The route network grew impressively following imperial railway consolidation. From 1899 to 1906 national railway and private trackage had grown 35 per cent, from 5,720 km to 7,698 km. In a comparable period following nationalisation the growth of GR and the remaining private lines was even greater, from 7,868 km to 11,479 km, or 45 per cent. GR trackage thus grew at an impressive but not unusually large rate between consolidation and World War I. Rather, it was the nature of the growth that bears particular notice. Figure 2 shows changes in the route system between GR consolidation in 1907 and the beginning of World War I in 1914. Two points about that construction stand out. First, much of the most important growth was in bridge lines such as that between Shiojiri and Nakatsu in central Honshu, or between Niitsu and Kitakata in the north. These lines provided significant connections between railheads or important existing route structures. Sharp reductions in distance and transport time resulted. Completion of the Chuo line in central Honshu, for instance, reduced the trip from Nagano to Nagoya by more than half, which, in turn, led to dramatic increases in economic activity along the western Chuo corridor. In the silk community of Suwa, Nagano prefecture, for example, silk thread production more than doubled between 1907 and 1913 while total outbound freight increased by two and a half times in the same period. (33) These bridge lines then served as important points of connection between already significant areas and thus served to intensify regional and interregional economic activity.

The other noticeable aspect of rail construction following consolidation is the growth of the rail network on the Japan Sea side of the country. Karen Wigen has shown how the central mountain territories and the Japan Sea coast became increasingly peripheralised during the nineteenth century as economic and trade networks focused on the Pacific coastal region. (34) Moreover, these regions presented significant engineering problems that slowed rail development. Along with the difficulties and high costs associated with crossing the country's mountainous spine, the complex of rivers that emptied into the Japan Sea created substantial barriers to railway construction. In modern Toyama, for example, flooding and unstable river beds dramatically slowed rail development. High costs required for bridge building, landslide and flood prevention, as well as soil stabilisation, made the region's cost per kilometre for railway construction among the highest in the country. (35) Yet by 1913 a trans-Toyama link had been completed, as were lines connecting Murakami and Niitsu and between Tottori and Wadayama. The region was substantially changed as a result and rail network growth in the region served to more tightly draw the Japan Sea coastal region into the emerging industrial economy. (36)


Network co-ordination was further enhanced by rapidly improving linkages between railway and maritime transport. It is common to suggest that in the twentieth century more traditional coastal maritime commerce had become thoroughly subordinated to the rail system. In terms of both traffic volume and value the importance of coastal maritime transport had indeed declined. (37) But it is also true that the years following nationalisation saw a dramatic increase in intermodal transport linking rail and maritime systems. (38) For example, the introduction of large, fast railway ferries linking the ports of Moji on the northern tip of Kyushu and Shimonoseki across the strait on the island of Honshu in 1911 increased freight car carrying capacity more than 500 per cent to 200 freight wagons per day over pre-nationalisation capability. As a result, between 1911 and 1915 two-way trade between the two ports grew sharply to 521,000 tons per year. Ten years later the figure had grown to more than 1.5 million tons. (39) Most of this tonnage was in lumber and wood products. Much of the coal from the Chikuho coalfield in northern Kyushu, the most important coal-producing region in the country, was also shipped from Kyushu to the main island of Honshu. Unlike wood products, however, coal did not, for the most part, move on ferries but rather travelled by rail to ports at Wakamatsu or Moji, where it was offloaded on to coastal vessels and shipped to the large port cities on the Inland Sea. As a result, despite rapidly increasing rail shipping volumes, coal moved an average of only forty-three miles by rail. This very short distance obscures coal's much longer journey over well established coastal maritime routes. (40)

Much of the growth in the rail system and the connections with maritime transport had been discussed and planned well before nationalisation legislation passed in 1906. As early as the Railway Construction Law of 1892, planning for an integrated rail network had begun. Nevertheless, it was nationalisation and the push to integrate the new GR's physical assets that led to the realisation of that planning. The construction undertaken after 1907 helped integrate and expand the new unified system while it helped give new symbolic importance to a legitimately nationwide railway system. It also went a long way toward providing the capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for transport service in industrialising Japan.

