Abstract: Organization and Credit Risk Management: A Study of Mitsui & Co. in Modern China

Ryutaro Yamafuji


Mitsui & Co. is the oldest general trading company in Japan; its origin and development have been the subject of a great deal of research. Shin'ichi Yonekawa (1990) defined a general trading company as "a firm that trades all kinds of goods with all nations of the world." This definition includes the following features: dealing with all kinds of goods, and conducting business with all kinds of places throughout the world; moreover, these features result in certain organizational issues. The purpose of this paper is to study Mitsui & Co.'s organization and credit risk management in China. There were two reasons for placing focus on its Chinese branches. The first reason is the number of branches in China. Prior to the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Mitsui & Co. had only three branches. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), it had eleven branches. The second reason is to shed light on the abolishment of the comprador system. The Shanghai branch abolished the comprador system in 1899; Tianjin, in 1900; Taipei, in 1901; and Hong Kong, in 1902. Therefore, we will highlight Mitsui & Co. in China around 1900.