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M ~ C CQ




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The study of factory legislation in the making is a fascinating sub­
ject of investigation in any country and under any system of law or
government. The whole idea of the application or the legislative
method to the solution of social and economic problems is still so
novel and experimental in all countries, even in the oldest industrial
civilizations, that we all have much to learn from the experience
everywhere and especially from that of Japan, which has passed so
rapidly, and withal so successfully, from an agricultural to a domi­
nant industrial economy and has adapted, rather than merely imi­
tated, and incorporated into oriental lire and tradition the standards,
methods, and processes of the occidental factory svstem.
To anyone familiar with the detailed history of the English fac­
tory acts of a century and more ago, and of the early labor legislation
in various States of the American Union 50 years ago, there is a
curious parallelism, probably wholly unrelated and unconscious, to
the remarkably rapid developments of the last 1 years in Jajaan.
Both in the problems and difficulties encountered and in the devices
employed to make legislation and administration effective this paral­
lelism under such different conditions of environment is most interest­
ing and instructive. Although Doctor Matsuoka has brought to her
task, as she has outlined it and carefully circumscribed it in the
preface, peculiar qualifications by reason of her long and patient
studies oi American and European efforts to promote and conserve
the welfare of women and children, she modestly disclaims having
made any new or startling discoveries or having done more than
open the door and point the way to a better understanding of motives
and underlying principles of the protective labor legislation for
women and children in the Japanese textile industries, which are
the dominating industries of her country.
Valuable as many of the results of this study, in my judgment,
wi 1 prove to be to American readers, the greatest service Doctor
Matsuoka has rendered and the chief value and significance of her
study consist in the discriminating use and interpretation of origi­
nal materials and sources of information, mostly official, unknown
and inaccessible to those who do not read the Japanese language.
Perhaps the most helpful word of introduction I can give will be
to explain who some of these responsible authorities are whom she
cites or quotes most frequently. First of all—and there is scarcely
a second in his class—is Dr. M:noru Oka, formerly a high Govern­
ment official and now vice president and director of the Tokyo NichiNichi, one of the dai y papers of largest circulation in Japan. In
the year he graduated in politics at the Tokyo Imperial University
he passed the higher civil service examinations and soon became
councilor of the Legislation Bureau in the Department of Agri­
culture and Commerce; later he became secretary of the department.



and later still director of the Trade and Industry Bureau of the same
department. This was in the critical period before 1911, when the
Government’s plans for factory legislation were being formulated
and discussed. During this period Doctor Oka was sent on tours of
investigation of industry and commerce to Europe, Java, Straits
Settlements, United States of America, Mexico, and South America.
He also served as chief of the insurance sections of the department
and as a member of many of its committees. From 1919 until his
retirement in 1925 he was twice director of the Bureau of Commerce
and Industry, which, in its relations to the development and enforce­
ment of labor legislation, stood very much in the same position as the
Bureau of Social Affairs now does. He has been a delegate to many
international economic and labor conferences and was the chief
Government delegate of Japan at the First International Labor Con­
ference in Washington in 1919 in pursuance of Part X I I I of the
treaty of Versailles; also Japanese delegate to the Paris Peace Con­
ference and a member of the conference’s commission on interna­
tional labor legislation, which drafted Part X I I I of the treaty. I f he
is not entitled to be called the “ father ” of the Japanese factory acts
because he was not a member of the legislative assemblies that adopted
them, he was at least the guiding spirit in their drafting and in the
preparation of the ordinances and regulations for their application
and enforcement which, under the Japanese system of legislation,
are often more important than the original enactments. It would
be hard to find a better qualified person to testify as to what went
on behind the scenes in the long struggle and dramatic history pre­
ceding the first factory act, that of 1911. Fortunately he has made
himself the “ historian ” of the Japanese factory acts in his monu­
mental Treatise on Factory Legislation (Kojo-Ho Ron), published
in 1917, but unfortunately only in Japanese. A few scraps of it have
appeared in English in articles by Doctor Oka and others. Doctor
Matsuoka has very properly placed great reliance on this source.
Comparable statistics from official sources covering any consider­
able part of even the brief 15 years of regulation, and pertaining to
the conditions regulated and the effectiveness of the regulation, are
exceedingly difficult to obtain even with the most complete access to
Japanese sources. This is partly due to the complicated system of
national and prefectural or local administration, and to the rapid
changes in the scope of regulation and in the national agencies for
its direction and supervision. Doctor Matsuoka has wisely confined
such statistical material as she presents to strictly official sources,
though this has meant in many cases the omission of any attempt at
quantitative measurement and the reliance upon descriptive accounts
and interpretation of events by competent observers. Just as in the
early days of the English factory legislation both legislators and
the general public relied largely for guidance upon the first factory
inspectors and their official reports, as well as their unofficial con­
tributions to a critical discussion of their problems and to construc­
tive suggestions for their solution, so in Japan Doctor Matsuoka
has found that in addition to valuable official reports of investigating
commissions, of factory inspectors, and of such governmental agencies
as the Bureau of Social Affairs, there is a wealth of reliable material
in books and papers contributed to unofficial publications by persons
who have held or are holding high official and responsible positions



and have more than a perfunctory and bureaucratic interest in their
work. No small part of the value of this study to foreigners will
consist in making them acquainted with the thought and efforts to
improve social conditions of such men as J. Kitaoka, for several
years chief factory inspector; T. Katsura and S. Kimura, both of
whom have had important duties in the Bureau of Social Affairs;
K. Takahashi, a brilliant young financial writer, formerly on the
staff of the Oriental Economist, who began as a shop boy and, after
graduating in commerce at Waseda University, had business ex­
perience in the service of the Kuhara Mining Co.; S. Yoshisaka, now
chief of the permanent delegation to the International Labor Or­
ganization at Geneva and Japanese representative on the governing
body of the organization, formerly chief factory inspector in the
Bureau of Social Affairs in Tokyo; Dr. Iwao F. Ayusawa, chief
Japanese representative on the staff of the secretariat of the Inter­
national Labor Organization in Geneva, and others, all of whom can
speak with that competence and authority that comes from long and
varied practical experience in the making and application of protec­
tive labor legislation. Mention should also be made in this connec­
tion of Mr. Junshiro Asari, now the director of the Tokyo office of
the International Labor Office, but formerly the first executive secre­
tary and one of the founders of the Japanese Association for Inter­
national Labor (Kokusai Rodo Kyokai) , an organization founded
in 1925 on the initiative of a few leading scholars who succeeded in
enlisting the active cooperation of the leaders of all the chief work­
ers’ organizations, of influential employers, of prominent representa­
tives of the professional and intellectual classes, and finally of many
officials and Government delegates to the various International Labor
Conferences, an unofficial national organization created “ to support
the International Labor Organization and particularly to act as a
medium for hastening the ratification and enforcement of interna
iional labor conventions, and also to discuss other labor and industrial
problems.” Doctor Matsuoka has drawn heavily upon these author^
ties for interpretation and confirmation of her own observation of
conditions and of her own study of official reports and documents.
Unfortunately the greatest of the governmental commission reports
in Japan, that of the Special Factory Investigation Commission of
1900, several volumes of which were published in 1903, is difficult to
find even in Tokyo. Miss Matsuoka had brief access on the occasion
of her visit in 1929 to two volumes, which she cites—those on the
condition of cotton-spinning workers and raw-silk workers—but for
the most part she has let one or another of the above authorities cite
and reveal the information to be found in this important source.
Another very important general source for the subjects here
treated is that of the numerous publications of the Kyocho-Kai
(Association for Harmonious Cooperation), a private foundation
established in 1919 with a modest endowment of $3,000,000, part of
which is a Government subsidy and part voluntary contributions,
mostly from capitalistic sources. The association maintains an able
research staff and works in close affiliation with the Government.
Prince Tokugawa Iyesato, president of the House of Peers, has
been the president of the association from the beginning; the present
director is Mr. S. Yoshida, who was formerly director of the Bureau
of Social Affairs in the Department of Home Affairs. It has the