The original objective of smoothing railway operations required, however, not only expanding or connecting parts of the network but also improving operation of both new and existing services. Accordingly, system upgrades and maintenance became increasingly important in the years following consolidation. In 1907 monies devoted to new construction were nearly three time those expended on network improvements. By 1911, however, improvement expenses surpassed new construction outlays for the first time in government railway history and the relationship of these two expenses never again reversed. Improvement projects such as laying multiple-track lines, switching to heavier rail on main lines, replacing sleepers, and upgrading track signalling all helped improve operations. More expensive improvements including reducing track gradients and curve radii also expanded railway productivity by allowing the use of heavier and longer trains operating at faster speeds

The integration and improvement of railway assets following nationalisation legislation had a significant impact on domestic transport. Indicators of that include the doubling of overall freight ton kilometres shipped between 1907 and 1914 as well as a 50 per cent growth of passenger kilometres travelled in the same eight-year period. Such figures are suggestive but they elide the even more dramatic changes taking place in the composition of domestic transport. That is, in the years between 1908 and 1914 shipments of lumber products grew 15.8 per cent and the volume of coal shipped by rail grew 42.7 per cent while during the same period shipments of fresh fish grew 92.4 per cent and silkworm cocoons 230 per cent. (41) Faster trains, more direct routing, improved technologies, including the introduction of refrigerated freight vans in 1908, and lowered freight rates for partial loads of high-value products meant strong transport market growth for high-value, time-sensitive or perishable products. (42) While rail shipments grew because of improved efficiencies and predictability of the newly integrated system, those efficiencies also helped drive a downward revision of freight rates throughout the system. Rates declined for bulk good such as coal, lumber products, and rice, but the steepest rate cuts were awarded to the growing high-value segment of the market. (43)

By 1914 GR had created a dramatically improved rail transport infrastructure. It was a system that was larger, more integrated, more technologically advanced, and more efficient than the nation's rail network had been just eight years before. The nationalisation goals of expanding and improving service had been largely met. The complaints that had punctuated discussion of government rail operations in 1906-07 had generally disappeared by 1914. Both freight and passenger rates had declined and, for the most part, transport bottlenecks had been eliminated. These changes had been wrought at a very high cost. As observed earlier, the enormous outlays for the new railway's physical integration led to rapidly rising system indebtedness and the financial commitments put in place by the expanding system created a long-term economic problem for the national railway system. Nevertheless, GR employed nearly 160,000 individuals by 1920 and was the nation's largest and most heavily capitalised employer. By 1940 the nation's railway route structure had nearly tripled rail kilometres operated from its World War I era totals. The integration and growth of GR had helped usher in what railway officials were pleased to call the 'Golden Age' of Japan's national railway. (44)

As was common among consolidating firms during the great merger wave of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe and the United States, Japan's GR pushed aggressively to expand its market, integrate its operations, and move toward monopoly control over its market sector. The integration of its physical assets was an important part of this effort. Railway officials believed that managerial/cultural integration was an additional necessary component of the consolidation process.

Managerial integration

Challenging and costly as physical integration of the new national railway's assets proved to be, managerial/cultural integration was a no less important task. Railway officials began to grapple with personnel issues at the very beginning of the consolidation process. The Minister of Communications, Yamagata Isaburo, who still had jurisdictional authority over the national railway, said in an interview in October 1906 that the salaries of all staff of the former private railways would have to be examined and brought into line with the existing government railway structure. (45) The first president of the Railway Administration, Goto Shimpei, made the same point repeatedly. (46) Indeed, the Railway Administration moved to establish a unified wage structure between 1908 and 1910. Not only were wage rates adjusted but also in the same period GR fired nearly 5,000 blue-collar and staff workers and transferred or reassigned thousands more. (47) Part of the motivation for this substantial personnel realignment was, unsurprisingly, to save money. More important, the new system was concerned with eliminating redundancies, reducing the number of ineffective or insufficiently skilled workers, and mobilising those workers who remained more rationally.

