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Title: The origins of the modern Japanese iron and steel industry
Author: Burton, William Donald
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 6039
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1972
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The construction of iron-refining equipment for casting guns in the Mito domain in the 1850's was part of Tokugawa Nariaki' a program of strengthening his hand and attempting to "take over" the Bakufa and its policy with regard to foreign importunities. Factional disputes which the reforms precipitated interrupted operation of the equipment in 1858 and finally caused its destruction in 1864. The loss of the reverberatory furnace and boring mill ended a program with considerable military-technological potential. Oshima Takato, the leading technical expert on the Mito project, had organized the smelting of ironstone in blast furnaces in his own domain of Nambu in order to produce a suitable iron for the Mito hansharo, but by the time his Ohashi and Hashino furnaces came into full operation, Nariaki's fall from grace removed. the northern smelters' main customer. The subsequent specialization of the Kamaishi district smelters in iron coin minting, sanctioned by the Bakufu, made them vulnerable to the new monetary policy of the Meiji Government, and the Restoration inaugurated the decline of iron-making as a regional industry in Nanbu. The Kamaishi mines were chosen as the site for a large iron smelter sponsored by the Meiji Government's industrializing organ, the Kobusho. But when English, engineers failed to adapt: European equipment to indigenous resources and local skills, the smelter failed and the-project was abandoned at a huge loss. The resources were then relegated to the Tanska's, who reverted to the use of 'simpler equipment on an experimental basis. Some persistence by-local technicians brought success in smelting and orders from the arsenals, the profits of which permitted rapid expansion and modernization in the 1890's under Government patronage. By the end of, the century, the Kamaishi smelter had accumulated sufficient capacity and expertise to be able to contribute to-the development of the larger, Government-run Yawata Iron-Works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available