active support of representative capitalists, of the more intellectual
and progressive leaders of public opinion, and increasingly of late
of representatives of labor unions and of labor leaders. Among the
more than 100 volumes of publications the association has published
during the past decade there are several Japanese translations of im­
portant English, French, and German books in the field of labor and
industrial leadership and management, and it is a pity that there is
no corresponding provision for the publication in English of at least
the more important original publications of the Kyocho-Kai.
Other recent writers in English, notably Mr. Shuichi Harada in his
Labor Conditions in Japan (1928), and Dr. Iwao F. Ayusawa in
numerous places in the International Labor Office publications, have
cited and used this material, but I think it is safe to say that the
perusal of Doctor Matsuoka’s study will give the most comprehen­
sive view of the scope and significance of the Kyocho-Kai materials
that has as yet been presented to English readers.
Doctor Ayusawa has been engaged for some time in what will be
virtually a revision and bringing down to date of his excellent re­
port on Industrial and Labor Legislation in Japan (International
Labor Office, Studies and Reports, Series B, No. 16, Geneva, 1926),
which will appear soon as two chapters (Ch. X, Labor Legislation,
and Ch. X I, Labor Administration) of an International Labor Office
report on Conditions of Industrial Labor and Legislation in Japan,
which is part of a larger report on an inquiry into the conditions of
labor in Asiatic countries. Doctor Ayusawa very kindly made
available to Miss Matsuoka an early draft of this material, which has
proven very useful, and it is to be regretted that it is not yet far
enough advanced toward publication to be cited by date and number.
The reader of Doctor Matsuoka*s study will find Doctor Ayusawa’s
report well worth consultation, for the purpose of both supplement­
ing and substantiating many of her statements concerning labor
legislation and administration in Japan.
Protective labor legislation everywhere is experimental and in an
embryonic stage of development, but it is something more in strong
youthful industrial nations like Japan and the United States—it is
one of the high hopes of militant efficient democracy in industry as
well as government. It is a sort of collectivism based on mutual
consent of those directly affected, but making the public interest
the dominant controlling factor.. In any event, I am sure that there
will be many American readers of this book who will feel grateful,
as we do at Columbia University, to the Ayusawas, the Haradas, and
the Matsuokas of the younger generation of Japanese scholars, as
well as to the elder statesmen in industry, the Okas, the Yoshisakas,
the Kitaokas, and others, for the painstaking work they have done,
first, to understand, interpret, and apply the earlier occidental theory
and practice of labor legislation and second, to record and interpret
to us their experience in its adaptation to oriental life, traditions,
and customs.
C olumbia U niversity,


Sam uel M cC une Lindsay.

New York City July, 1981.

Japan has in the past 50 years emerged from an agricultural
country and become to-day one of the great industrial nations of the
world. The World Engineering Congress and the World Power
Conference, held in Tokyo in 1929 with Japan as host to those indus­
trial representatives ot the occidental countries, bear witness to
Japan’s leadership and progress in industrial pursuits.
This industrial progress of Japan is due to many factors. Gov­
ernment paternalism has played an important role in this growth,
but, on the other hand, without the cooperation and loyalty of the
great masses of people, who are the real productive forces in indus­
try, the Government could not have brought about the change.
There have been serious labor problems in Japan, and there have
been attempted solutions, but the apathy of most of the population
and the antagonism of those who benefited from exploitation of
workers prevented success. It was not until the labor provisions
(Pt. X I I I ) of the treaty of Versailles, and the first International
Labor Conference under the treaty, held at Washington in 1919, had
centered the attention of the world on labor’s major problems that
Japan awakened to her own situation. Both the Government and
representatives of public opinion studied labor problems with great
enthusiasm. The Government established a Bureau of Social Affairs
in 1922 as a central administrative authority to deal with labor
problems and questions concerning the International Labor Organi­
zation and international labor relations. The standards of legal
protection of women and children in industry became at once a
matter of increasing public concern. Improvement in labor legis­
lation and its administration began to manifest itself.
Materials on various phases of this subject exist, but no compre­
hensive treatment of the problems of women and children in indus­
try has been attempted in English. The source books are mostly
written in Japanese and for that reason are not available to the
occidental student.
The purpose of this study, then, is to present for occidental readers
some account of the working conditions existing among women and
children in the textile factories of Japan, with special reference to
the international influences at work since the beginning of factory
employment largely determining those conditions and the efforts to
improve them through protective labor legislation. My effort has
been concentrated on the textile industry because of its relative
importance and because women and children are employed almost
exclusively in its several branches.1 The conditions among farmers,
1Prof. John E. Orchard (in Japan’s Economic Position, New York, McGraw-Hill Co.,
1930, p. 115) says: “ In modern industrial Japan there can be no question of the pre­
eminent position of the textile group, including the reeling of raw silk, the spinning of
cotton yarn, the weaving of cotton cloth, the weaving of silk and mixed cloth, the spinning
and weaving of wool, hemp, flax, and other fibers, and the finishing of cloth, ft is in
those industries that Japan has had the greatest development. They are industrial




miners, and other industrial workers are excluded from the study,
because Japanese factory legislation deals almost entirely with the
protection of women and children, and these are found largely in
the textile industry. Conditions in the smaller unregulated factories
are for the most part likewise excluded, because official data for
such are almost nonexistent.
This project has been in my mind since an occurrence of more than
10 years ago. At that time I accidentally saw a weaving factory in
Kyoto, and was much distressed by the condition,s which existed.
Later it happened that there was a servant in my household who
was totally illiterate, owing to employment in a silk-reeling factory
since early childhood, ana my earlier interest was intensified. I
came to the United States to study with this project in mind. For
seven years I did practical social work as a b sis for the study and
at the same time took academic courses. But it is difficult to obtain
any dependable source books on such subjects in America. Follow­
ing Professor Lindsay’s direction, I went to Japan in 1929 to see
the actual conditions among the woman and child factory laborers,
as well as to collect exact data for this study. The most important
information on the subject was given by the chief of factory inspec­
tion in the Bureau of Social Affairs, Mr. Kitaoka, who participated
in the drafting of the revised factory legislation in 1923, and of
several other protective laws. Mr. Kitaoka recommended several
source books (in Japanese), such as: Oka, M., A Treatise on Factory
Legislation, Tokyo, 1917; Yoshisaka, S., Treatise on Amended Fac­
tory Law, Tokyo, 1927; Takahashi, K., History of Industrial De­
velopment in the Meiji and Taisho Eras, Tokyo, 1929; Kimura, S.,
Commentary on the Ordinance on Recruiting of Workers, Tokyo,
1926; Reports and publications of the Bureau of Social Affairs,
Tokyo. He also suggested a possible method and procedure of study,
and then sent me to inspect several textile mills.
For academic source^ of information and interest in this subject
I visited the Imperial University of Tokyo, the political and social
science department. Professor Kawai admitted me into his seminar,
and gave valuable information and suggested several books to be
used as source material.
Much important and up-to-date material for this study was found
in the publications of the Kyocho-Kai (Association for Harmonious
Cooperation), founded in Tokyo in 1919. Its chief serial publica­
tion is a monthly issued since September, 1920, entitled “ Shakai
Seisaku Jiho5 (Social Reform). It furnishes current information
on industrial conditions and social legislation, and an English sup­
plement gives a summarized report of the current situation of the
working-class movement. The society maintains close and friendly
relations with the Government and with employer and employee
organizations, and has a small but able research staff of its own which
is constantly engaged in researches on the following subjects: Condi­
tions of labor in Japanese industries; the progress and development
of labor and other social movements; conditions of Japanese rural
workers; cooperative movements; adult workers’ education; social
legislation, etc. The results of these investigations are published
from time to time in books and pamphlets, and the society also pub­
lishes Japanese translations of important foreign boots on these



