United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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in quality known to the trade are those either consequent on an excess of molasses (1. e. ,
inversion, owing to deficiencies in the mode of manufacture) or on a superfluity of moisture,
due to atmospheric conditions, varying with the period of the year at which the sugar is
exported. Technically speaking, and in spile of the numerous drawbacks which its crude
method of preparation presents, so rich is the quality of the cane, and so suitable the soil,
that "Takow brown" at any time contains a proportion of crystallizable sugar which com-
pares most satisfactorily with varieties produced elsewhere and under much more favorable
conditions. Ixx>king at this sugar merely as a saccharine material, western refineries would
be glad to get it, but by reason of its gross adulteration with coarse extraneous matter, it is
said not to be well adapted to the machinery in ordinary use, and this to some extent modifies
the advantages its com]x>sition would seem at first sight to offer. For this reason, and the
fact that the average cost price in Formosa has been much above that which might tempt
foreign buyers, an outlet through western and American markets has been practically closed
for several years.

From the foregoing and certain local considerations, the only two markets open for South
Formosa sugars are Japan and North China. The consumers do not care for — in fact, will
not have — refined sugar, or, what is the same thing otherwise expressed, crystallizable sugar
entirely deprived of its concomitant molasses. The Chinese market in this respect, however,
calls for a higher grade than that of the Japanese, for although they both agree in rejecting
"refined sugar," still it can not be doubted that in North China, at least, great numbers of the
consumers, while adhering to the preference for sugar containing some molasses, are not only
willing, but in many cases demand, that this latter be reduced to the minimum compatible
with what is, in tradal language, known as " raw," as distinguished from " refined." Hence
in North Giina, South Formosa sugar that has been considerably drained of its molasses
by means of the rough method known as " claying " finds a ready market, while in Japan
there is no demand whatever for it. The Japanese, on the other hand, advancing toward^
but not reaching, the Chinese standard, ask for a "brown" sugar, as light in color certainly as
is compatible with that description, but absolutely refuse to touch any that has been drained
even to the extent of bringing it up to the class known as " Taiwanfu white." Takow sugar,
containing the greatest proportion of crystallizable matter, in conjunction with the demanded
amount of molasses, commends itself, even to the rejection of the brown varieties produced
in the Taiwanfu district, to the Japanese, because they, for their peculiar uses, recognize
its superiority over the qualities less possessed of this substantial merit. To supply the
Japanese demand the whole of the crop at present produced in the Takow district is in-
adequate; and in consequence of this ready outlet, together with the causes previously
detailed, prices at the source of production are kept at a figure prohibitive of export to foreign



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THE SUGAR INDUSTRY OF FORMOSA. 535

