【Booklet】Beginning of Cooperatives <Sangyokumiai (cooperatives) ①> Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) law(June 20, 2015)

Three-legged race to farmers relief


Yajirō Shinagawa (provided by the National Diet Library)

The Edo period ended, isolationism was solved. Meiji government promoted encouragement of agriculture, which was the main industry of the time, while encouraging the modernization such as “wealth and military strength” and “encouragement of new industry.”

In 1871 (Meiji 4), Meiji government sent a delegation to learn the politics and institutions of Western advanced countries. Tomomi Iwakura served as plenipotentiary ambassador, and Takayoshi Kido, Toshimichi Okubo, Hirofumi Ito became deputy delegates. Other young men who were expected in the future ridded on this ship as exchange students. At that time, Tosuke Hirata, 23 years old, ridded as one of them.

【Booklet】Beginning of Cooperatives <Sangyokumiai (cooperatives) ①> Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) law(June 20, 2015)

Tosuke Hirata (provided by the National Diet Library)

Hirata had initially wanted the Russian study abroad. He went into Germany, and in Berlin, he met Yajirō Shinagawa, who came for studying earlier. It was the meeting of fate. He was persuaded stop of studying in Russia by Shinagawa, he decided to remain in Germany. 2 persons had hit it off. Later Hirata was married to sister of Shinagawa’s wife and became Shinagawa’s brother-in-law. Three-legged race of Hirata and Shinagawa began from there.

At that time, in Germany, industrial revolution was in progress delayed from the UK about 80 years. Handicrafts and small producers were squeezed by large industry and exhausted. For required protection, the country founded the charity associations as one of the social policy.

Schulze-Delitzsch ( 1808 ~ 1883 ), who felt some limit of government’s charity rescue association for poverty, led the raw material purchases cooperatives and  proposed establishment of credit cooperatives based on the thought that cooperatives should be managed by the mutual aid of the cooperatives members. In Germany, Shinagawa and Hirata saw these credit cooperatives led by Schulze.

Nevertheless, of referring Hotokusha, the bill was scrapped

Shinagawa and Hirata returned to Japan in 1876 (Meiji 9). In order to ensure the capital for policy of increasing national prosperity and military power, Meiji government executed land tax amendment to impose a hefty land tax in rural areas. Land possession farmers were rubbed their lands by loan-sharking and began to fall.

In order to put the brakes on this situation, Shinagawa and Hirata tried to use the idea of Schulze-based credit cooperatives which they looked and studied in Germany.  After appointed Interior Minister of Masayoshi Matsukata Cabinet, Shinagawa commissioned the planning of the credit cooperatives law to Hirata.

Calling Hirata, Shinagawa said, ” I was greatly impressed to know success of Sontoku Ninomiya. Go to listen to the success story of Hotokusha.” Hirata visited Masae Fukuzumi, Sontoku’ famous disciple living in Hakone of Kanagawa Prefecture. (Kaoru Furukawa, “Shishino-fusetsu (snowstorms of patriot), life of Yajirō Shinagawa “)
Just before the bill submission, Kohei Sugiyama and Hirata wrote and published ” Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) theory. ” In the book, they provided Chapter X, “Hotokusha, Japanese current Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives),” which described activities and organization of Hotokusha. It was the achievements of Hirata’s research at that time.

Around the same time, the Ministry of Finance was preparing to submit the bill of Kogyo (Industrial) Bank. The ministry claimed that the Kogyo bank bill also covered rural financial system, so that the Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill of the Interior Ministry was unnecessary. In the Cabinet, Shinagawa objected squarely. “Banking system is institutes to fund only for the middle class or more persons. Kogyo (Industrial) Bank, Kangyo (encouragement of industry) Bank, and Noko bank (agricultural and industrial bank) are also useless for general farmers. Now we should put the highest priority on the Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill.”

On November 28, 1891 (Meiji 24), Ministry of the Interior submitted the ” Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill” consisting of 80 Articles to Imperial Diet. Internal Minister Shinagawa explained as the proposed reasons, “without the Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill, it’s impossible for the country to improve middle class the following persons economy and to grow the national economy so as to achieve the independence of the Japanese economy. ” It was the same as summary of ” Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) theory” written by Hirata and others.

However, the bill did not pass even the House of Lords, and the House of Representatives was dissolved. The bill became scrapped in unfinished.
History of Yajirō Shinagawa

1843  Shinagawa was born in Hagi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture
1856  Shinagawa entered the Shokason-juku school and studied with Shoin Yoshida
1862  Shinagawa made efforts on sonnō jōi movement with Shinsaku Takasugi
1865  After coming to Tokyo with Takayoshi Kido, he made efforts on the establishment of satchō alliance (alliance between Satsuma clan and Choshu clan)
1870  Shinagawa visited for inspection of the Prussia-France war and researched cooperatives
1871  Shinagawa visited Europe again and stayed in UK
1872  Shinagawa worked at Berlin legation
1876  Shinagawa returned to Japan
1880  Shinagawa was appointed as Shofu of the Ministry of the Interior
1881  Shinagawa was appointed as Shofu of the Ministry of Agriculture and established Dainihon-Nokai (Agricultural Society of Japan), appointed to Secretary-General
1882  Shinagawa was appointed as Taifu of the Ministry of Agriculture
1891  Shinagawa was appointed as Interior Minister and the Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill submitted to Congress
1892  Shinagawa was accused of election interference in the second-round election, and resigned
1896  Shinagawa published ” Shinyokumiai-teiyo (Essence of credit cooperatives) “, co-written with Tosuke Hirata
1900  Sangyokumiai (cooperatives) Law was promulgated. He was dead

History of Tosuke Hirata

1848  Hirata was born in Yonezawa city, Yamagata prefecture
1869  Hirata entered Daigaku-minamiko school (now the University of Tokyo)
1870  Hirata visited to Europe accompanied with Iwakura Mission
1973  Hirata entered into the University of Berlin
1874  Hirata studied in several universities such as the University of Heidelberg
1876  Hirata returned to Japan
1882  Hirata visited accompanied to Hirofumi Ito for the Constitution survey
1883  Hirata became the document Director, dajō-kan
1887  Hirata became the Legislation Bureau Director
1890  Hirata was elected to the member of the House of Lords
1891  The Shinyokumiai (credit cooperatives) bill submitted to Congress
1893  Hirata was appointed to the Privy Council clerk length
1905  Hirata became president of Dainihon Sangyokumiai chuokai (association of cooperatives of Japan)
1907  Hirata canvassed the country  in order to spread cooperatives
1908  Hirata became the Minister of the Interior
1909  Sangyokumiai chuokai (general association of cooperatives) was established
1923  Hirata became the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
1926  Hirata died

【Booklet】Beginning of Cooperatives <Sangyokumiai (cooperatives) ②> Rebuttal from inside of government(June 27,2015)

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