The emphasis on 'businesslike' operations also encouraged the push to create greater efficiencies in work procedures. Even before the introduction of Taylorite ideas about Scientific Management in the 1910s, Railway Administration officials took an active interest in enhancing labour and system productivity. In 1907 GR established the new national railway's first technical research institute. In 1913 it set up an enlarged Railway Research Institute (Tetsudo chosajo) in the Oi shops in Tokyo to conduct research on rolling stock and signalling as well as more basic research into railway-related studies of electricity and machine tools. (48) Also, like other Japanese industries, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the Railway Administration moved to minimise the role of the relatively independent, paternalistic foremen (oyakata) who had dominated labour allocation and control. Management in the shops and of track crews was brought under the control of engineers, and work flows and procedures were substantially reorganised. Shop mechanisation, assembly line repairs, functional specialisation, and the introduction of new tools such as gas welders and electric winches were all part of the rapid expansion of structural rationality in GR workshops. (49) As a result of such efforts the new railway became what Sasaki Satoshi has called the prototype for later rationalisation programmes and set the standard for the application of Scientific Management in Japan. (50) More important from the railway's point of view, largely as a result of such programmes, overall, GR workers' net productivity grew between 1907 and 1914 at a rate more than double that of the comparable period before nationalisation. (51)


What concerned GR leaders at least as much as work process was the creation of what might be called a new and effective organisational culture. With the wave of corporate mergers in recent years businesses have developed a great interest in the notion of 'corporate culture'. This idea refers to company values and its way of doing business. The importance of businesses' corporate culture comes into especially high relief at the time of mergers and acquisitions. Conflicting approaches to corporate life and activity by the newly acquired employees create genuine problems undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of the newly consolidated firm. The resolution of these problems and conflicts is a crucial component of effective managerial/cultural integration.

The earliest agent of the effort to forge a new railway culture was the first Railway Administration president, Goto Shimpei. Goto recognised that the new GR system had begun as a disorganised and poorly arranged one. The failure to prepare for the consolidation of tens of thousands of workers from a wide variety of companies seriously weakened the ensuing company and undermined its ability to function effectively. Apart from the very important tasks of restructuring management and improving capital plant, what was necessary was for GR workers to be made to feel that they all, collectively, had a stake in the company. The new organisational culture he envisioned was to be one in which all personnel were bound together in a single integrated sense of community. He compared the new railway system to an organism (soshikitai) in which each part of the system was, and would be seen to be, a critical element of the larger structure and essential to the achievement of its purposes. (52) The more prevalent metaphor, however, was to liken the railway work force to a family. The idealised family presumed co-operation and unity between its members. It was primarily these qualities, Goto believed, that were essential for bringing together the employees of the many companies that came together to create the new Railway Administration.

Goto sought not just passive unity, however. Rather, the values of the new GR required a more active loyalty. Personnel management needed to be modelled, he believed, on traditional warrior or bushi virtues of self-sacrifice and loyalty. This bushi spirit (bushi katagi) should be, Goto stressed in a 1909 speech, the basis of the new organisational values of GR. The cultivation of a 'railway spirit' (tetsudo katagi) embedded in a commitment to the enterprise, loyalty to its objectives, and faith in one's fellow workers would be, according to Goto, the foundation upon which a new, stable, and effective GR would be built and would operate. (53)

Railway leaders emphasised that the idea of the family system was not simply an ideological nostrum, but was instead a call for action. Workers were to show loyalty to GR; management's responsibility was to improve work conditions and further the interests of workers. This family system idea was linked to the broad bureaucratic acceptance of Prussian-style social policy. By 1900 most Japanese government officials had come to embrace what might be called a 'positive environmentalism' in which they accepted the need for social engineering aimed at the creation of a salutary social environment. (54) This approach was regarded as useful for the purpose of preventing social upheaval--strikes, labour union activism, and the like--as well as building strong companies and promoting efficiency. This was certainly the understanding among GR leaders in the decade following consolidation.