countries for purposes of " refinement." This will also explain why no local refinery, in the
European sense of the term, could be profitably worked in Formosa; and even if the foreign
markets to which its outturn would be practically confined were sufficiently attractive, compe-
tition elsewhere must in the end prove too strong. Again, supposing it were worth while to
treat the raw material on the spot, instead of selling it for refinement abroad, the whole crop
in South Formosa is, at least under present conditions, so small that this fact alone would
probably be deemed a sufficient bar to any such enterprise. No doubt in China there may
be a comparatively small and well-to-do class to whom the attractive appearance of refined
sugar proves effective as an inducement for purchase, but their patronage must be very limited
when compared with that of the mass of consumers. But with the already large and increas-
ing importation of refined sugar to Japan, it may warrant refineries being started solely to
supply this market, although x:onsiderabIe improvement would be necessary in the preparation
of the raw sugar before it could be refined on an equal basis with the raw material as sup-
plied to the eastern refineries already in existence. As our object, however, at this time is
merely to show what opportunities for trade Formosa sugar offers, and to discover, if possible,
from the investigation whether openings exist sufficiently profitable to tempt foreigners to
engage in it, confined as they must be by the limits that we have attempted to define, we will
go on to describe such particulars of this trade as may afford necessary data for forming the
desired conclusions. Four kinds or grades of sugar are produced in the Taiwanfu district,
one of which (" lao-tsai ") is not exported, but solely used for the production of so-called
"white" sugar; while from the molasses drained therefrom in this process, a fifth variety is
got by reboiling, and known as "cha-soa." The other three kinds of brown sugar produced
in these districts are known, respectively, as "Sheung-tao," "Tiong-tay," and "Ka-pan," or
" ShifK)." They differ from each other by the care taken in manufacture, thus producing better
graining with less amount of " invert sugar," and are classed in order of merit and price as
above given, from the clean, fine-grained, dry •* Sheung-tao " down to the irregularly crystal-
lized " Ka-pan" with its superabundance of molasses. Practically the sole markets to which
the Taiwanfu sugars, both white and brown, go are those supplied by the coast ports, begin-
ning at or about Foochow, or Wenchow, in the south, and extending up to Tientsin and
Niuchwang in the north. Shanghai, Chefoo, and Tientsin are the places through which the
greatest bulk of the crop appears to be absorbed; but it must be noted that while the figures
given in the customs returns refer entirely to sugar shipped in foreign bottoms, a certain and
not inconsiderable amount is also carried away by native craft to places all along the coast
line indicated. It is extremely difficult to get even an approximate estimate of what quantity
does go away in junks, sailing, as these vessels do, from several small ports on the west coast
of Formosa not open to foreign trade. The native-borne cargoes from Takow are compara-
tively small, no doubt, because of the very much greater demand for this sugar in Japan, to
which place it is carried entirely in foreign ships. Owing to the determined action of the
various sugar guilds in China and the pertinacity which they show in boycotting any foreign
vendors ^ho venture to engage in the trade, the latter have for several years, and after losing
considerably by the attempt to overcome the opposition, completely refrained from further
efforts; hence it comes about that the only chance they have of touching sugar in Formosa is
for the Japanese market and from the Takow districts. Even here their connection with the
trade, besides being somewhat precarious, is completely limited by, and dependent on,
the good will of one or two native capitalists, who, for reasons previously detailed, may be
said to possess full command of the whole Takow crop. In this latter district, one rich
Chinese "hong " boast that they hold in their hands at least half of this year's produce, and
that, by reason of their wealth and position, they can, to a considerable extent, control the
disposal of the other moiety. Making every allowance for native vanity, it must be admitted
that the assertion is not very far off the truth ; for as a fact, there is but one other native
merchant who can, or at any rate does, make any show of acting inde|)endently of the firm
alluded to. There can be no doubt that the great majority of foreign merchants are compelled
to resort to this hong for assistance in buying sugar or settling steamer freight:* from the port.



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536 THE SUGAR INDUSTRY OF FORMOSA.

At first sight, it seems strange that this firm should concern themselves at all with foreigners,
seeing that they ship largely to Yokohama on their own account, where they have a branch
establishment As their own working expenses are necessarily infinitely less than those of
foreigners, to say nothing of the much lower prime cost at which they obtain their cai^oes,
they must always hold a commanding position in the competition, which, moreover, it would
appear they can put an end to at any time they feel so disposed. It will be obvious from this
that the openings available to foreign enterprise, even in the Takow sugar districts, have been
as limited as their tenure is uncertain, and year by year, the cooperation of foreigners has
been lessening, and there does not seem much reason for hope that, so long as matters remain
as they are, foreign merchants can look for a fairer and more reliable share of the business.
Although it has been shown that refineries, f>roperly so called, would probably be a mistake,
still a practical question remains, which may be stated as follows: Can persons with superior
means at their disposal accept the crude material as at present obtainable in the island, and,
by certain simple manipulations, produce an article suitable to the peculiar requirements of
both Giinese and Japanese markets, which will, by its higher merits, take precedence of any-
thing the native merchants can offer ? It would seem that without going to any such very
inadmissible extreme as is implied by the term " refinery " in its actual or ordinary technical
acceptation, such a ** plan of campaign " offers very reasonable prospects of success. It may
l)e urged that the same reasons which at present limit the supply of the raw material for
export by foreigners would prove obstructive to its possession for the treatment suggested, but
in reply to this, it can be said that in the Taiwanfu district (the maiu products of which offer
a tempting field for enterprise if only means could be devised for overcoming the artificial
barriers set up against foreign participation by native brokers on the ultimate markets) , there
does not exist that limited native control of original material shown to be obtained in the
Takow division ; and thus the difficulty of supply does not arise. Therefore, those who can
by rapidity of improved outturn command a supply of the latter at its source, would create a
state of matters which would, in face of the demand abroad that has to be met, render foreigners
nearly independent of any coalitions against them by rival mainland vendors. The allusion
here made is chiefly to the grades of so-called " Taiwanfu white " sugar from " lao-tsai," and
it must be understood that the process suggested does in no way affect compliance with the
aforesaid requirements of the consumers or render the produce liable to be ranked as other
than a drained variety of raw sugar, exactly similar in all details, save in superiority of quality,
to what is at present imperfectly, and very slowly, got by " claying." In Takow, however,
though there would have been under the old regime necessarily more local difficulty in com-
manding the supply of original material for improved treatment than there is now, apart from
the great demand for improved " Takow brown " in Japan, and as the principal local obstruc-
tionist is so far aware of this as to have himself attempt a partial, though rough, compliance
with the demand, by making laborious and limited selections which have already established
a name for their mark (** H. H."), there is good reason to believe that, under this pressure,
he would be more ready to cooperate further with foreigners in this direction than he would
have dreamt of doing in the semicompelitive line he lately permitted them to take up. The
sole reason, of course, for this complaisance would be that by it a greater profit might be an-
ticipated than that which the most successful hmitation, or even suppression, of foreign com-
petition could under present conditions secure. Seeing that now his influence and control
over the producers has been completely overcome, and thus any power remaining to him,
for good or evil, must simply depend on his standing as a capitalist, it would seem that by
means of the above alternative, of which the space at command only permits a hint in out-
line, participation in the Taiwanfu sugar trade, and also connection with that of the Takow
district, may l)e obtained, and this without any radical revolution either in the original methods
of growth and production or by setting up advanced establishments for producing sugars
which would have to be placed on the markets in opposition to the sugars produced by the
refineries which are in position to secure the raw jjroduct elsewhere more advantageously.

