The Role of Cotton Spinning Books in the Developments of the Cotton spinning industry in Japan
One of the most important problems in the beginning of the cotton industry in Japan was the training of workers. The mill owners had to rapidly train the technical managers such as the gaffer and the skilled workers.
There are roughly 5 stages in the development of the cotton spinning industry in Japan running from 1867 to 1910s. During this period Japan succeeded in keeping out imported Indian and English imported yarn and woven goods. Moreover, Japan was able to export yarn to China, Korea and India.
In this paper I will discuss the important role played by cotton spinning books and particularly the role these books played in the training of the technical managers and the skilled workers.
The First Stage (from 1867): competing with the hand spun yarn.
The second stage (from 1887): competing with the Indian yarn up to 20's.
The third stage (from 1889): competing with the English 32's yarn
The fourth stage (from 1893): competing with the English 42's two fold yarn
The fifth stage (from 1894): competing with the fine English yarn above 60's
Key wards: cotton spinning, cotton spinning book, technology transfer.
This paper reports on the cotton spinning books which played an important role in the development of the cotton spinning industry in Japan.
1 The early history of spinning: hand spinning
Before the introduction of machinery into the cotton industry from England, yarn had been spun by hand with primitive tools. The process of hand spinning was as follows:
(a) The ginned cotton was opened, disentangled and cleaned with a vibrating bowstring called WATA-UCHI-YUMI(the bow).
(b) The opened cotton was rolled up onto a smooth joint of bamboo(SHINO in Japanese), which was then withdrawn, leaving what was called a "SHINO", "YORIKO" or hollow tubing of cotton, and the cotton was then ready for the spinning process.
(c) The yarn was spun from the "SHINO" by the spinning wheel(ITO-GURUMA). The yarn wound onto the spindle is called a cop or a "TAMA".
(d) The cop yarn is wound onto the hank or the "KASE-ITO" by a hand reel, and the "KASE-ITO" is then ready for the weaving process or for the market. The techniques of the hand spinning were very simple, and the process was taught to children by their parents. Consequently, few books on cotton spinning books were published in Japan.
Fig. 1 ITO-GURUM (left) and SHINO (right) (1).
2 The introduction of machinery for cotton spinning
The modern cotton spinning with machinery began in 1862. It was fundamentally different from the hand spinning, so that it was difficult for the founders of the Japanese cotton spinning industry to spin good yarn.
The cotton spinning mills in England were managed by a gaffer who was the most skilled cotton spinner in the mills. Under the supervision of the gaffer, the carder and the under-gaffer were responsible for opreateing the card room and the spinning room respectively(2). In the cotton spinning mills in England there were many skilled workers.
One of the most important problems in the beginning of the cotton industry in Japan was the training of workers. The mill owners had to rapidly train the technical managers such as the gaffer and skilled workers.
In this paper I will discuss the important role played by cotton spinning books and particularly the role these books played in the training of the technical managers and the skilled workers.
3 The five stages of the early cotton spinning industry in Japan
There are roughly 5 stages in the development of the cotton spinning industry in Japan running from 1867 to the 1910's(3).
During this period Japan succeeded in keeping out imported Indian and English yarn and English woven goods. Moreover, Japan was able to export yarn to China, Korea and India.
3.1 The first stage: competing with the hand spinning yarns
In the 20 years after the first cotton mill was opened, the cotton mills spun coarse yarn up to 13's using the Japanese and Chinese cotton, which was the shortest length in the world.
During this period, many people in the cotton mills learnt the fundamental technology and knowledge of cotton spinning, and built the foundations of the industry.
3.1.1 The first cotton mill: the KAGOSHIMA BOSEKISYO
The KAGOSHIMA BOSEKISYO (the Kagoshima cotton mill) was opened in 1867 by the Daimyo Yoshimitsu Shimazu. The spinning machinery in this mill was imported from England. The shipment contained 3 weft mules and 6 throstle frames comprising a total of 3,648 spindles, and 100 looms, with the necessary preparing and finishing machinery. The manufacturer of the machinery was the Platt Bros. & Co., of Oldham near Manchester. This company was the largest manufacturer of textile machinery in the world at that time.
