Proposal preview

Interflow, Interaction, and Innovation: Merchants, Business Organizations, and Networks in the Pan-Pacific Rim since the Nineteenth Century

Due to the expansion of trade and commercial activities in the Pan Pacific rim in the 19th century, merchants from China, US, Japan, and Russia, were able to build up business organizations and to extend networks in the region. Joined by their British and French counterparts, these merchants made a significant impact for shaping a transnational business community in the region. Based on this fact, it is worth for this session to explore the interflow, interaction, and innovation among these transnational merchants, which looked from an angle of circulation of business knowhow, revelation of social-economic changes, and how localization versus globalization.

The aims for organizing this session are: Firstly, to draw attention on a comparative research on the circulation of business knowhow, the creation and the operation of business networks in the Pan Pacific rim since the 19th century. Secondly, to examine the impact made by the interflow and the interaction among the different groups of merchants in the above mentioned region. Thirdly, to identify the cooperation and innovational changes made by the various merchant organizations in the Pan Pacific region.

This session draws upon cases in China mainland, Japan, India, and US, and to show how prominent merchants and business organizations interacted, cooperated, and conflicted together. This session called upon the research of global history, cliometrics, which looked from a comparative and multi-dimensional angle, in order to give a holistic view and theoretical analysis of the transnational business community emerged in the Pan Pacific rim since the nineteenth century.

Organizer(s)

  • Pui Tak Lee University of Hong Kong ptlee@hku.hk Hong Kong, China
  • Min Ma Central China Normal University mamin@mail.ccnu.edu.cn China

Session members

  • Min Ma, Central China Normal University
  • Bozhong Li, Tsinghua University
  • Masato Kimura, Kanda University for Foreign Studies
  • Billy K.L. So, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
  • Sufumi So, Independent Scholar
  • Yuanbao Xiong, Waseda University
  • Haiyan Fu, Central China Normal University
  • Wenxiang Wei, Central China Normal University
  • Zhao Duan, Central China Normal University
  • Helin Wu, Central China Normal University

Discussant(s)

  • James Z. Lee Hong Kong University of Science & Technology jqljzl@ust.hk
  • Takeshi Hamashita Toyo Bunko thasiapacific@gmail.com
  • R. Bin Wong University of California at Los Angeles wong@history.ucla.edu

Papers

Panel abstract

The aims for organizing this session are: Firstly, to draw attention on a comparative research on the circulation of business knowhow, the creation and the operation of business networks in the Pan Pacific rim since the 19th century. Secondly, to examine the impact made by the interflow and the interaction among the different groups of merchants in the above mentioned region. Thirdly, to identify the cooperation and innovational changes made by the various merchant organizations in the Pan Pacific region. This session draws upon cases in China mainland, Japan, India, and US, and to show how prominent merchants and business organizations interacted, cooperated, and conflicted together. This session called upon the research of global history, cliometrics, which looked from a comparative and multi-dimensional angle, in order to give a holistic view and theoretical analysis of the transnational business community emerged in the Pan Pacific rim since the nineteenth century.

1st half

The Chinese printing industry (movable metal type) of the British Baptist Missionary and its impact to Southeast Asia

Min MA

In 1998 I wrote an article for the Journal of History 历史研究, which I discussed the pioneering efforts of Joshua Marshman and Joannes Lassar for producing a Chinese translated bible in Serampore, India. In this paper I will argue the Gospel of John 若翰所书之福音, translated and printed by Marshman and Lassar in 1813, was the first Chinese book printed in movable metal type. Twenty years later in 2018, I have not yet seen any new versions. Recently, I made a visit to Serampore where I have inspected the relics of the old mission press and to collect research materials. This convinced me to put further of the significance made to the printing industry in both Serampore and in China.