Among the earliest substantive manifestations of this approach on GR was the creation of the relief union (kyusai kumiai) system in late 1907. There had been some interest in relief unions among government railway leaders prior to nationalisation legislation. The consolidation of the eighteen railway systems, however, gave the idea real urgency. Kobayashi Genzo, member of the influential Social Policy Association (Shakai seisaku gakkai) and a high-ranking railway official, for example, argued that the dramatically expanded GR required a new approach to management and that relief unions were central to any such agenda. (55) The relief union was an annuity-based unit funded by workers themselves and supplemented by government contributions. The union was empowered to provide financial assistance in the event of on-the-job injuries. It was also to dispense limited pensions, accidental death benefits, and funeral expense assistance.

Similarly, GR set up its first company-established and operated hospital in 1911 and a series of out-patient clinics in workshops and elsewhere around the same period. Like the relief union, these organisations were to be visible symbols of GR interest in workers and a tangible means of improving workers' lives and work performance. Other symbolically significant programmes included the introduction of family rail passes in 1909 and the beginning of regular GR-sponsored employee outings in 1913.

GR undertook all of these programmes in an attempt to unify, shape, and systematise an unruly hodge-podge of companies and employees following consolidation. Although many contemporary critics regarded such programmes as paternalist ploys to dampen proletarian class consciousness and inhibit unionisation, more important here is that they fit easily into an emerging system of welfare capitalism developing in Japan and throughout the rest of the industrialising world. (56) This GR welfare capitalism flowed naturally from the organisational culture envisioned early on by Goto Shimpei. His conception of a 'railway spirit' built on unity, loyalty, and familial co-operation was an ideal articulated and presented as a means of creating a railway identity during a time of tumultuous change.


Giant consolidations such as that resulting in the creation of Japan's GR have nearly always been part of a process of industrial reorganisation rather than being a single event. The consolidation creating the new Japanese GR in 1906-07 was only the most dramatic (but not the last) of a series of mergers and acquisitions realigning the Japanese railway system. Between 1897 and 1906 fourteen separate mergers or acquisitions involving significant railway properties took place. The consolidation creating the imperial railway bound many of those properties together into a new, nationwide railway system.

When nationalisation legislation passed in 1906 many saw strategic advantages deriving from this course. Military supply lines would be strengthened and secured. The nation's ambitions for expansion to the Asian continent would be supported and furthered by an expanded rail network. The hopes of a newly consolidated GR, however, focused primarily on the economic and social benefits that would accrue. The new GR would, it was hoped, knit the nation together by connecting previously unconnected parts of the country and improving service everywhere. As has been true of the recently privatised components of the former JNR, the new GR was pushed to be more financially accountable, more structurally efficient, and more market-responsive than the preceding rail network had been. To realise all these objectives the new Railway Administration leaders initiated policies and programmes to integrate and co-ordinate the newly consolidated system. Organisational structure was streamlined and rationalised, capital plant was co-ordinated and there were marked drives toward enhancing productivity and creating a new organisational culture to unify and energise the new entity's human capital.

The Japanese GR created in the years following 1907 represented a system ready to expand. Since the failure and privatisation of JNR and other nationalised systems it has been common to suggest that national ownership is itself a fundamental flaw that renders economic effectiveness impossible. GR's early successes suggest otherwise. Later system bloat and structural deficit that ultimately led to privatisation should not obscure the reality that the merger creating the dramatically enlarged GR was part of significant push toward reorganising a key industrial sector. It helped break through a critical institutional logjam. By assembling and integrating the various elements of the emerging rail system the new GR created powerful scale economies that stimulated development in many industries, including steel, machine tools, and electricity. In so doing it encouraged and facilitated the emergence of Japan's large-scale industry in the 1910s and, as Carl Mosk has shown, helped initiate a long swing of profound industrial transformation. (57) At the same time, it is also true that by effectively merging eighteen separate railway lines the newly consolidated GR itself became Japan's first successful giant firm.