The plans of this mill were sent with the machinery. The mill was erected by seven English engineers with the assistance of the retainers of Y. Shimazu. The leading figure of among Japanese assistants was Mr. Masatatsu Ishikawa, a Dutch scholar. Mr. Ishikawa had a cotton spinning book in Dutch which was a translated version of the English book given by Daimyo Nariakira, father of Yoshimitu.(4) The contents of this book was not known at all. The retainers of Y. Shimazu were taught by English engineers how to spin the cotton yarns, but what they were tought is still completely unknown.
3.1.2 The second mill: The SAKAI BOSEKISYO(the Sakai cotton mill)
In 1870 the second mill of the Satsuma domain, known as the Sakai cotton mill, began operation at Sakai, near Osaka. The spinning machinery in this mill was imported from England and was comprised of 4 twist mules with 2,000 spindles with the incomplete preparing machinery. These were manufactured by the William Higgins & Sons Co., of Salford near Manchester. The mill was erected by Mr. Ishikawa with the assistance of the retainers of Y. Shimazu who worked for Kagoshima cotton mill. They were directly taught how to spin cotton yarn by English engineers.
In 1872 this mill was purchased by KANNO RYO and converted to the government cotton mill to spread the techniques of cotton spinning.
3.1.3 The KASHIMA BOSEKISYO: the third mill
This mill was opened in 1873 by a cotton cloth merchant named Mr. Manpei Kasima at Takinogawa near Tokyo. The machinery included 4 sets of ring frames with 576 spindles which were manufactured by the William Higgins & Sons Co.
The mill was first erected by an English mechanic, but he was an incompetent person and the mill was not able to open. Mr. Kashima employed an American mechanic who was able to set up the mill and to operate the machinery(5). It was said that he had a cotton spinning book, but the contents of this book were unknown.
Fig. 2 Machinery of the KASHIMA BOSEKISYO.
3.1.4 The Government AICHI BOSEKISYO and the the JIKKI BOSEKISYO(the Ten Mills)
The Meiji Government decided to open tow government owned cotton mills and ten government financial aid cotton mills and others that were modeled after the Sakai Government cotton mill,(6) in order to bring about a better trade balance and to keep out the Indian imported yarn that was rapidly being imported in greater and greater quantities after the opening of Japan to the U.S.A., the Netherlands, England, France and Russia. Altogether 18 mills opened by 1885. These Mills were called the 2,000 Spindles Mills.
In 1872 the Government placed orders in England for the complete machinery of two spinning mills of 2,000 twist mule spindles each. The mills were erected in the cotton growing sections of Japan, one at Ohira-mura in Aichi prefecture, and the other in Hiroshima. In 1879 the Government placed an order for 10 more sets of 2,000 twist mule spindles each.
The Ten Mills were erected under the direction of a government official, Mr. Shinichiro Arakawa, and a government employee, Mr. Masatatsu Ishikawa and others. Mr. Arakawa was a graduate of the KOBU DAIGAKKO(Imperial College of Engineering)from the class of 1870. After graduating he went to England to study cotton spinning sponsored by the government of Japan.
In 1885 a meeting of the representatives of the 2,000 Spindles Mills and the OSAKA BOSEKI KAISHA(The Osaka cotton mill) was called to discuss a number of questions about how to improve the difficult situation. Two major problems were the inexperience of the people in manufacturing using machinery and their lack of capital. Mr. Arakawa gave a lecture on the difficult problems and the future prospects of the cotton spinning industry in Japan(7). In this lecture he probably quoted some tables on the twist and draft ratio, and used illustrations of the spinning machinery from E. Leigh's(8) and J. Hyde's(9) spinning books.
Leigh's book is presently owned by the KOKKAI TOSHOKAN (the National Diet Library) and formerly owned by Mr. Tomiji Hirano owner of the Isikawajima dockyard and the Tsukiji printing house. Hyde's book is owned by the NAIKAKU BUNKO (the Cabinet Library). Both books had been used by many cotton spinning engineers.
At this meeting, many representatives requested that the government translate the English spinning books into Japanese, but this was never carried out.