In 1998 I wrote an article for the Journal of History 历史研究, which I discussed the pioneering efforts of Joshua Marshman and Joannes Lassar for producing a Chinese translated bible in Serampore, India. In this paper I will argue the Gospel of John 若翰所书之福音, translated and printed by Marshman and Lassar in 1813, was the first Chinese book printed in movable metal type. Twenty years later in 2018, I have not yet seen any new versions. Recently, I made a visit to Serampore where I have inspected the relics of the old mission press and to collect research materials. This convinced me to put further of the significance made to the printing industry in both Serampore and in China.

The British Baptist Missionary in Serampore and its Indian connection: economic, cultural and social perspectives

Helin WU

After the Baptist Missionary was established in Serampore, the Danish settlement in India, they became successful in translating Bible, building schools, and printing activities, etc. However, the missionary press was burnt in 1812, and all valuable manuscripts, printed materials, papers were vanished. The company lifted the ban imposed upon the Missionaries in 1813. So, the missionary tried to revive the press. With this opportunity the Missionary widen their sphere of activities. From then they played a leading role in the fields of industry, literature, science, mass media, etc. This prompted a cultural renaissance in the country for they opened up branches in many places in East and West of Bengal. This essay is to assess the Missionary’s accomplishment and examine the interaction with the local society from the cultural, economic, and social perspective.

After the Baptist Missionary was established in Serampore, the Danish settlement in India, they became successful in translating Bible, building schools, and printing activities, etc. However, the missionary press was burnt in 1812, and all valuable manuscripts, printed materials, papers were vanished. The company lifted the ban imposed upon the Missionaries in 1813. So, the missionary tried to revive the press. With this opportunity the Missionary widen their sphere of activities. From then they played a leading role in the fields of industry, literature, science, mass media, etc. This prompted a cultural renaissance in the country for they opened up branches in many places in East and West of Bengal. This essay is to assess the Missionary’s accomplishment and examine the interaction with the local society from the cultural, economic, and social perspective.

The role of chambers of commerce on the establishment of trans-national business organizations and networks in the Pacific Rim since the nineteenth century

Masato KIMURA

This paper analyzed how Chambers of Commerce have established transnational business organizations and networks in the Pacific Rim in terms of two different phenomena: transnational movements and the establishment of the nation-state system. From the beginning of the 20th century, both Japan and China promoted expansion of business relationships by sending representatives to the US West coast. In 1909, the first large international Japanese business mission was organized by six chambers of commerce in Japan. Based on these activities, and the research literature, this paper argues that Chambers of Commerce acted as one of the driving forces behind private sector economic diplomacy in the Pacific Rim, and how these networks helped restart business relationships among Japan, China and the US in the 1950s.

This paper analyzed how Chambers of Commerce have established transnational business organizations and networks in the Pacific Rim in terms of two different phenomena: transnational movements and the establishment of the nation-state system. From the beginning of the 20th century, both Japan and China promoted expansion of business relationships by sending representatives to the US West coast. In 1909, the first large international Japanese business mission was organized by six chambers of commerce in Japan. Based on these activities, and the research literature, this paper argues that Chambers of Commerce acted as one of the driving forces behind private sector economic diplomacy in the Pacific Rim, and how these networks helped restart business relationships among Japan, China and the US in the 1950s.

Business interest or national interest? Tokyo-based giant textbook publisher Kinkōdō’s initiative in China and its incorporation of the Shanghai-based Commercial Press in 1903

Billy K.L. SO & Sufumi SO

In 1903 the Tokyo-based leading textbook publisher Kinkōdō formed a joint venture with the Chinese-owned Commercial Press in Shanghai to meet rising demand in emerging markets for school textbooks. The newly formed Shanghai Commercial Press Co. Ltd. adopted the Western-style corporation model of joint-stock company with limited liability, which was eagerly promoted by some intellectual elites and reform-minded officials in the promulgation of the 1904 Qing company code. Kinkōdō’s initiative in China has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly debate. In this paper we discuss the matter in the broader context of Japanese investment in China’s book industry after the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki and also consider possible influences on the initiative of such powerful connections as Yamamoto Jōtarō. Our study suggests an intricate interplay between personal and business interests and national interest considerations, which was characteristic of the entrepreneurship in late Meiji Japan.