topics. Foreign students who can read Japanese will find in one
huge volume of the Kyocho-Kai publications, frequently cited in the
following pages, a veritable mine of accurate iniormation. This is
the tenth anniversary volume, published in 1930 and entitled “ Saikin
no Shakai Undo” (Recent Social Movements). Other important
reports of the Kyocho-Kai are: Cost of Living of Japanese Workers
and Employees, a valuable investigation completed in 1923; Rules
of Employment in Important Japanese Factories; Handbook on
the Health Insurance Act in Japan; Welfare Work in Japanese
Another periodical in this field of study was found very helpful.
It is the Journal of the Association of Social and Political Science
of the Imperial University of Tokyo, published under the title:
“ Kokka Gakukai Zashi.” The official reports of the Government,
of its factory inspectors, and of its Bureau of Social Affairs, and its
departmental and legislative documents are all, of course, indispensa­
ble in any such inquiry as undertaken here, but of almost equal value
as source material were the publications of the International Labor
Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The following were consulted and
found useful both in interpreting and supplementing the Japanese
records and reports of Japanese labor conditions: International
Labor Review (monthly); Industrial and Labor Information
(weekly); Legislative Series (annual, containing the text of labor
laws and ordinances and regulations in all countries) ; the director’s
annual reports; documents of the International Labor Conferences
(annual or more frequent); the stenographic reports of the proceed­
ings of the International Labor Conferences; Studies and Reports,
a valuable series of volumes, several of which relate specifically to
Statistical data for this study are taken from Japanese Govern­
ment sources, such as the annual reports of factory inspection, etc.,
which are reliable. Their introduction and use m this study are
chiefly for illustrative purposes and to furnish a concrete picture of
general conditions.
I acknowledge with gratitude the suggestions and kind guidance
given me by Prof. Samuel McCune Lindsay, of Columbia Univer­
sity, in whose seminar on social legislation I have studied for two
years and part of a third academic year. My sincere thanks are due
to Mr. Kitaoka; Professor Kawai; Mr. Ishi, the Japanese consul in
New York City, whose kind assistance has made available Govern­
ment publications; Mr. Hiroike, of Kyocho-Kai; Mr. H. Maeda;
Mr. T. Gamo, of Industrial Welfare Society; Mr. J. Asari, director
of the Tokyo office of the International Labor Office; Mr. K. Mizusawa, second secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Washington; and
Hon. Sho Nemoto, of Tokyo, and for over 35 years continuously a
member of the House of Commons, who provided me with the min­
utes of the factory acts committee of the House of Commons in the
twenty-seventh Diet which passed the first factory act in 1911.
Thanks are also due to my American friends, Mrs. Mary Steven­
son Callcott, of New York City, and Miss Edith Sawyer, of Frei­
berg, Me., for their valuable assistance with English.
A sa M atsuoka.


Foreword, by Dr. Samuel McCune Lindsay_________________________
Chapter 1.—Introduction_________________________________________
Peculiar characteristics of Japanese factory conditions____________
Social and industrial changes since the Restoration of Meiji (1868)___
Government program for industrialization_______________________
Introduction of the factory system_____________________________
Early proposals of factory legislation___________________________
Exposure of deplorable conditions______________________________
Factory acts of 1911 and 1923, and ordinances pursuant thereto___
Bureau of Social Affairs established____________________________
Comparison of principal provisions of acts of 1911 and 1923_______
Chapter 2.—Child labor and protection of children___________________
Traditional customs and early evils of child labor________________
Poverty and social responsibility_______________________________
Washington International Labor Conference and first child labor act- _
Minimum age act and compulsory education law_________________
Minimum age act during first two years of operation_____________
Underlying cause of violations of act___________________________
Protection of juvenile workers in dangerous and unhealthful occupa­
Regulations for accident prevention and hygiene_________________
The apprentice system-----------------------------------------------------------Apprenticeship in unregulated factories_________________________
Chapter 3.—Woman workers in the textile industry__________________
Importance of textile industry in Japan_________________________
Recruiting woman workers in textile industry___________________
Labor recruited from rural districts____________________________
Young girls from farms recruited for short-term employment______
The r61e of the recruiting agent________________________________
Disadvantages of the recruiting system_________________________
Recruiting of workers ordinance, 1924, and its application_________
Recruits to be furnished.“ particulars of employment” ____________
Application for license as recruiting agent_______________________
Other means than recruiting for securing labor___________________
Requirements for admission to work___________________________
Sample form of labor contract_________________________________
Examination and training of recruits___________________________
Working hours and rest periods___________________ j
Wages in the raw-silk industry________________________________
Wage system in the spinning industry____ ____ ________________
Wage system in the weaving industry__________________________
Workers’ savings____________________________________________
Labor turnover and tenure of employment____________ _________





(Chapter 4.—The dormitory system in Japanese factories______________
Dormitory problem one of protection of young women____________
Conditions in factory dormitories______________________________
Bathing facilities____________________________________________
Meals and dining-room facilities_______________________________
Regulations for factory dormitories____________________________
Scope and application of regulations____________________________
Limitation of application of law___________________________
Fire escapes and emergency measures______________________
Sanitation and welfare provisions__________________________
Freedom and personal rights of residents____________________
Further regulation needed____________________________________
Chapter 5.—Maternity protection and welfare work__________________
Relation to international standards of maternity protection________
Welfare work in textile industry_______________________________
Facilities for entertainment and culture_________________________
Report on welfare work in Japanese industries____________ ______
Worked education movement________________________________
Workers’ welfare societies_____________________________________
Chapter 6.—Summary and conclusions_____________________________
Beginnings and paternalistic character of factory legislation_______
National importance of textile industry_________________________
Influence of the International Labor Organization________________
Future of protective labor legislation in Japan___________________
Appendix A.—Amended factory act____________________________
Appendix B.—Ordinances under factory act_____________________
Appendix C.—Minimum age for industrial employment act________
Appendix D.—Departmental regulation on accident prevention and
hygiene in factories_________________________________________
Appendix E.—Ordinance on recruiting of workers________________
Appendix F.—Departmental regulation on dormitories attached to
Appendix G.—Bibliography___________________________________