J AS. \V. DAVIDSON.



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COTTON-SPINNING INDUSTRY IN JAPAN.



537



COTTON-SPINNING INDUSTRY IN JAPAN.

I forward herewith a copy of an article on the '* Present condition of
the cotton-spinning industry in Japan,'* which appeared in the March num-
ber of the Kokumin-No-Tomo (The Far East), a native magazine, published
in Tokyo. I consider the article a valuable one, since it was prepared by
the Vice-Minister for Agriculture and Commerce, who is an exceptionally
well-informed official and a man of conservative judgment.

I have added to the statistics furnished by Mr. Kaneko, a table, compiled
from the *' Annual returns of the foreign trade of Japan,*' showing the import
of raw cotton from the United States in the years 1893, 1894, and 1895, as
compared with imports from China and British India.

For the convenience of the Department, all statements of quantity and
value have been reduced to our standard, their equivalents being given in
separate columns. In making the reductions in statements of value, the yen
has been roughly estimated or averaged at 50 cents.

N. W. McIVOR,

KANACiAWA, May ly i8g6. Consul- General,



Present O^ndition of the Cotton- Spinning Industry in Japan,
the supply and consuml'tion of japanese and forekjn cotton thread.

The couon-spinning industry in Japan began to improve in 1887 and 1888, and the amount
of cotton thread produced in the country has increased year after year, while the amount im-
ported has gradually decreased. The home consumption of this article, however, has gone
on increasing. Tlie following is a comparative table which shows the amount imjwrted and,
also, the amount produced in the country since 1888:



888..



Amount imported.



Amount produced in ihe |
country.



Total.



47»439,693
43,810,912
890 31,908,302

89' ' I7.337»6oo

892 24,308,491

893 1 '9.405»i52

894 15,942,797

895 (January lo Octo-
ber) 10,653,283



Pounds.
^'3.094,792
56,934,5x3
42,436,042
23,059,008
32,330,293
25,808,852
21,203,920

14,168,866



Kin*
5.542,438
20,938,963
32,512,250
45,300,406
64,064,925
63,632,100
92,285,550

C)



Pountis.

7,37>,443
27,848,821
43,241,293
60,257,520
85,2^.350
84,630,693
122,739,78a

C)



Kin*

52,982,077

63,749,875

64,420,552

62,644,006

t8o,975,i4o

182,705,509

tioi,854,759

(t)



Pounds.
70,466,162

84.787,334

85,679,334

83,316,528

t I 07, 696,936

1109,998,327

1135,466,829



•i kin— I'j pounds.



t Amount of export subtracted.



X Uncertain.