3.1.5 The OSAKA BOUSEKI KAISHA(the Osaka cotton mill)
The government financial aid greatly stimulated public interest in cotton spinning. In 1879 Baron Shibusawa sent Mr. Takeo Yamanobe to study English cotton spinning technology, and he stayed several months to study the Rose Hill Mill of Blackburn near Manchester. While staying at Blackburn he visited many manufacturers of cotton spinning machinery. He finally decided to introduce the Platt Bros.'s machinery which was the most suitable for shorter cotton fibre such as Indian cotton.
The Osaka cotton mill had 15 sets of twist spinning mule with 10,500 spindles which was the largest mill to exist at the time. Baron Shibusawa and others organized the first joint-stock cotton spinning company. This mill began operation in 1883.
The erection of the mill was carried out under the directions of the Platt Bros.' engineer Mr. Neald. A primary factor that led to the success of the Osaka cotton mill was that it was under the directions of the Platt Bros.'s engineer from the beginning.(10)
Before erection of the mill, Mr. Yamanobe sent three men to study the assembling technique of the spinning machinery at the government's Aichi cotton mill which was under construction at that time. Mr. Yamanobe gave them an abridged version of Hyde's spinning book and others he had translated in Japanese while staying in England(11). Yamanobe's book was not published and few manuscript copies survive. I have one of these books named the BOSEKIKI KONSI (the comprehensive cotton spinning machinery).
Fig. 3 Contents of BOSEKIKI KONSI.
The opening of the Osaka cotton mll, many large spinning mills such as the KANEGAHUCHI BOSEKI KAISYA, MIYE BOSEKI KAISYA were erected. The chief engineers employed at these mills were graduates of KOBU DAIGAKKO and the TEIKOKU DAIGAKU, the KOKA DAIGAKU(Imperial University, the Technical College Mechanical engineering Department). These engineers were sent to England to study the practical skill of cotton spinning and to purchase suitable spinning machinery for their mills. After returning to their mills, they were responsible for training mill workers to become skilled workers, although the manufacturers of spinning machinery in England sent skilled engineers to many large spinning mills.
The chief engineers in large mills usually used some English spinning books to refer to in their work.
3.2 The second stage: competing with the Indian yarn
3.2.1 The third Osaka cotton mill
By importing the Indian cotton, the cotton mills in Japan were able to spin twist 20's yarn, and consequently they were able to shut out Indian yarn. The period saw the opening of the third mill of the Osaka cotton spinning company in 1887.
Mr. T. Yamanobe visited England to purchase the spinning machinery for his third mill. He selected the Platt Bros. Ring frames suitable for spinning Indian cotton, substituting the twist mule spindles with ring spindles. After this almost all the spinning mills adopted the Platt Bros.'s ring spindles.
Mr. Yamanobe wrote in his diary in 1887 that he made 2 visits to J. Heywood of Manchester, a well-known publisher of the cotton spinning books(12).
At the same time the KANEGAHUCHI BOSEKI KAISHA was erected. The symbol mark of this company was adopted from the illustration of the bobbin for a ring spindle in Leigh's book(13).
Fig. 4 Symbol mark of the KANEBO No.3 bottom.
These facts show that the engineers of the cotton spinning mills placed great importance on the English spinning books.
3.2.2 The Japan Cotton Spinners' Association
The Japan Cotton Spinners' Association was established in August 1882 in Osaka upon the initiative of Mr. Y. Okada who was manager of the Government Aichi cotton mill. The founding meeting was attended by representatives of some of the 2,000 Spindles Mills and Mr. Yamanobe. After the association was established the members met yearly. At the general meetings, the matters concerning the technical side of the industry were discussed.
In 1888 the association was reorganized and changed its name to the DAINIHON MENSHI BOSEKI DOGYO RENGOKAI (The Japan Cotton Spinners' Association). Further, it was decided to publish a monthly paper named RENGO BOSEKI GEPPO containing reports from the various mills and data in regard to cotton and cotton spinning at home and abroad.
Mr. Yamanobe was elected to the chairman of the association. He employed Mr. J. Miyagawa, a journalist, as a clerk to translate monthly journals such as the Textile Manufacturer and English spinning books. Mr. Yamanobe decided Mr. R. Marsdens' cotton spinning book should be published serially in the RENGO BOSEKI GEPPO from the first issue.