In 1903 the Tokyo-based leading textbook publisher Kinkōdō formed a joint venture with the Chinese-owned Commercial Press in Shanghai to meet rising demand in emerging markets for school textbooks. The newly formed Shanghai Commercial Press Co. Ltd. adopted the Western-style corporation model of joint-stock company with limited liability, which was eagerly promoted by some intellectual elites and reform-minded officials in the promulgation of the 1904 Qing company code. Kinkōdō’s initiative in China has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly debate. In this paper we discuss the matter in the broader context of Japanese investment in China’s book industry after the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki and also consider possible influences on the initiative of such powerful connections as Yamamoto Jōtarō. Our study suggests an intricate interplay between personal and business interests and national interest considerations, which was characteristic of the entrepreneurship in late Meiji Japan.

DUAN Zhao abstract

Zhao DUAN & Boyi XIONG

After the Baptist Missionary was established in Serampore, the Danish settlement in India, they became successful in translating Bible, building schools, and printing activities, etc. However, the missionary press was burnt in 1812, and all valuable manuscripts, printed materials, papers were vanished. The company lifted the ban imposed upon the Missionaries in 1813. So, the missionary tried to revive the press. With this opportunity the Missionary widen their sphere of activities. From then they played a leading role in the fields of industry, literature, science, mass media, etc. This prompted a cultural renaissance in the country for they opened up branches in many places in East and West of Bengal. This essay is to assess the Missionary’s accomplishment and examine the interaction with the local society from the cultural, economic, and social perspective.

After the Baptist Missionary was established in Serampore, the Danish settlement in India, they became successful in translating Bible, building schools, and printing activities, etc. However, the missionary press was burnt in 1812, and all valuable manuscripts, printed materials, papers were vanished. The company lifted the ban imposed upon the Missionaries in 1813. So, the missionary tried to revive the press. With this opportunity the Missionary widen their sphere of activities. From then they played a leading role in the fields of industry, literature, science, mass media, etc. This prompted a cultural renaissance in the country for they opened up branches in many places in East and West of Bengal. This essay is to assess the Missionary’s accomplishment and examine the interaction with the local society from the cultural, economic, and social perspective.

2nd half

From foreign to native: The merchants in overseas trade in Fujian, AD 1000-1700

Bozhong LI

China’s overseas trade had witnessed great growth since the Song dynasty. In most of the seven centuries between the early Northern Song and the early Qing, coastal Fujian had been the center of China’s overseas trade. Before the Ming, the trade had been in the hands of foreign merchants, but in the Ming, native Chinese merchants rose and completely supplanted the foreign merchants. It is a very important event in economic activity. Focusing on the event, this article will make an analysis of the significant move of business gravity of China’s overseas trade from the Indian Ocean world to the Pacific world and the great changes of the Chinese business and merchants. Through the analysis, we can have a better knowledge of what had happened in the economic relationship between China and the outside worlds.

China’s overseas trade had witnessed great growth since the Song dynasty. In most of the seven centuries between the early Northern Song and the early Qing, coastal Fujian had been the center of China’s overseas trade. Before the Ming, the trade had been in the hands of foreign merchants, but in the Ming, native Chinese merchants rose and completely supplanted the foreign merchants. It is a very important event in economic activity. Focusing on the event, this article will make an analysis of the significant move of business gravity of China’s overseas trade from the Indian Ocean world to the Pacific world and the great changes of the Chinese business and merchants. Through the analysis, we can have a better knowledge of what had happened in the economic relationship between China and the outside worlds.

The Shexian guildhall of Beijing and the Huizhou merchant's networks during the Ming-Qing periods

Yuanbao XIONG

This paper mainly focuses on: 1) why native-place association rapidly emerged after the mid-16th century; 2) what economic conditions accounted for their upsurge; 3) what the socio-economic significance was made? Shexian merchant such as Yang Zhong, built the guildhall in Beijing in the 1560s, which regarded as the earliest guildhall built out of Shexian. Since then, the number of Shexian guildhalls increased not only in Beijing but also in other cities and market towns. They were strategic for gathering various social resources, establishing an effective business networks and reducing transaction costs. Native-place guildhalls had evolved over time, including the services provided to examination candidates and government officials; obtaining information, providing credit, and emergent services to the fellow merchants. They played a vital role in establishing commercial order and contributed to local community welfare.