No. 558


November, 1931


Chapter 1.—Introduction
The most recent notable event in the history of factory legislation
in Japan occurred on July 1, 1929, when night work for women
and children was abolished, in accordance with the terms of the
factory (amendment) act of 1923, which took effect July 1, 1926, but
which contained an exemption permitting night work in factories
operating on a two-or-more-shift plan for three years from that
date. This important result was achieved only after years of intense
and dramatic struggle on the part of those whose interest in the
protection and welfare of women and children had already secured
a shorter factory working-day, better sanitary conditions, safety
and health measures, and prohibition of child labor for those under
14 years of age, with an exception for children of 12 years of age
who had met the elementary education requirements. But back of
even the earliest of these achievements there is a long history of
attempts and failures leading to only partial similar success.
Peculiar Characteristics of Japanese Factory Conditions
Every country has had a factory legislation history in its efforts
to secure protective legislation for its workers. Japan’s experience,
while not greatly different in general outline from that of England
and the United States, still has points that distinguish it. In the
first place the Government itself, instead of private agencies and the
humanitarians, initiated and put on the statute books most of the
protective legislation. From the beginning factory regulation and
legislation on a national scale have affected only the larger plants,
and the smaller private factories employing less than 10 persons are
still outside of the application of the law. That means that native
manufacturing industries have always been for the most part
In the second place, the dormitory system in Japanese industry,
which houses its workers in living quarters within the factory
precincts, is also unfamiliar to the Occident. Previous to any fac­
tory legislation a system of long-term contracts, which under the



peculiar workings of the dormitory system amounted almost to
peonage, worked great hardship and injustice on the unprotected
young girls of the nation. Long hours, insufficient or poor food, and
insanitary living conditions in the dormitories took their toll in loss
of health. Often, too, cruel disciplinary measures were resorted
to, in order to enforce the employer’s arbitrary commands. Girls
were the chief victims because the textile industry, of first im­
portance in industrial Japan, employed mostly females who had
not yet reached the marriageable age.
The fact that these workers were so at the mercy of this system
was largely because of the recruiters—persons who went forth to
seek the new labor necessary on account of the high percentage of
turnover in the factories. The textile industry of Jaj)an has been
subjected to harsh criticism for its methods of obtaining workers,
since it is necessary to secure the workers needed from distant coun­
try places. When taking the girl from home, paying enough wages
in advance to bind her to a condition of economic slavery, the re­
cruiter, formerly unregulated, was apt to paint conditions in a rosier
hue than facts warranted; parents were deceived, and young girls
were persuaded to enter factory work because of the natural desire
to see urban life. But the evils that ensued proved the undoing of
the exploiter. Early attempts at legislation for the prohibition of
night work proved that the Government could do little to correct
these evils without an enlightened public sentiment. With the re­
turn to their homes of girls suffering from tuberculosis and from
other diseases, however, there arose a compelling sentiment for pro­
tective legislation. In 1911 the first factory act was passed, but it
was not put in force until 1916 because the Government, with its
paternalistic concern for industry as well as for workers, wanted
to give ample notice and time for the adjustment of Japanese in­
dustry to the new burdens and responsibilities.
In the third place the international factor has played an important
role in the industrialization of Japan and in the need for protective
labor legislation. Imported industries, as most manufacturing and
especially that of textiles are called, were started uiider the strong
leadership of a paternalistic Government in order to enable Japan
to associate with western nations on equal terms, quite as much as to
profit by the economic advantages of occidental life. Naturally,
with the adaptation of the factory system to the needs and uses of
her own people, Japan looked to the west for the remedies for its
attendant evils. Hardly had the first factory act in Japan, fashioned
on occidental models, been put into force and subjected to the strain
of the war years (1916-1918) until world-wide efforts to consider
the welfare of workers and the equalization of protective measures
in all countries found expression in Part X I I I of the treaty of
Versailles, and in the formation of the International Labor Organi­
zation, in which Japan was recognized as one of the great industrial
The first International Labor Conference under the new organi­
zation met in Washington in 1919. As a result of the important
draft conventions it adopted, three of which Japan subsequently
ratified, it became necessary to readjust Japanese industry to new
standards of regulation. The amended factory act of 1923 and the
establishment of the new and enlarged labor authority—the Bureau



of Social Affairs in the Department of Home Affairs at Tokyo—was
the next step and the beginning of many efforts from that date to
the present to adjust Japan’s protective labor legislation to the
requirements of the best international standards.
In 1929 the abolition of night work for women and children did
not apply to unregulated factories and did not go far enough to
enable Japan yet to ratify the night-work conventions, though it
benefited more than 200,000 workers in Japan.1
The working conditions of women and children which have made
protective legislation necessary and how they have been affected by
such legislation will be examined in the following pages. But some
consideration of the social and industrial development of the coun­
try is necessary as a background for such a study.
Social and Industrial Changes Since the Restoration of
Meiji (1868)
Japan has undergone remarkable changes in a very short period.
To the western world she was only a geographical name until Com­
modore Perry’s visit in 1853 ana subsequently when treaties were
made with the United States and other countries by which Japan
opened the country to foreign commerce, and the feudal system which
had prevailed during centuries of peace and prosperity was abolished
by the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. The Shogun
Tokugawa, and all the feudal lords surrendered their fiefs and ancient
hereditary positions of trust. The emperor resumed his throne and
the actual power; thus the restoration of Meiji was accomplished in
As soon as the imperial regime was restored many reforms and
changes were successfully undertaken in political, social, and economic
organization. The new Government consisted of three branches,
namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary, under
one supreme sovereign. The army was reorganized on the German
system, with universal military service. The country was divided
into more than 40 administrative prefectures and all the feudal
domains were abolished. The feudal lords received compensation
from the Government in the form of national bonds which capital­
ized a part of their feudal incomes. The Government also com­
pensated the Samurai in money and bonds for the loss of their feudal
incomes, in proportion to their need.2
The democratic, social, and economic spirit of the restoration is
clearly disclosed in the charter oath of the Emperor Meiji. This
oath was taken on the 14th of March, 1868, and enunciated for the
new Japan the following general principles:
1 All governmental affairs shall be decided by public discussion.
2. Both rulers and ruled shall be united for the advancement of
the national interest.
1 In October, 1927, there were 178.800 women and children ene-ps^d in ni^ht work.
Abolition of this system also indirectly benefits probably at least 60,000 male workers.
See Kyocho-Kai, Shaikai S isaku Jiho (Social Reform), Tokyo, March, 1930, p. 3:
“Abolition of night work in Japanese cotton mills” (in Japanese), by J. Kitaoka.
2Takahashi, Kamekichi: History of Industrial Development in Meiji and Taisho Eras
(1868-1920) (in Japanese), Tokyo, 1929, pp. 80, 100 et seq.; also Okuma, Count Shigenobu
(compiler) : Fifty Years of New Japan (English ed. by Marcus B. Huish), 2 vols., London,



3. All the civil or military officials shall endeavor to encourage
private industries of all kinds, and to promote the activities of the
people according to individual abilities.
4. Moral and social defects in the nation shall be remedied.
5. Useful knowledge shall be introduced from the outside world
and thus the foundations of the empire shall be strengthened.
Following this new laws were introduced. The old feudal system
of privileges and the caste system having been abolished, all people
were declared to be equal before the law. They were then free of all
the restraints which had formerly existed. The most significant
thing occurring after the restoration was the progress made in the
economic sphere. Up to that time Japan was not financially or
economically organized on modern lines, and difficulties in the eco­
nomic situation which the new Government had to face were bound
up with the pressure and competition of capitalistic countries. The
people and the Government were ignorant of conditions in foreign
countries. Commercial treaties were made between Japan and other
countries which were disadvantageous to Japan. The only means
the Government found to deal successfully with this situation con­
sisted in taking vigorous measures to promote the industrialization
of Japan. This meant the adoption of the capitalistic economy of
other nations, the accumulation of capital, and the improvement of
labor. Private enterprise was not yet prepared to play the role of
leadership in industrialization, and the Government had to take the
initiative and mobilize national resources in the attempt to achieve
this end.
Government Program for Industrialization
.The Government program for industrialization included the estab­
lishment of model factories in various industries, operated by the
Government: First, to stimulate and encourage the development of
modern manufactures and to serve as an example of the best indus­
trial methods; second, to supply the military and naval needs of the
Government, as, for example, in the shipyards of Nagasaki and the
Yokosuka munition factories, etc.; third, to exploit natural resources,
mines, etc., in order to increase Government revenue; fourth, to aid
the export trade in order to maintain monetary stabilization; fifth,
to promote industry and commerce by the establishment of national
services, such as the post office, postal savings banks, transportation
facilities, communications (telephone, telegraph, etc.). In addition
the Government subsidized private enterprises and provided protec­
tive tariffs to promote domestic industry. In short, Government
operation of industrial establishments by occidental methods had
three objects: First, military purposes; second, the transplanting of
occidental industrial methods; and third, the mechanization of Japa­
nese national industry. Between 1880 and 1885 the newly organized
governmental factories were gradually disposed of by the Govern­
ment to private concerns. At the same time the Government gave
as much aid as possible in the form of subsidies and otherwise to
private industrial enterprise.3
* Takahashi. K .: History of Industrial Development in the Meiji and Taisho Eras in
Japanese), Tokyo, 1920, pp. 90, 91.