Research for this article was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program grant and a grant from the University of South Carolina Research and Productive Scholarship fund. An earlier version was presented at a meeting of the Southern Japan Seminar. Comments offered at that meeting as well as the questions and suggestions of three anonymous readers were extremely helpful and are much appreciated.

W. Dean Kinzley University of South Carolina


(1) Amy L. Chua, 'The privatization-nationalization cycle: the link between markets and ethnicity in developing countries', Columbia Law Review 95, 2 (1995).

(2) Kimon A. Doukas, The French Railroads and the State (New York, 1945); Patrick O'Brien (ed.), Railways and the Economic Development of Europe, 1830-1914 (New York, 1983); Albert Schram, Railways and the Formation of the Italian State in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1997); Simon P. Ville, Transport and the Development of the European Economy, 1750-1918 (New York, 1990).

(3) See, for example, William W. Cook, 'A plan for the nationalization of railways', Yale Law Review 24, 5 (1915).

(4) J. S. Foreman-Peck, 'Natural monopoly and railway policy in the nineteenth century', Oxford Economic Papers 39 (1987).

(5) Leslie Hannah, Rise of the Corporate Economy (London, 1976); Naomi R. Lamoreaux, The Great Merger Movement in American Business, 1895-1904 (Cambridge, 1985); Wilfried Feldenkirchen, 'Concentration in German industry, 1870-1939', in Hans Pohl (ed.), The Concentration Process in the Entrepreneurial Economy since the Nineteenth Century (Stuttgart, 1988).

(6) General treatments of early Japanese railway history can be found in Noda Masaho, Harada Katsumasa, Aoki Eiichi and Oikawa Yoshinobu, Nihon no tetsudo: seiritsu totenkai (Japan's railroads: growth and development) (Tokyo, 1986), pp. 1-100; Harada Katsumasa, Nihon no tetsudo (Japan's railroads) (Tokyo, 1991), pp. 1-50; OikawaYoshinobu, Tetsudo (Railroads) (Tokyo, 1996), pp. 2-148. In English see Eiichi Aoki, Mitsuhide Imashiro, Shinichi Kato and Yasuo Wakuda, A History of Japanese Railways, 1872-1999 (Tokyo, 2000); Steven J. Ericson, The Sound of the Whistle: Railroads and the State in Meiji Japan (Cambridge MA, 1996).

(7) Until 1929 all route distances were reported in miles and have been converted to kilometres here and in the pages that follow. Distances do not include tramways.

(8) Ericson, Sound of the Whistle, pp. 112-13, 153, 166-7; Nakamura Naofumi, Nihon tetsudogyo no keisei, 1868-1894 (The formation of Japan's railway industry) (Tokyo, 1998), pp. 75-8, 90-2.

(9) Twenty private steam lines survived nationalisation. Most, though not all, were small local lines. The largest, the Tobu Railway (Tobu tetsudo), ran 117 km of track north from Tokyo. In addition to these twenty lines, a variety of horse-drawn and electric tramway companies remained private. Kawakami Ryutaro, Tetsudogyo no genjo (Present condition of the railway industry) (Tokyo, 1909).

(10) Tokihiko Tanaka, 'Meiji government and the introduction of railways' I-II, Contemporary Japan 28, 3-4 (May 1966 and May 1967).

(11) Toshiharu Watarai, 'Nationalization of Railways in Japan', unpublished Ph.D., Columbia University (New York, 1915); Shoda Heigoro, 'Kangyo to seitetsujo' (Iron and steel works and the bureaucracy), Tokyo keizai zasshi (Tokyo Economic Journal), 1428 (29 February 1908), 21-2.

