By G. C. Allen
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Additional resources for A Short Economic History of Modern Japan
The lord ofSatsuma, for example, had founded works for the manufacture of pottery, cannon and cotton yarn. Indeed, the first cotton-spinning mill in Japan was started in 1861 by this daimyo who imported Lancashire textile machinery for the purpose. The Shogun himselfhad founded Western-style enterprises, including two shipbuilding yards, during the later fifties. The new Government pursued systematically a policy which the feudal chiefs and Tokugawa had only tentatively begun. Abrief reference to some of the Government's activities in the industrial field will demonstrate their wide range.
It is not to be thought that strategy and difficulties with the balance of payments provided the only motives for the Government's policy of sponsoring industry. Another reason was to find employment for the samurai. These had not only lost their privileged status but also, as a result of the commutation of their pensions, had suffered grievous financialloss. They were not a submissive c1ass like the peasants and, if their smouldering discontent were to be blown into Harnes, the RECONSTRUCTION, 1868-81 37 Restoration Government might weil be consumed.
The State soon realized the necessity of introducing the new methods of communication that had played so important a part in the RECONSTRUCTION,1868-81 35 industrialization ofthe West. In 1871 apostal and telegraph system was introduced, and six years later Japanjoined the Postal Union. In 1869 a steamship line between Osaka and Tokyo was formed, and shortly afterwards the first railway was built-it connected Tokyo and Yokohama-on the proceeds of a Government 10an raised in England. What is more, the State took the initiative in establishing a large number ofmanufacturing establishments equipped with Western machinery for producing new products or goods hitherto manufactured by traditional methods.