Another essential factor underlying the development of modern
industry was the effort, dating back to the early Meiji period, to
stimulate the growth of private capital and corporate enterprise. In
1871 Mr. Shibusawa, now Viscount Shibusawa, the beloved veteran
industrialist of Japan, published a book on The Regulation of Corpo­
rations, and in the same year the Government published a translation
of a Handbook of Modern Corporations, to encourage the promo­
tion of corporations and to educate the public in western methods
of finance. One of these corporations developed into the first national
bank, founded soon after the enactment of the legislation of 1872,
after the system of American national banks. There were 4 national
banks established in 1876; a total of 26 banks in 1877; and 151 na­
tional banks in 1879. This record development of financial institu­
tions, according to Mr. K. Takahashi,4 laid the foundation of the
capitalization and expansion of industry.
Government initiative and paternalism are the important factors
in Japanese finance, as well as in the development of her factory
system and the operation of model factories and industries by the
Introduction of the Factory System
Rice was the main product which assured the self-supporting eco­
nomic system of Japan under the feudal regime. Besides rice, farm­
ers produced tea, liquor (sake), tobacco, soy-bean sauce, lumber,
mats, and some building materials, as well as sundry other articles.
Manufactured products, chiefly for luxury consumption, included
swords, lacquer work, bronze ware or porcelain, and the products of
applied arts. In feudal times these were made by craftsmen in vari­
ous centers under the supervision of local authorities. The produc­
tion of merchandise was chiefly carried on as home industries and
was not large in quantity but valued for its quality as the chief factor
in luxury consumption. The only products not made exclusively by
hand power were flour, cleaned rice, and oil extracts from vegetables,
in which water power was used. Cotton thread, silk, and textile
fabrics were made by manual labor by the farmers in their homes.
After the feudal system disappeared the new factory system changed
the whole industrial structure for farmers as a class, but it brought
certain advantages to farmers as well as to others, due to the stimula­
tion of foreign trade which it made possible.5 In 1869, in a time of
famine, during which the country imported a quantity of foreign
rice,6 the Japanese learned very many of the advantages of foreign
trade. The main exports in the beginning of the expansion of foreign
trade were silk, tea, fish and sea products, cereals, and copper. Raw
silk amounted to one-half and tea to one-quarter of all exports in the
3arly Meiji period. These two export commodities laid the founda­
tion for the later development of Japanese industry. The new de­
mand for export stimulated other industries such as the manufacture
* Takahashi, K .: History 6t Industrial Development in the Meiji and Taisho Eras (in
Japanese), Tokyo, 1929, p. 77.
s Kyocho-Kai: Recent Social Movements. (A collection of special articles in Japanese.)
Tokyo, 1930, pp. 11, 12.
6 Foreign rice had been imported 3 years earlier as merchandise in small quantities,
but now it was required on a large enough scale to make the possibility of foreign sources
of supply widely known. See Takahashi, K .: History of Industrial Development in the
Meiji and Taisho Eras (in Japanese), Tokyo, 1929, p. 82.



of screens, fans, china, porcelain, and other distinctively Japanese
articles. This increasing produ< tion of merchandise for export w
the main cause of the rapid transformation of home industries into
a factory system. Foreign trade also affected Japanese traditional
social customs and created a home market or demand for cotton and
woolen clothing.
Exact information of a detailed statistical character concerning the
basis of manufacturing industries in 1885 upon which subsequent
progress was built is not available. Takahashi7enumerates 661 fac­
tories, privately owned and operated, of which only 53 used steam
power and 364 were still using water power, while 244 were yet in
the stage of home industry, employing only manual labor. The raw
silk industry was still in the stage of hand manufacture, while cotton
spinning, milling rice, and smelting were about the only enterprises
which were operated with steam power. More than half—in fact,
about 57 j)er cent, according to Takahashi—of the employees in all
the factories were women, including a large number of girls under
16 years of age.
After each of the three wars in which Japan engaged between
1893 and 1918—that is, the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese
War, and the World War—Japanese industry experienced a remark­
able expansion. After the World War this growth was tremendous
and Japanese factories increased from 32,228 establishments in 1909,
each employing 5 or more persons, and with a total force of 307,139
men and 493,498 women, to 43,949 establishments, employing 1,611,990
workers in 1919, and in 1922, to 46,427 establishments (including all
factories with motive power or where dangerous or unhygienic work
is performed), employing 834,314 men and 856,705 women.8
Early Proposals of Factory Legislation
With the rapid development of Japanese industry, due to the
stimulus of imported industrial techniques, the Government recog­
nized the necessity for protective legislation, applicable to both im­
ported and native industries. While factory industry was growing
steadily there was still a considerable population engaged in home
industry and in farming at the same time, constituting a large body
of half agricultural and half industrial workers. For this reason
the Government realized the need for protecting both factory and
industrial home workers. The first step in this direction took the
form of licenses, issued by the local Government authorities, which
regulated buildings and equipment generally in an effort to safe­
guard the workers’ interests and health. Finally the Government
inaugurated its policy for the protection of workers, modeled on that
of foreign countries, by a comprehensive act by the National Legis­
Efforts to secure factory legislation in Japan date back to 1882,
when the Government first attempted to formulate proposals.9 The
7Takahashi, K .: History of Industrial Development in tfce Meiji and Taisho Eras (in
Japamse), Tokyo, 1929, d. 173.
8International Labor Office. Studies and Reports, Series B, No. 16, Geneva, 1926, p. 9:
Industrial Conditions and Labor Legislation in Japan, by Iwao F. Ayusawa.
9Solano, E. John (editor). Labor as an International Problem, London, 1920, Ch. IV,
pp. 85-102: “ The protection of labor in Japan,** by M. Oka. Doctor Oka st ems to think
that workers in both imported and native industries were partially protected by prefectmal
regulations but that this was not accomplished for the native industries (tne smaller
plants and home industries) by the factory acts. It remains only an ideal, as yet un­
realized, la national legislation.