(12) Oshima Fujitaro, Kokka dokusen shihon toshite no kokuyii tetsudo no shiteki hatten (Historical development of the National Railway under State monopoly capitalism) (Tokyo, 1949), p. 49. See also Tominaga Yuji, KotsO ni okeru shihonshugi no hatten (Capitalist development in the transport industry) (Tokyo, 1953), pp. 183-200.

(13) Oshima Fujitaro, 'Sangyo kokuyuka no kihon mondai' (The fundamental issues of industrial nationalisation), Un'yu to keizai (Transport and Economics) 4, 2 (1949). See also Hirooka Haruya, Kindai Nihon kootsuo shi (Modern Japanese transport history) (Tokyo, 1987), pp. 71-2.

(14) See, for example, Nakanishi Ken'ichi, Nihon shiyO tetsudo shi kenkyO (A study of the history of Japan's private railways) (Tokyo, 1979), pp. 86-125, and Shima Yasuhiko, Nihon shihonshugi to kokuyuo tetsudoo (Japanese capitalism and the Japan National Railway) (Tokyo, 1950), pp. 80-128. Chalmers Johnson introduced the concept of a 'developmental State' in MITI and the Japanese Miracle: the Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975 (Stanford CA, 1982).

(15) Ericson, Sound of the Whistle; Nakamura, Nihon tetsudoogyoo.

(16) Nihon kotsu kosha, Nihon kotso kosha shichijonen shi (A seventy-year history of the Japan Tourist Bureau) (Tokyo, 1982), pp. 13-15; 'Tada ai aru nomi' (Nothing but love), Tetsudo jiho (Railway Review) 485 (1 January 1909), 5.

(17) Harada Katsumasa, Tetsudo shi kenkyu shiron (Essays on railway history) (Tokyo, 1989), pp. 134-40.

(18) This typology is adapted from Paul Shrivastrava, 'Postmerger integration', Journal of Business Strategy 7, 1 (1986).

(19) Basic details on railway organisational structure are drawn from Nihon kokuyu tetsudu, Nihon kokuyu tetsudd hyakunen shi (A hundred-year history of the Japan National Railway) V (Tokyo, 1973), pp. 16-20, 231-59.

(20) 'Teikoku tetsudocho setchi' (Formation of the Imperial Railway Agency), Tokyo keisai zasshi, 18 April 1907, pp. 35-6.

(21) Tsurumi Yusuke, Goto ShimpeiIII (Tokyo, 1966), pp. 122-6.

(22) 'Tetsuduin setchi no shushi' (On the formation of the Railway Administration), Tetsudo jiho 481 (5 December 1908), 4-5.

(23) The best discussion of the shift toward domestic production is in Sawai Minoru, Nihon tetsudo sharyo kogyo shi (A history of Japan's rolling stock industry) (Tokyo, 1998), pp. 32-78.

(24) Nihon kokuyu tetsudd, Nihon kokuyu tetsudo hyakunen shi, tsu shi (A hundred-year history of the Japan National Railway, General history) (Tokyo, 1974), p. 164. See also Shima, Nihon shihonshugi, pp. 169-71.

(25) Mitani Taichirou, Nihon seitou seiji no keisei (The formation of Japanese party politics) (Tokyo, 1967), pp. 133-83. Also Tetsuo Najita, Hara Kei in the Politics of Compromise, 1905-1915 (Cambridge MA, 1967).

(26) Nihon kokuyuu tetsudou, Nihon kokuyuu tetsudou hyakunen shi, tsuu shi, p. 166.

(27) Shima, Nihon shihonshugi, pp. 171-91, and Matsushita Takaaki, 'Meiji matsu-Taishou shoki no tetsudd seisaku' (Railway policy in the late Meiji and early Taishu), Rekishigaku kenkyu (Historical Research) 741 (October 2000).

