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The Japanese experience in technology

Table of contents

Takeshi Hayashi

From transfer to self-reliance

The Japanese Experience Series

The Role of Labour-Intensive Sectors in Japanese Industrialization

Edited by Johzen Takeuchi

This study of the general development of industrialization in pre-war Japan, with special reference to the place of small-scale and labour-intensive industries highlights a unique aspect of the history of Japan's economic growth. It presents case-studies of the shell-button, brush, knitting, and bicycle industries, examining the development of each. It looks at the social role of each in the internal and international economic and political context and analyses the changing relationships between labourers, factory owners, and merchants.

ISBN 92-808-0512-6
In press, 15.7x23.3cm, hardcover

General Trading Companies: A Comparative and Historical Study

Edited by Shin'ichi Yonekawa

This comprehensive study examines the historical background and functions of general trading companies in relation to the broader economic development of Japan, comparing them to similar trading firms in Great Britain and the United States and reviewing aspects of management, merchandise, and reorganization of the zaibatsu in the 1950s. It identifies the social and economic roles they played and emphasizes their core function as financial organizers in society.

ISBN 92-808-0532-0
In press, 15.7x23.3cm, hardcover

Vocational Education in the Industrialization of Japan

Edited by Toshio Toyoda

This volume examines the role of vocational education in Japan's industrial and technological growth and possible applications for developing countries. The book describes the establishment of vocational and apprentice schools; presents case-studies of schools in woodwork, lacquerware, ceramics, machinery, dyeing and weaving, bamboo working, commerce, agriculture and forestry; examines in-house training; and finally, surveys education from the Meiji period to the present, focusing particularly on engineering and industrial education in the post-war period.

ISBN 92-808-0584-3
1987, 280 pages, 15.7x23.3cm, hardcover

Industrial Pollution in Japan

Edited by Jun Ui

This publication describes and analyses the negative side-effects of Japan's rapid technological and industrial development since the Meiji period. It examines the socio-economic and technological causes of damage to the lives of people, to the communities involved, and to the environment through case-studies of several examples of industrial pollution in the process of Japan's modernization.

ISBN 92-808-0548-7
In press, 15.7x23.3cm, hardcover

Jacket design by Takashi Suzuki

Technology Transfer, Transformation, and Development:

The Japanese Experience

Project Co-ordinator, Takeshi Hayashi

General Trading Companies: A Comparative and Historical Study, ed. Shin'ichi Yonekawa

Industrial Pollution in Japan, ed. Jun Ui

Irrigation in Development: The Social Structure of Water Utilization in Japan, ed. Akira Tamaki, Isao Hatate, and Naraomi Imamura

Role of Labour-Intensive Sectors in Japanese Industrialization, ed. Johzen Takeuchi

Technological Innovation and Female Labour in Japan, ed. Masanori Nakamura

The Japanese Experience in Technology: From Transfer to Self-Reliance, Takeshi Hayashi

Vocational Education in the Industrialization of Japan, ed. Toshio Toyoda

The United Nations University (UNU) is an organ of the United Nations established by the General Assembly in 1972 to be an international community of scholars engaged in research, advanced training, and the dissemination of knowledge related to the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. Its activities focus mainly on peace and conflict resolution, development in a changing world, and science and technology in relation to human welfare. The University operates through a worldwide network of research and post-graduate training centres, with its planning and co-ordinating headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

The United Nations University Press, the publishing division of the UNU, publishes scholarly books and periodicals in the social sciences, humanities. and pure and applied natural sciences related to the University's research.


The United Nations University project on Technology Transfer, Transformation, and Development: The Japanese Experience was carried out from 1978 to 1982. Its objective was to contribute to an understanding of the process of technological development in Japan as a case study. The project inquired into the infrastructure of technology. human resources development, and social and economic conditions and analyzed the problems of technology transfer, transformation, and development from the time of the Meiji Restoration to the present. The research was undertaken by more than 120 Japanese specialists and covered a wide range of subjects, including iron and steel, transportation, textiles, mining, financial institutions, rural and urban society, small industry, the female labour force, education, and technology policy.

This volume constitutes a broad overview of the interaction between technology and development in Japan since the Meiji period.

The United Nations University, 1990

The views expressed in this publication ate those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations University.

United Nations University Press
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Typeset by Asco Trade Typesetting Limited, Hong Kong
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ISBN 92-808-0566-5
United Nations Sales No. E.90.III.A.4
04500 C



Part 1. Overview

1. Development and technology in post-war Japan

Japan in the world
Economy and technology in post-war Japan
Post-war recovery
From recovery to rapid growth
Technology transfer in post-war Japan

2. The Japanese experience: The problems and attempted solutions

1: Expectations from outside
2: Japan's response
3: Why do we begin with the Meiji restoration?

3. Theoretical summary: A preliminary examination and an interim conclusion

Technology in theory - The five Ms

Part 2. Case-studies

4. The importance of case-studies

5. Urban society and technology

The city and technology
The primate city
The inhabitants of Tokyo
Formation of the new middle class
Urban life
A provincial city case-study: Traditional technology in Kanazawa

6. Agricultural technology and development

Development and agriculture
The change in agricultural technology, from emphasis on land productivity to emphasis on labour productivity

7. Transfer and self-reliance in iron and steel technology

Failure and recovery of the Kamaishi ironworks
Failure at the Yawata ironworks
Technological independence and dependence on foreign raw materials
Formation of a skilled labour force
Iron manufacturing technology and weapons self-reliance

8. Transfer of mining technology and the birth of new technology

Industrialization and mining technology
New technology and reform of the system
From importation to domestic production of mining machinery: Independence in the related sectors of technology

9. Traffic and transport technology-road, railway, and water-borne transportation

Modernization and the railway
The transportation network
Issues in railway policy
Original design and production by imitation - The road to self-reliance
The role of foreign engineers

10. Technology for the textile industry

The textile industry's place in the history of Japanese technology
The role of government
How Japan was able to catch up with India - A subject for dialogue

11. The transformation of small-scale industry into modern indigenous industry

Small-scale industries in development
The village button industry
The transformation of technology in the process of industrialization

12. Vocational education and development

Japanese modernization and education - Take-off and fall
Vocational education and the normal school system
Late-comer investment in education
On site training

13. The development of Japanese-style management

The Japanese approach
Economic nationalism
The impotence of the political parties
The transformation of the zaibatsu
Japanese-style management today
History of Japanese-style management
Japanese-style management and managers of zaibatsu
Zaibatsu managers and the reference group
Local zaibatsu and new zaibatsu

14. Development of Japan's financial system

Development and finance
Exchange companies
From a national bank to the bank of Japan

15. General trading companies: Their role in technology transfer and industrialization

Origins and functions of general trading companies
Is the general trading company peculiar to Japan?

16. Industry and economic policies - Politics and the economy in a new nation

The effect of economic policies
Two opposing lines, radical and conservative
Local development

17. History of technology and technology policy

Politics and modern science and technology
Technology policy for development

18. Female labour and technology change

Total household labour and the "wife's domain"
Technological change and female labour

19. Industrial technology and pollution

"Development" and the destruction of the environment
The question of diagnosis
The prototype of the present-day pollution problem
Medical myths

Part 3. Epilogue

20. Conclusion: A proposal for future research

The role of the state
National consensus and basic human rights
Formation of a national technology network
Formation of native engineers
Public management of technology