Government created an independent Department of Agriculture and
Commerce in 1881 and the next year a division of investigation was
formed in the newly established Bureau of Industry to make a study
of labor conditions and to investigate factories for the purpose of
athering data on which labor laws and factory legislation might be
ased. From these accumulated data two tentative proposals were
formulated. These were entitled “A factory workers act,” consisting
of 5 chapters and 46 articles, and “A factory workers and apprentices
act,” consisting of 4 chapters and 31 articles.1 These proposals
were dropped, however, after consultation with other chiefs of
divisions in the Government, on the ground that such legislation
would effect social and economic changes too far reaching for the
time. In 1897 the Government again drafted a proposal consisting
of 5 chapters and 35 articles. Before this proposal was introduced
in the Imperial Diet, however, the Diet was dissolved and no action
was taken in the matter. In 1899 another attempt was made to enact
factory legislation on the part of the Government, which realized
the necessity of bringing about a consensus of public opinion on this
subject, in order to facilitate the passage of its bill in the Imperial
Diet. With this object the Government consulted chambers of com­
merce throughout the country by circulating draft proposals of legis­
lation among them for consideration. The Government also con­
sulted the special commission of agriculture, commerce, and industry,
which was established in the Department of Agriculture and Com­
merce. It was found that the majority of the members of this com­
mission admitted the necessity for factory legislation. They sub­
mitted amendments to and modifications of these proposals and also
recommended further inquiry and investigation of general working
conditions before final drafting of the Government proposals was


Exposure of Deplorable Conditions
The Government, acting on this recommendation, appointed in
1900 a temporary staff of experts in various fields to make a thorough
investigation of industrial conditions. The results of this investiga­
tion were presented in the reports of the special commission in the
Department of Agriculture and Commerce, to which these experts
were attached. Mr. Kitaoka, now chief of iactory inspection in the
Bureau of Social Affairs, has recently said that the most important
and valuable sources of information for the history of labor legisla­
tion and of working conditions in Japan are the official reports on
working conditions in industry of this special commission appointed
by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce in 1900. The com­
mission’s investigation covered a period of two years, and in 1903
several special reports on workers’ conditions in the different
branches of the textile and other industries and two additional vol­
umes on working conditions in industry in general were published.1
1 Oka, M .: Kojo-Ho Ron (A Treatise on Factory Legislation), Tokyo, 1917. See pp.
3-9 for full Japanese text of both p-oposals. But as Junshiro Asari, director of the Tokyo
office of the International Labor Office, says: “ These early bills were more imitations of
th<- legislation of western countries than adaptations to actual conditions in Japan.”
(Quoted from The Development of the Social Movement and Social Legislation in Japan,
Data Papers, No. 15, Institute of Pacific Relations, Kyoto Conference, Kyoto, 1929, p. 29.)

» See Kyocho-Kai, Social Reform (monthly), Tokyo, March, 1930, p. 5: “Abolition of
night work,” by J. Kitaoka.



According to the reports of the special commission the actual con­
ditions of labor in the textile industry were indeed deplorable.
Young girls worked from 5 o’clock in the morning until 8 o clock at
night, as a normal day. Their principal occupation was weaving,
spinning, and silk reeling. They were employed on long-term con­
tracts, wages being paid in advance to their parents, which meant
that they had little liberty or freedom of choice, and were in a situ­
ation analogous to that of forced labor. Absolute obedience to the
employer was the first and foremost requirement. For example,
girls in certain weaving factories were forced to work from 4 a. m.
to 7, from 7.20 to 12 noon, from 12.20 to 7 p. m. and from 7.20 to 12
midnight, totaling 19 hours a day. This meant that these girls had
three meal periods, totaling one hour a day, which also included their
rest period. Sometimes there was no mealtime, but they were given
cooked rice balls to eat while they worked. One day’s work con­
sisted of finishing two tan of cloth (56 feet long and 1 foot wide)
woven by hand, so that the less skilled girls were forced to work until
midnight in order to complete their daily task. Failure in finishing
their daily task was inevitably followed by severe corporal punish­
ment. Long hours of labor and short rest periods, poor food, and
unsanitary conditions caused serious ill health among the workers.
Many sought relief by running away, but efforts to escape were so
hopeless or likely to entail more serious consequences that they
gradually became resigned to their fate. Factories were inclosed by
walls with heavy gates, well-guarded, and one case was noted where
the police raided a weaving factory and found it stronger than most
Examples cited in the report on the spinning industry show that
the relay or shift system which prevailed in this industry consisted in
dividing the workers into two groups, who took 10-day turns at work­
ing nights. The normal working-day was 12 hours, but when a
worker from either group was absent her place had to be filled, which
meant that some workers were employed for 36 hours continuously,
doing their own tasks and those of absent fellow workers.
Other examples cited in the report concerning silk-reeling factories
showed that “ long working hours without rest periods prevailed in
this industry.” In Nagano Prefecture 16 to 17 working hours for
young girls in silk reeling was the rule, and these girls had no rest
period whatever. Even the three meals were provided while they
were reeling the silk thread. Some factories had posted notices to
the effect that mealtimes must not exceed five minutes. The regular
working-day of some of the factories was from 12 to 13 hours, but
toward the close of the day the hands of the clock were often set
back. It was customary for silk-reeling factories to blow the whistle
at the beginning and the end of the day, but this custom was dis­
continued so that the retardation of the clocks would not be detected.1
With the advice of the special commission appointed in 1900, a
proposal was drafted in November, 1901, by the Government, for a
general factory act which it intended to introduce in the Diet in 1902.
1 Japan. Norin-Sho (Department of Agriculture and Commerce). Special Factory In­
vestigation Commission, 1900: Menshi Boseki Shokko Jijo (Condition of Cotton-spinning
Workers), 1903, p. 29; and Kiito Shokko Jijo (Condition of Raw-silk Workers), 1903, pp.
18 and 58, quoted in Kyocho-Kai, Social Reform, Tokyo, July-October, 1930: “ The indige­
nous labor-capital relationship in Japan," by Prof. K. Hatano.



But the bad economic situation and the impending struggle between
Japan and Kussia made it inopportune, and it was not brought before
the Diet until 1909. Opposition on the part of employers to the
restriction of night work was so strong at that time, however, that
the Government withdrew it, fearing that the night-work prohibition
would endanger the passage of the whole bill. The Government,
nevertheless, was firmly determined to adhere to its bill. The next
year it was submitted to the Imperial Diet after further consultation
with the chambers of commerce throughout the country and with
the economic investigation commission of the Department of Agri­
culture and Commerce. The following year the first Japanese factory
legislation was passed in both the upper and lower houses. But the
factory act of 1911 did not go into effect until applied by the order in
pursuance of the factory act of 1916, which contained the regulations
putting the factory act in full operation on September 1, 1916.
Factory Acts of 1911 and 1923 and Ordinances Pursuant Thereto
The factory act of 1911, the first important law in Japan for the
protection ox workers, which contained only 25 articles, embodied
the general principles of legislation that had been under public
discussion for more than 30 years as an official proposal.1 During
this period the competent (government) minister had changed 23
times; the chief of the Bureau of Industry, who took the leadership
in drafting the measure, had changed 15 times. Before the text of
the act was finally adopted it had been revised and resubmitted by
various authorities more than 150 times. So writes Dr. Minoru
Oka,1 who served many years as chief of the Bureau of Industry
both before, during, and after the year 1911. Yet this act required
so much expansion that the decree of August 2, 1916, putting it into
effect and the detailed regulations issued thereunder required 42
and 31 articles, respectively.
As soon as the act, ordinances, and regulations were promulgated
the experts who had done most to create it demanded a revision of
the act. It was pronounced spineless and a deformed child, because
of the serious defects of postponing the prohibition of night work
for 15 years, and permitting children to be employed at 12 years of
age when they had not finished the elementary-school course, and in
certain light industries (manufacture of matches, etc.) children of 10
years of age. The working-day for women and young persons was
put at 12 hours (11 hours actual working time) but could be ex­
tended 2 hours by special permission in the raw-silk and silk-weaving
industry, which employed the largest number of workers.1
Bureau of Social Affairs Established
Other considerations, however, were destined to bring about speedy
revision. After the first International Labor Conference in Wash­
1 For text of act, see International Labor Office Bulletin, Vol. VI, English ed., London,
1911, p. 267; and for text of Imperial Ordinance No. 153, dated Aug. 2, 1916, putting the
factory act into effect on Sept. 1, 1916, see Bulletin, Vol. XII, London, 1917, d. 27. For
text of act and ordinance as amended, see Appendixes A and B (pp. 73 and 76).
1 Oka, M .: Kojo-Ho Ron (A Treatise on Factory Legislation). Tokyo. 1917, p. 1.
“ Asari, J .: The Development of the Social Movement and Social Legislation in Japan.
Tokyo, 1929, p. 81.