(28) Tetsuduin, Tetsudo kara katei e (From railway to family) (Tokyo, 1919), pp. 39-40.

(29) Mattu kuju 60 nen no ayumi hensan iinkai, Matto kojo 60 nen no ayumi (Sixty years of the Mattu workshops' development) (Mattu shi, 1971), pp. 16-17; Hamamatsu kuju yonju nen shi hensan iinkai, Yonju nen shi ayumi (A forty-year history) (Hamamatsu, 1952), pp. 6-8.

(30) Steven J. Ericson, 'Importing locomotives in Meiji Japan: international business and technology transfer in the railway industry', Osiris 12 (1998); Takeshi Yuzawa, 'The transfer of railway technologies from Britain to Japan, with special reference to locomotive manufacture', in David J. Jeremy (ed.), International Technology Transfer: Europe, Japan, and the USA, 1700-1914 (Aldershot, 1991).

(31) Takamura Naosuke, 'Dokusen soshiki no keisei' (The formation of monopoly organisation), in Takamura Naosuke (ed.), Nichi-Ro sengo no Nihon keizai (Japan's economy after the Russo-Japanese War) (Tokyo, 1988), pp. 168-77, and Sawai, Nihon tetsudo sharyo, pp. 55-66.

(32) Tetsudushu, Kokuyu junen (Ten years of the National Railway) (Tokyo, 1920), p. 103; Nihon kokuyu tetsudu Kokura kuju, Wakamatsu sharyu sentaa, Sekitansha no rekishi (A history of coal wagons) (Kokura, 1980), pp. 83-143. Units of reported weight measurement used here and after were imperial tons in which 1 t = 2,240 lb = 1,016.05 kg.

(33) Tetsuduin, Honpo tetsudd no shakai oyobi keizai no oyoboseru eikyd (The impact of the National Railway on society and the economy) I (Tokyo, 1916), pp. 396-7, II (Tokyo, 1916), pp. 881-97.

(34) Karen Wigen, The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 (Berkeley CA, 1995).

(35) Michael Lewis, Becoming Apart: National Power and Local Politics in Toyama, 1868-1945 (Cambridge MA, 2000), pp. 87-90.

(36) Yamaguchi Kazuo and Ishii Kanji, Kindai Nihon no shdhin ryutsu (Commodity flows in modern Japan) (Tokyo, 1986), pp. 75-113.

(37) Ibid., pp. 5-9, 92-101.

(38) Kokaze Hidemasa, 'Tetsudu kokuyuka to un'yu mu no saihen' (Railway nationalisation and the reorganisation of the transport network), in Takamura, Nichi-Ro sengo.

(39) Niitsu sugu kenkyujo, Nihon yuso shi (Japan's transport history) (Tokyo, 1971), p. 225; Moji tetsudu kyoku, Kammon renraku kyakuka zushin no susei to kaitei suido no ydhi ni kansuru chousa (Researches on trends in the growth of freight and passenger movement across the straits and issues of maritime traffic) (Moji, 1926), pp. 3-4, appendix 1.

(40) Nittsu sogo kenkyujo, Nihon yuso shi, pp. 231-3.

(41) Tetsudosho, Kokuyu junen, p. 128.

(42) Tetsudouin, Honpou tetsudou no shakai II, pp. 881-97; Tetsudoushou, Kokuyuu juunen, pp. 149-50; Gao Yu, '1920 nendai seisen shoku ryuhin no yusu mondai: suisanhin yusu no baai' (The carriage of fresh food and fish products in the 1920s: the case of seafood trans port), Tetsudu shigaku (Railway History) 19 (November 2001).

(43) Tetsudoin, Honpu tetsudo no shakai I, pp. 347-62; Nittsu sogo kenkyujo, Nihon yuso shi, pp. 223-4.