This paper mainly focuses on: 1) why native-place association rapidly emerged after the mid-16th century; 2) what economic conditions accounted for their upsurge; 3) what the socio-economic significance was made? Shexian merchant such as Yang Zhong, built the guildhall in Beijing in the 1560s, which regarded as the earliest guildhall built out of Shexian. Since then, the number of Shexian guildhalls increased not only in Beijing but also in other cities and market towns. They were strategic for gathering various social resources, establishing an effective business networks and reducing transaction costs. Native-place guildhalls had evolved over time, including the services provided to examination candidates and government officials; obtaining information, providing credit, and emergent services to the fellow merchants. They played a vital role in establishing commercial order and contributed to local community welfare.

The merchants of Tianjin and government financial requisitioning in the Chinese civil war, 1946-1949

Wenxiang WEI

Requisitioning was a common way for government to look for extra financial resources in Chinese history. Generally speaking, merchants or wealthy class were the usual targets to levy on. This paper will focus on the merchants in Tianjin in order to discuss how the requisitioning worked in a specified time of turmoil in China during the late 40s. During the Chinese civil war, Tianjin government had been successful to rely on the merchant groups to make all kinds of requisition. On one hand, the Tianjin Chamber of Commerce assisted the government to resolve the financial problems when it was requested to. On the other hand, the Tianjin merchant objected to such an excessive requisitioning. Therefore, it was interesting to discuss how the Tianjin merchant made two different responses to the government.

Requisitioning was a common way for government to look for extra financial resources in Chinese history. Generally speaking, merchants or wealthy class were the usual targets to levy on. This paper will focus on the merchants in Tianjin in order to discuss how the requisitioning worked in a specified time of turmoil in China during the late 40s. During the Chinese civil war, Tianjin government had been successful to rely on the merchant groups to make all kinds of requisition. On one hand, the Tianjin Chamber of Commerce assisted the government to resolve the financial problems when it was requested to. On the other hand, the Tianjin merchant objected to such an excessive requisitioning. Therefore, it was interesting to discuss how the Tianjin merchant made two different responses to the government.

The opinion about Sino-Japanese rapprochement: A study based on the TA SHAN BAI JIA YAN(A Hundred Opinions from Another Mountain)

Haiyan FU

After 1916 the opinion about Sino-Japanese rapprochement became a heated topic in both Japan and China. Lee Wen-Quan, a teacher of the Tokyo Advanced Commercial School and president of China Industrial Journal, interviewed a hundred politicians, educators, industrialists, commenters and intellectuals in Japan, in order to ask for their suggestion about the Sino-Japanese rapprochement. Later he edited the book Hundreds Opinions from Another Mountain, to include all the opinions he collected. According to Lee, there were too less people in China knew about Japan, and more or less the same as Japan knew about China. Lee’s ultimate purpose is to promote rapprochement, collaboration, and flourishing China’s industry. This book is regarded as vital to know the Japanese’s view on China before the end of WWI.

After 1916 the opinion about Sino-Japanese rapprochement became a heated topic in both Japan and China. Lee Wen-Quan, a teacher of the Tokyo Advanced Commercial School and president of China Industrial Journal, interviewed a hundred politicians, educators, industrialists, commenters and intellectuals in Japan, in order to ask for their suggestion about the Sino-Japanese rapprochement. Later he edited the book Hundreds Opinions from Another Mountain, to include all the opinions he collected. According to Lee, there were too less people in China knew about Japan, and more or less the same as Japan knew about China. Lee’s ultimate purpose is to promote rapprochement, collaboration, and flourishing China’s industry. This book is regarded as vital to know the Japanese’s view on China before the end of WWI.