ington in 1919, in which Japan participated under the Treaty of
Versailles, following the establishment of the International Labor
Organization under the same treaty, Japan established in October,
1922, the Bureau of Social Affairs to deal with all labor problems,
including international labor questions. The Bureau of Social
Affairs was placed under the Minister of Home Affairs and its
importance is so great that it is almost a separate department
or ministry in itself. According to Imperial Decree No. 460 of
1922, the following subjects come under the jurisdiction of the
bureau: (1) General labor questions; (2) enforcement of the
factory act; (3) mining workers’ protection (under the mining
acts); (4) enforcement of the minimum age for industrial employ­
ment act; (5) labor disputes; (6) social insurance; (7) relief and pre­
vention of unemployment; (8) International Labor Organization
matters; (9) relief and charity; (10) child protection; (11) army
and navy relief; and (12) other social work.1
Within a month after ‘the Bureau of Social Affairs was established,
in November, 1922, an investigation was begun of the various enact­
ments of labor legislation. The bureau decided to start at once the
revision of factory legislation. It drafted an amendment to the
factory legislation, which was referred to the Department of Home
Affairs and to chambers of commerce throughout the country and
was given publicity also in the press. The main points of the revision
were as follows:
1. The application of the law was extended to factories employing
at least 10 persons instead of 15, and to all factories regardless of the
number of employees if the work was dangerous ana injurious to
2. Limitation of the working age of young persons, making chil­
dren under 16 instead of 15 protected workers.
3. The hours of the working-day for protected workers were lim­
ited to 12 for workers in the textile industry until August 31,1931.
4. The prohibition of night work for protected workers, which the
1911 legislation had deferred until August 31,1931, was, by the revi­
sion of 1923, postponed only three years after it became effective in
1926. However, the revised legislation was delayed in its enforce­
ment by the earthquake catastrophe of 1923, and the night-work
prohibition did not go into effect until 1929.
5. Night work, from 10 p. m. to 5 a. m., was prohibited, but the
occupier of the factory could change these limits to 11 p. m. to 6 a. m.
“ when permission was obtained from the proper authorities.”
Replies concerning this revision were received from many inter­
ested parties, especially from the Raw Silk Association and the
Spinning Association, the two most important associations of manu­
facturers. Both associations made certain suggestions, and the
remarkable fact was that neither of them opposed prohibition of
night work nor the shortening of the working-day. This fact indi­
cates to what extent public opinion had advanced in the realization
of the necessity for the improvement of labor conditions.
MJapan. Shakai Kyoku (Bureau of Social Affairs). Shakai Kyoku Kankei Jimu
Gaiyo (Outline of Work of Bureau of Social Affairs). Tokyo, 1928, pp. 1-4.



Comparison of Principal Provisions of Acts of 1911 and 1923
The resulting revised factory legislation included the factory act
(amendment) of March 29, 1923,1 and the minimum age for indus­
trial employment act of March 29, 1923 1 (both of which were put
into effect July 1, 1926, by Imperial Decree No. 152), Imperial
Decree No. 153 amending the decree of August 2, 1916, and the
regulations issued under the first factory act of March 28, 1911.1
The main points of the revision2 compared with the 1911 act are as
1. Application of legislation:
(a) The 1923 act is applicable to any factory where 10 or more
persons (15 in 1911 act) are regularly employed, and where the
work is of a dangerous nature or injurious to health, regardless of
the number of employees.
2. Minimum age:
Under the 1923 act2—
( a) Children under 14 years of age are prohibited from engaging
in industrial employment.
(b) Children between 12 and 14 who have completed their ele­
mentary education are allowed to enter employment.
( c ) When the minimum age for industrial employment act went
into force children more than 12 years of age, already employed,
were allowed to continue in their employment.
Under the 1911 act—
(a) Children under 12 years of age were forbidden to enter
(&) Children between 10 and 12 years were allowed to work at
light tasks when permission had been obtained from the adminis­
trative authorities.
3. Limitation of protected workers:
(a) The revised legislation stipulated that women and children
under 16 years of age are protected workers. However, until three
years after the enforcement of the revised legislation protected
workers were to include persons of 15 years of age. The 1911 act
stipulated that women and children under 15 years should be classed
as protected workers.
4. Working hours for protected workers:
The working-day is to consist of 11 hours as a maximum, and
to include 1 hour at least as a rest period if the legal working hours
exceed 10.
(&) For factories which produce export silk fabrics or which are
engaged in silk reeling or cotton spinning, until August 31, 1931,
working hours are prescribed as 12 a day. However, when the
factory divides workers into more than two groups and employs
them on a shift system this regulation shall not apply. The 1911
1 International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1923, Jap. 1, Geneva. See Appendix
A (p. 73).
” Idem. 1923, Jap. 2, Geneva. See Appendix C (p. 87).
MIdem. 1926, Jap. 1, Geneva. See Appendix B (p. 76).
2 Kyocho-Kai, Social Reform, October, 1926, says that the revised factory acts will
bring under regulation, according to estimates of the Bureau of Social Affairs, more than
18,000 new factories and more than 124,000 additional protected workers.
2 The minimum age provision was contained in article 2 of the 1911 factory act, but
was omitted when that act was revised in 1923 and in conformity with the international
labor convention on minimum age (industry) at the Washington Conference this matter
was dealt with in a separate act.



legislation laid down the maximum working-day as 12 hours, and in
the textile industry permitted 13 hours a day until August 31,1931.
5. Night work of protected workers:
(a) The hours from 10 p. m. to 5 a. m are “ midnight.” All work
during this time is prohibited. However, protected workers may
be employed until 11 p. m. when the occupier obtains the permission
of the local authorities.
(&) Exceptions provided in the 1911 act for work which for special
reasons necessitates employment at night or must be carried through
without interruption, etc., are all abolished.
When workers are divided into two groups and employed on
a shift system, until June 30, 1929, night work is permitted. The
1911 act prohibited night work from 10 p. m. to 4 a. in. (Art. 4.)
However, even this prohibition was subject to exceptions and did
not become absolute for protected workers under the 1911 act; that
is, for young persons under 14, and women under 20 years of age.
6. Maternity protection:
(a) The employment of women during the six weeks following
childbirth is prohibited, and prospective mothers may stop work
for a maximum period of four weeks preceding confinement.
(b) When the prospective mother makes application to stop work
within four weeks of confinement the employer must not hold the
woman to her job. (Regulation 9 under art. 12.) Mothers with
children under 1 year may demand intervals for feeding twice a
day, each not exceeding 30 minutes, during working hours. (Art.
12.) This is the maternity protection provided by the revised legis­
lation of 1923. In the legislation of 1911 employment of women "for
five weeks following childbirth was prohibited. However, with the
doctor’s permission, she might be employed at lighter tasks, three
weeks after childbirth. The 1911 act had no provision for the period
preceding childbirth, but the revised legislation included such pro­
vision in conformity with the international labor convention.
7. Compensation for accidents or disability:
The 1923 act makes compensation for accidents or disability,
including sickness, obligatory without the exception in the 1911 act
of cases where there was “ serious fault ” on the part of the worker.
The compensation or relief is extended in case of death, to a y^
person dependent upon the workers’ income at the time of his death.
Among these dependents are included “ informally married wives 5;
that is, women whose marriages are not yet legally registered. An
investigation of 3,417 establishments, employing 101,166 married men
and 41,612 married women showed about one-fifth in each group were
“ informally married.”
In case of disability a worker is entitled to compensation of 60 per
cent of his daily wages for the first 180 days; thereafter compensa­
tion is reduced to 40 per cent of the daily wage. Compensation for
accidents ranges from the sum of 40 days’ wages to 540 days’ wages.
The family ox the deceased worker is granted a benefit equal to his
wages for 360 days, and funeral expenses equal to 20 days’ wages,
or a minimum of 20 yen (about $10). The minimum lump-sum com­
pensation for total disability of a worker is 540 days’ wages, after
which the employer has no further responsibility for him. Lump­
sum compensation is provided for the disabled worker who has not