In 1891-94 Mr. J. Miyagawa published the MENSHI BOSEKI ZENSYO in Japanese (translated version of Marsden's Cotton Spinning). This is the first cotton spinning book in Japanese published in book form.
Fig. 5 Front page of MENSHI BOSEKI ZENSHO.
3.3 The third stage: competing with the English 32's yarns
This stage began with the opening of the KANAKIN SEISYOKU KAISYA (the Calico Weaving Co., ) in 1889 which spun up to 32's yarn using the lower grade American cotton. After that the Japan cotton industry was able to shut out English imported medium count yarn up to 32's and imported English cloth such as sheetings and shirtings.
3.4 The fourth stage: competing with the English 42's two fold yarns
This stage began in 1893 with the opening of the second mill of AMAGASAKI KANAKIN BOSEKI KAISYA(the Amagasaki cotton spinning Co.) They were able to spin 42's two fold yarns using the high grade American cotton. After that, Japan cotton industry was able to shut out English imported high quality cotton goods.
3.5 The fifth stage: competing with the fine English yarns above 60's
The final problem to be solved in the Japan cotton industry was to compete with the fine English imported yarns above 60's. This was achieved using Egyptian cotton and in 1894 the NIHON BOSEKI KAISYA (the Nihon Spinning Co.) was opened by importing 48 sets of fine spinning mule with 40,320 spindles.
Generally speaking these facts indicated that the Japan cotton spinning industry had caught up with English cotton spinning industry in the field of cotton spinning technology.
By this stage, the cotton spinning engineers mainly used English spinning books and monthly journals. A few Japanese spinning books were published at the time as well.
The Japanese spinning books published in those times now are housed in the NAIKAKU BUNKO, the KOKKAI TOSYOKAN and the WASEDA DAIGAKU TOSHOKAN HARADA SENI BUNKO (the Waseda University Library Mr. Harada textile library). These are listed as follows:
Mori, Y., Bosekika Hikkei, Bousyoku Kenkyukai, (1889), Osaka.
Sanada, B., Boseki Kiyo, Maruzen,(1895), Tokyo.
Makino, G., Boseki Sido, 2vols, Maruzen, (1896), Tokyo. 263p.
Takimura, T., Boseki no Shiori, 2ed. Dainihon Syokko Kyouiku Kai, (1901), Osaka, 70p.
Hirose, M., Kinsei Boseki Jyutsu, 1st vol. Maruzen, (1903), Tokyo, 210p.
4 The Japan cotton industry standing on their feet
As a result of the rapid increase in the number of cotton mills, there was a great demand for spinning engineers and skilled workers.
To train spinning engineers, The TOKYO and NAGOYA KOTO KOGYO GAKKO (the Tokyo and Nagoya Higher Technical School) founded sections for spinning and spinning machinery. Many large mills such as Osaka, Kanegahuchi and Kurashiki and others founded their own training schools for male worker, teaching fundamental spinning technology(14). The textbooks and the study aid books on cotton spinning were mainly translated versions of the Platt Bros.' catalogues and instructions. It was said that "most of the machinery is of English make. The first mill in Japan used Platt Bros.'s machinery and this firm (for whom the Mitsui Bussan Kaisha is an agent in Japan) still supplies nearly all of the spinning machinery. Dr. Hikotaro Nishi in his work on the Japanese cotton spinning industry, states that of some 1,800,000 spindles in the first half of 1909, about 1,600,000 spindles came from Platt Bros. & Co., of Oldham. This was about 87 per cent of the total. Comparatively small amounts were supplied by Dobson & Barlow of Bolton; Asa Lees of Oldham, J. Hetherington & Sons, Brooks & Doxey, Howard & Bulloug of Manchester and others." In this situation the translated version of the Platt Bros. were very useful.(15)
Fig. 6 Uno, R. Platt's Boshokki Kaisetsu, 2nd vol., Kogyo Kyoiku Kai, 1915, Tokyo.
In 1910 a monthly journal of the BOSHOKU KAI(the Textile World)was published by the KOGYO KYOIKU KAI (the Society of Industrial Education). This journal was modeled after The Textile Manufacturer published by J. Heywood. the BOSHOKU KAI was edited for the purpose of improving the mill engineer and foreman's knowledge of the science of cotton spinning and contained information on spinning and weaving technology, questions and answers about technology and information on spinning mills.
