Sivut kuvina

fortnightly from Seattle to Hongkong with excellent passenger accommodations. The Tõyö Kisen Kwaisha (Oriental Steamship Company) is a Japanese organization with three fine vessels running about once a month from San Francisco to Hawaii, Japan, China, and Manila. The word Maru 1 in such combinations as “ America Maru” or “ Kaga Maru” is a special suffix always attached to the name of a ship.

In Old Japan there was no official postal system, and letters were despatched by private messengers and relays of couriers. When Japan was opened to the world, some of the foreign nations represented there maintained special post-offices of their own, but these were gradually abandoned. It was in 1872 that the modern postal system of Japan was organized on American models; and it was only five years later when Japan was admitted to the International Postal Union. The twenty-fifth anniversary of this event was celebrated with great éclat in Tōkyō in 1902. The Japanese postal system has been gradually improved during its quarter-century of existence, so that in some respects it excels its model, the United States postal system, and is really one of the most efficient in the world. It includes registration, money orders, parcel post, reply postal cards, postal savings, and universal free delivery. Letter postage is 3 sen within the empire and 10 sen to all countries of the International Postal Union; postal cards are 11 and 4 sen respec

1 It should be pronounced Mah-roo, not Mă-roo'.
2 See Appendix.

tively. We also beg leave to remind Americans that letter postage to Japan is not 2 cents, but 5 cents per half ounce.

Oil is most extensively used for lighting purposes ; but gas and electricity are also employed, and bring good dividends to companies furnishing such illumination. A very large amount of oil has been annually imported from the United States and Russia; but as rich fields have been found in Northern Japan, the Standard Oil Company is also interested in a Japanese corporation, the International Oil Company, organized to work Japanese fields. Foreign capital has also been invested in the Osaka Gas Company, and is sought by the Tōkyō Gas Company, as well as by several electric and steam railway companies. The first buildings erected for the Imperial Diet were supplied with electric lights, but caught fire in some way, and were totally destroyed. This calamity was laid at the door of a flaw in the electric lighting apparatus, and so frightened the Emperor that he decided not to use the electric lights in the palace; but if my memory serves me rightly, after one or two nights of imperfect and unsatisfactory lighting, he resorted once more to electricity.

The foreign trade of Japan has increased from $13,123,272 in 1868 to $265,017,161 in 1902, twenty-fold in a third of a century. Of recent years the imports have been larger than the exports ; in

1 See Appendix.

2 See table in Appendix. In 1902 the exports footed up almost $130,000,000, and the imports more than $135,000,000.

1898 they were more than $55,000,000 in excess; in 1900, almost $41,500,000 in excess; but in 1901 the difference was only about $1,750,000. The chief articles of export are silk (either raw, or partly or wholly manufactured), cotton yarn and goods, matches, coal, high-grade rice, copper, camphor, tea, matting, straw braid, and porcelain. The principal imports are raw cotton, shirting and printed cotton, mousseline, wool, cotton velvet, satin, cheap rice, flour, sugar, petroleum, oil cake, peas and beans, machinery, iron and steel (including nails and rails), steamers, locomotives, and railway carriages. The exports are sent chiefly to the United States, Great Britain and colonies (especially Hongkong), China, and France ; while the imports come mostly from Great Britain and colonies (especially England, India, and Hongkong), the United States, Germany, France and colonies, and China.

The variety in the geographical distribution of the imports of Japan may be faintly illustrated by the following partial list of supplies taken by an American family from Tōkyō to the summer resort of Hakone: soap from England and America, cocoa from England, butter from California, cornstarch from Buffalo, N. Y., Swiss milk, Holland candles, pickles from England, Scotch oatmeal, American rolled oats and cracked wheat, flour from Spokane Falls, Washington, canned goods from San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago, and Omaha, and evaporated cream from Illinois.

The first mixed corporation, composed of Japanese and foreigners, to be licensed under the new Commercial Codes after the new treaties went into effect in 1899, was the Nippon Electric Company, in which a large electric company of Chicago is specially interested.

Japan has several stock exchanges and chambers of commerce in various localities, and these are all under the strictest supervision and close restrictions.

It was in 1872 that National Bank Regulations were first issued, and a few banks were established; but in 1876 it was found necessary to make radical amendments in those regulations in the way of affording greater facilities for the organization of banks. The result was that by 1879 there were 153 national banks in the country; and in 1886 the further organization of national banks was stopped. In the mean time the Yokohama Specie Bank had been organized (in 1880) for the support of the foreign trade; and (in 1882) the Bank of Japan (Nippon Ginko) had been organized to “secure proper regulations of the currency." In 1897 the Industrial Bank, and later provincial agricultural-industrial banks were organized to give special banking facilities to local agricultural and industrial circles. The Bank of Formosa, the Colonial Bank of Hokkaido, and a Credit Mobilier complete the list of official institutions. By 1899 all the national banks had either been changed into private banks or had gone out of existence. Private banks number over 1,800, of which the Mitsui, the Mitsubishi, the Hundredth, the Sumitomo, the Fifteenth (Nobles”), the First, and the Yasuda are the strongest. Savings

[graphic][merged small]
« EdellinenJatka »