It will l>e seen from the above table that the amount produced in the country shows a
great increase in contrast with the decrease in the amount imported since 1890, and this is
due to the fact that the amount imported decreased as the home production increased.
The amount of consumption of both Japanese and foreign cotton thread is also found to have
considerably increased. There are many causes for this increased consumption, but the prin-
cipal one is, doubtless, that the cotton cloth woven in farmhouses for private use is now largely



Digitized by VjOOQIC



538



COTTON-SPINNING INDUSTRY IN JAPAN.



made of machine-spun thread, and cloth woven with Japanese cotton thread alone has be-
come very scarce. Moreover, the manner of living has generally become higher and the osten-
tatious customs of the time lead persons to use fine-looking cloth made of small thread, such
as Futako-ori, or other cloths which will be worn out in a year, rather than the strong cloths
made of larger thread which will last for two or three years. Again, it was the general cus-
tom of the people of Oshft and Hokkaido to use second-hand clothing, but lately they have
begun to use new clothing. The hand-spun thread used heretofore in the various localities
now gives place to machine-spun thread on account of the cheaper price of the latter, and, as
it is said that it had decreased by 70 per cent throughout the country in 1892, it is safe to say
that it has almost gone out of use by this time. Such being the condition of things, we may
assume that the whole consumption in the country is, practically, supplied by machine-spun
thread. "We may say, therefore, that the amount left, by subtracting the amount exported
from the total of that imported and that produced in the country, is the amount consumed in
the country. The following table shows the amount consumed per head in one year :



Year,



Amount consumed.



Population.



Percentage of

amount consumed

per head.



»894

»893

1892

Average



Kin.
>oi,845,759
84,799.553
80,083,563



88,896,361



Pounds.

135,454,859
"9,783,405
106,511,139



41,695,565
41,385,040
41,089,942



1x8,232,027



41,390,182



Kin.
»-4



1.9
2. 1



Pounds,
3.2
2.7
a. 5

2.8



It will be seen that the amount of consumption per head increased year by year, and this
increase is still going on at the present time.

COTTON THREAD IMPORTED FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

As shown in the following table, the cotton thread imported into Japan is principally
from England and India, very little being imported from other countries. In the space of
five years, the amount imported from England has decreased from 17,000,000 pounds to 13,-
000,000 pounds, but that imported from India has decreased from 13,000,000 pounds to
2,000,000 pounds, a wonderful decrease. This is attributable to the fact that the thread from
England is mostly small gassed, being 30-100 hanks, while that from India is large, below 20
hanks, the place of which could be taken by thread of home production. It will be seen,
therefore, that although the supply of the larger kinds of thread is sufficient, the supply of the
smaller kinds is still deficient.



Year.



F.tt gland.



Kin.
17,911,109
12,787,408
16,048,337
14,527,812
13,606,172
(•)

13,970.025
4,548,045

1892 8,258,369

1893 1 4,865,040

1894 ' a. 333,625

1395 ! (•)

•Uncertain.



1890..
1891..
1892..

j8<,j3 .
1894..
189s..

1890,.
1891..



Amount.



Pounds.
23,821,775
17,007,253
21,344,288
19,321,990
18,096,209
(•)

18,580,131
6,048,900
10,983,631

6,470,503
3,103,721

(♦)



Price.



Yen.
6,374,282
4, 453, "2
5,316,682
6,033,005
6,288,690
(♦)

3,542,529 ;
1,135,459
1,814,394 '

X, 243, 163 I

687,556 I

(•) '



$3,250,884
2,271,087
2,711,508
3,076,833
3,7*7,232
(•)

1,806,690
579,084

925, 34«
634,013
350.654

(*)



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COTTON-SPINNING INDUSTRY IN JAPAN.
Cot/OH thread imported from foreign countries — Gjntinued.



539



Year.



Other countries.



1890..
1891..
1893..
1893..
1894..
1895..



Amount.



Kin.



Pounds.



Price.



Yen,



a, 138

1,785
13,300
3,000

(♦)



2,844
2,374
16,359
3,999

(♦)



719

904

8,075

i,aio

(♦)



^366

461

4,118

617



(•)



•Uncertain.
SIGNS OF INCREASE IN THE DEMAND FOR SMALL KINDS OF THREAD.