Japanese spinning books published from 1908 until 1915 housed in the NAIKAKU BUNKO, the KOKKAI TOSYOKAN and the WASEDA DAIGAKU TOSHOKAN HARADA SENI BUNKO are listed as follows:
Mori, Y. ed. Boseki Kikai Zu private press, 1906.
Takimura, T., Bouseki to Taiki no Ondo oyobi Shitudo, Kogyo no Nihon, 1907, 50p.
Machida, K., Bouseki Ippan, Hakubunkan, 1911, Tokyo.
Kogyo Kyoiku Kai ed., Bosyoku Yoran Kogyo Kyoiku Kai 1911, Osaka.
Kogyo Kyoiku Kai ed., Menshi Bosyoku Yoran, Kogyo Kyoiku Kai, (1911), Osaka.
Kogyo Kyoiku Kai ed., Boseki Sosyo 7vols., Kogyo Kyoiku Kai, (1911 - 12), Osaka.
Kogyo Kyoiku Kai ed., Platt's Bosyokukki Kaisetsu, 7vols., (1911), Osaka.
Kogyo Kyoiku Kai ed., Boseki Kikai Diagram Syu, Kogyo Kyoiku Kai, (1911), Osaka.
At this stage many mills issued standards for working methods of mill workers.
4.1 The first complete Japanese spinning book
In 1917 Mr. S. Watanabe published the MENSHI BOSEKI(Cotton Spinning) which is the first complete Japanese book on spinning.(16) He was a graduate of the Imperial University, and at this time he was a manager of the AMAGASAKI BOSEKI KAISHA HASIBA KOJYO(Amagasaki Hasiba cotton mill).
At long last the Japan cotton industry had a Japanese language spinning book put into its hands.
Notes and References
- Kaibara, E., Onna Daigaku Takarabako, Suharaya, (1842), Edo, p.51.
- Catling, H., The Spinning mule. new edition, The Lancashire Library, (1986),pp.150-153.
- Tamagawa, K., Wagakuni Mensibosekikikai no Hatten ni tsuite, Gijyutsu to Bunmei, Gizyutu to Bunmei, No.17(1994).
- Noshomusyo ed., Nihon Menshi Bosekigyo Ennkakukiji, manuscripts of unpublished works, (1900c,) housed in Nihon Mengyo Club.
- Tsuchiya, T., Takinogawa Bosekisyo no Soritu, Keiei Zijyo ni tuite, Keizaigaku Ronsyu, 3vols No.10, (1933)
- Tamagawa, K., Wagakuni Mensibosekikikai no Hatten ni tsuite, Gijyutsu to Bunmei, Gizyutu to Bunmei, No.17, (1994).
- Arakawa, S., Kenshi Orimono Tosikki Kyoshin Kai, Menshi Syudankai Kiji, (1887), Yurindo, Tokyo, p.67.
- Leigh, E., The Science of Modern Cotton Spinning, 3rd ed., 2vols, Palmer & Howe, Manchester, (1875)
- Hyde. J., The Science of Cotton Spinning, John Heywood, Manchester.
- Sibusawa Eiichi Denkishiryo 10vol. Sibusawa Eiichi Denkishiryo Kankokai, (1956). Tokyo, p.32.
- Okamura, K., Boseki Kaikyudan, Nihon Mengyo Club Eiichi Denkishiryo 10vol. Yamanobe
- Ishikawa, Y., Kozan no Hen'ei, private print, (1923), Tokyo, p.90.
- Kanebo Shashi Hensanshitsu, Kanebo 100 Nenshi, kanebo, (1988), Osaka, p.25.
- Toyobo, Toyoboseki 70 Nenshi, Toyobo, 1953, Osaka, p241.
- Graham Clark, W.A., Cotton Goods in Japan and Their Competition on the Manchurian Market, Washington, Government Printing Office, (1914), p.213.
- Watanabe, S., Menshi Boseki, 2vols.Maruzen, (1917), Tokyo.
Fig. 7 Front page of MENSHI BOSEKI.