(44) Nihon kokuyu tetsudu, Nihon kokuyu tetsudo hyakunenshi, tsu shi, pp. 207-8.

(45) Tetsudo jihu 368 (16 October 1906), 8.

(46) Tsurumi, Goto ShimpeiIII, p. 125.

(47) Ibid., p. 144.

(48) Tetsudu gijutsu kenkyujo gojunen shi kanku iinkai, Gojunenshi (A fifty-year history) (Tokyo, 1957).

(49) Eisuke Daito, 'Railways and Scientific Management in Japan, 1907-1930', Business History 31, 1 (1989); Daitu Eisuke, 'Rumu kanri: senzen no ruduryoku kanri o chushin toshite' (Labour management: the management of pre-war labour productivity), in Nakagawa Keiichiru (ed.), Nihonteki keiei (Japanese management), vol. IV of Nihon keiei shi koza (Lectures on the history of Japanese management) (Tokyo, 1977), pp. 193-202; Nishinarita Yutaka, 'Kan'ei tetsudu kuju no rumu seisaku to chinrudu' (Wage labour and labour policy in government railway workshops), Rodo undo shi kenkyu (Studies in Labour Movement History) 62 (1979), 114-15. Interesting examples of the new functional organisation of work crews can be found in Kishiyama Kenji, 'Yo ga jikku shi kureru kikansha shuzen hu' (Rules for locomotive overhauls that I have implemented), Tetsudo jiho 805 (20 February 1915), 11; 806 (27 February 1917), 11; 807 (6 March 1915), 10; 808 (13 March 1915), 6.

(50) Satoshi Sasaki, 'Scientific Management movements in pre-war Japan', Japanese Yearbook of Business History 4 (1987); see also Okuda Kenji, Hito to keiei (People and management) (Tokyo, 1985), pp. 64-74; William M. Tsutsui, Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth Century Japan (Princeton NJ, 1998), pp. 22-3, 31, 72-4.

(51) Minami Ryushin, Tetsudu to denryoku (Railways and electric power), vol. XII of Choki keizai toukei (Long-term economic statistics) (Tokyo, 1965), p. 207.

(52) Tsurumi, Gotou Shimpei III, p. 204.

(53) Tetsudu daijin kanbu gengyu chusaka, Kokuyu tetsudo bunai ni okeru rodo mondai no hensan ni kansuru kiroku (Materials on changes in labour management problems on the National Railways), vol. II of Kokutetsu rodo mondaishiryo (Documents on National Railways' labour problems) (Tokyo, 1942), pp. 14-16.

(54) W. Dean Kinzley, Industrial Harmony in Modern Japan: the Invention of a Tradition (London, 1991), pp. 1-25.

(55) Kobayashi Genzu, 'Teikoku tetsuduchu kyusai kumiai ni tsuite' (Relief unions in the Imperial Railway Agency), in Shakai Seisaku gakkai (ed.), Koujouhou to roudou mondai (The factory law and labour problems), reprinted in Shakai seisaku gakkai shiryou shuusei (Documentary history of the Social Policy Association) I (Tokyo, 1977).

(56) W. Dean Kinzley, 'Japan in the world of welfare capitalism: imperial railroad experiments with welfare work', Labor History 42, 2 (2006); William Tsutsui, 'Rethinking the paternalist paradigm in Japanese industrial management', Business and Economic History 26, 2 (1997).

(57) Carl Mosk, Japanese Industrial History: Technology, Urbanization, and Economic Growth (Armonk NY, 2001), pp. 119-57. See also Yui Tsunehiko, 'Gaisetsu, 1915-1937' (Overview, 1915-1937), in Yui Tsunehiko and Daito Eisuke (eds), Daikigyo jidai no torai (The coming of the Age of Big Business), vol. III of Nihon keiei shi (History of Japanese management) (Tokyo, 1995), pp. 27-31.

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Title Annotation:Merging lines
Author:Kinzley, W. Dean
Publication:The Journal of Transport History
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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