The gradual increase in the demand for the smaller kinds of thread will be plain from
the fact that the decrease is comparatively small in the amount imported from England. The
thread from England, however, has not been altogether of the small kinds, but the larger
kinds of 20-30 hanks have sometimes been imported. The thread of home production has
succeeded in expelling the larger kinds, but as the demand for the smaller kinds above 40 or
50 hanks has increased, the decrease in the total is very small. There is no means yet of
knowing the comparative ratio of the demand for small and large kinds of thread, but from
the following table made from the Tokyo MenshishO Kumiai (Tokyo Thread Merchants*
Association), which shows the amount of thread sold during the period of the four years 1891-
1894, we see that the larger kinds of foreign thread No. 3 (16, 18, 20, 22, and 24) and No.
2 (28, 30, and 32) have decreased year after year, but the smaller kinds, No. I (38, 40, and
43), have decreased comparatively little, while the threads rated as 42, 60, and 80 hanks are
found to have been imported in increasing quantities.

Amount of cotton thread sold by the Tokyo Menshishd Kumiai.



Thread.



No. 3

No. 3

No. I

3a hanks

42 hanks

Gassed :

60 hanks..
80 hanks ..^
100 hanks.



1894.


1893-


1893.


189I.


Kin.


Kin.


Kin.


Kin.


3,300


6,303


9,495


9.783


3,700


4,000


9,370


8,508


850


1,000


1,783


1,106


700


900


909


883


4,000


4,500


3,960


3,32a


3,400


3,000


1,333


1,037


3,300


a, 000


2,053


»,344


700


800


1,654


1,432



Amount of Japanese cotton thread sold by the Tokyo Menshishd Kumiai.



Description.



Large thread (below 18 hanks),

Between 20 and 34 hanks

No. 2 (below 32 hanks)



1894. I 1893.



189a.



Z891.



Kin. Kin. Kin. Kin.

58,912 j 38,940 47,394 33,605

54,953 I 41,832 35,034 , 24.0x7

23,653 *9,955 10,849 8,140



According to the foregoing two tables, the demand for the smaller kinds of thread is gradu-
ally increasing. Again, it will be seen that the amount of home thread sold is increasing year
by year, and the larger kinds of foreign thread have been entirely displaced. This fact agrees
with what has been said before, that the larger kinds of thread are going to be gradually
replaced by thread of home production. But it is not so with the smaller kinds, as their pro-
duction is yet very limited.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



540



COTTON-SPINNING INDUSTRY IN JAPAN.



THE CONDITION OF JAPANESE-SPUN THREAD.

The number of spindles at work since 1890 is as follows:



Year.



1890

1891

1892

»893

1894

1895 (first half period),



Perpendicular
pins.



141,921
213,729
239,014
269,669

409»404
489,202



r


Oblique pins.


Total.




I", 545


253.466




i03»366


3i7»095




99.294


338,308




70.588


34^^,255




66,588


475,992




42,555


53«,757




- - . —


-_



According to the examination made in December, 1895, the number of spindles is over
632,130 and the spindles under construction or planned, over 352,427, which, when added
together, make a sum of 984,557. Moreover, as people are still planning new enterprises,
the number of spindles will exceed 1,000,000 before the close of this year.

The amount of cotton thread manufactured by ihe foregoing number of spindles is as
follows:



Year.



Amount of cotton thread
manufactured in the country.



I Kin.

1892 66,761,931

1893 67,527,345

1894 92,285.550

1895



Pounds.
89,015,908
90,036,460
123,047,400



Amount ->f cotton thread im-
ported from foreign countries.



Kin.
24,308,49*
'9,405,152
»5. 942,797
12,356,688



Pounds.
32, 4» 1, 321
25,873.536
21,257,06a
>6, 4 75, 584



By comparing the foreign and home supplies and considering the whole as regards the
amount of consumption, it may l)e said that the home production will supply eight-tenths and
the foreign production twotenihs of the whole consumption. The comparison of the amount
alone may not be proper, as the foreign thread is mainly of the smaller kinds, but the com-
parison is made only to show the general proportion.

LARGE AND SMALL KINDS OF JAPANESE COTTON THREAD.

According to the report of the Cotton Spinning Association of 1894, the Japanese-spun
thread was of the kinds between 3 and 70 hanks, and thread above 70 hanks had not yet been
manufactured. But as there was a factory which had made arrangements to manufacture
smaller kinds of thread, as well as gassed thread, in 1895, there has been more or less pro-
duction of- smaller kinds, but it has probably l)een very limited. Moreover, of the kinds be-



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 69 of 102)