recovered after three years from the date of his first medical treat­
ment. On comparing this provision with that of occidental coun­
tries, it seems inadequate. However, the 1911 legislation provided
compensation only when the worker was not at fault, and for the
first three months of absence the worker received one-half his daily
wages, after which time it was reduced to one-third his wages. Com­
pensation for disability ranged from 4 days5wages up to 170 days’
wages, which is about one-third of that stipulated in the revised
standard. Compensation for the family of the deceased, funeral
expenses, and lump-sum compensation amounted to only about onethird of that stipulated in the new law.
8. Provision for the dismissal of the worker:
(a) Revised legislation provided, in an imperial decree enforcing
the amended act, that when the employer wishes to dismiss a worker
or to break his contract with a worker, he must give 14 days’ notice
or grant 14 days’ wages. Provision was not made for this in the
1911 legislation.
9. Regulations regarding working conditions:
(a) In a factory which employs at least 50 persons continuously
the employer must make regulations regarding working conditions
and notify local authority concerning them. The regulations must
include the following articles:
(1) Daily time for beginning and ending work, rest periods, holi­
days, time for changing shifts; (2) methods of payment of wages
and time for that payment; (3) board and other expenses of the
worker; (4) penalties; (5) regulations for dismissal. Local authori­
ties have the authority to change any of these articles.
(i) The employer is bound to make clear to the employee the
method of wage payment.
The 1911 act had no provision regarding the regulation of work­
ing conditions. When the revised factory legislation was drafted
Kyocho-Kai recommended strongly that consideration be given to the
method of wage payment. The recommendation was adopted by the
Bureau of Social Affairs. A clear understanding of conditions of
wage payment is necessary for any worker in* order that he may
budget his expenses and his time. It is now the duty of the employer
to make such matters clear to his employees.
10. Report of accidents :
(а) When a worker becomes ill, or meets with an accident in the
course of his employment, or when the worker is absent for more
than three days recuperating, the occupier of the factory must notify
local authorities.
(б) When the following incidents occur in a workshop or in any
building attached thereto the occupier of the factory must notify
local authorities without delay: (1) Fire or explosion; (2) explosion
of a steam boiler or vessel under pressure; (3) breakage of a flywheel
or machine revolving at high speed; (4) breakage of a crane, or
elevator chain, or beam support; (5) collapse of a chimney or roof
tank; (6) any accident causing death or injury to more than five
persons at the same time.
The act of 1911 provided in article 24 of the regulations pursuant
thereto that the occupier of the factory notify the local authorities
in case of accident or illness of a worker only m factories employing



more than 50 people. The report was to be sent in before the 20th
day of the following month. By this provision, therefore, a factory
employing 50 or more people was responsible, but other factories,
where fewer than 50 people were employed, were outside the scope
of this law. The revised law remedied this defect, thus protecting
the health and safety of a much larger number of workers.

Chapter 2.—Child Labor and Protection of Children
Nearly 53 per cent of the factory workers of Japan are under 16
years of age. According to the latest data available1the total num­
ber of factory workers in regulated factories was 1,869,668. Workers
under 16 years of age numbered 989,390, of whom 958,248 were girls
and 31,142 were boys. More than 80 per cent of these girl workers
are in the textile industry. This signifies that the most important
industry in Japan is dkrried on chiefly by workers under 16 years
of age. It was owing to the hesitancy or opposition of employers
in this industry that the factory act of 1911 was pending for more
than 30 years before it was enacted. It met with great opposition
on economic grounds because, obviously, its main purpose was the
protection of these young workers.
Traditional Customs and Early Evils of Child Labor
According to the social customs of the Japanese family system,
children inherit their father’s occupation. Under the feudal system,
for example, children of merchants remained merchants, and children
of samurai remained samurai. Sometimes children were sent into
apprenticeship to be trained for long periods until they should be­
come master workers. One of the characteristics of apprenticeship
was that apprentices were treated as members of the family and there
was a sentimental relation between master and apprentice. With the
restoration of Meiji, in 1868, new social, political, and economic in­
stitutions were established and occidental civilization was ushered in
with its characteristic economic organization of the factory system.
Entirely new labor problems arose concerning wages and working
conditions. With the development of modern and imported in­
dustry, and the beginning of a labor movement, restriction of child
labor and prevention of the premature employment of children were
among the first items in the new program of labor reform and of
social legislation, as it had been in other countries where the indus­
trial revolution and the development of machine industry made child
labor possible and apparently cheap, with all the attendant evils that
gave rise to protective labor legislation. Employers in Japan, as
elsewhere, often denied the existence of these evils until compelled
by law and public opinion to recognize them. At the third meeting,
in October, 1898, of the special commission of agriculture, commerce,
and industry, established in the Department of Agriculture and
Commerce, in discussing proposed factory legislation the opinion
was expressed by one of the commissioners opposing article 9, which
prohibited the employment in factories of children under 10 years of
age, that—
The Government proposal for a factory law is far from practical as far as
article 9 is concerned. From my experience, very few young children under 10
years of age are employed in the textile industry, either spinning or reeling.
1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report, 1928. Tokyo.




However, in match factories, for example, which I visited in Kobe there were
many children of about 5 or 6 years of age, or sometimes toddlers, working,
sorting match stems with their mothers, who also had babies in their laps.
The factories were well equipped with modern sorting machinery, but were still
using children, while machines were rusting and unused. The wages of these
children are at least 1 or 2 pennies a day, but it makes the children feel
that they earn that much if they are there, and that is the reason why children
go there every day cheerfully and are trained to industry from childhood. This
is beneficial.2

But in Japan, as elsewhere, long hours and night work, inevitably
associated with the textile industry and the exploitation of child labor
prior to its strict regulation, added to the usual abuses often much
physical cruelty for disciplinary purposes in what was supposed to be
the beginning of an enlightened modern era. But such acts only
helped to arouse public indignation. Only recently the chief factory
inspector reported that in the Aichi Prefecture an employer tortured
a juvenile employee for an act of disobedience, pouring water upon
him in severe winter weather and tying him out of doors while still
drenched, with the result that he froze toi death. In another case an
employer in a small textile mill shaved the crowns of the heads of girl
workers as a mark of identification to prevent their running away.3
It is obviously injurious for growing children to work continuously
in the midst of dust and noise under any circumstances, and under
inhuman treatment one sees their health consumed as coal for the
factory is consumed, to add to the wealth of their employers.
Poverty and Social Responsibility
No normal parent, if he were acquainted with the facts and had a
choice in the matter, would be willing to allow his children to go out
to work at an early age in factories where dangerous machinery is
operated nor allow them to lose the opportunity for education and
thereby destroy their chance for future success. The numerous evils
of modern factory employment for children, with the hazard of acci­
dents or occupational diseases, were not unknown to the Japanese
people even in the early days of transition from home industry and
native employments to the factory system. It was not parental
ignorance but poverty which drove them to let their children go out
to earn part of the family living. Parents were powerless in the face
of necessity and unable to assure their children protection of health
and educational opportunities. It is because of this that the State
sought to remedy a defective social organization, which is less a mat­
ter between individual parents, children, and employers than it is a
social responsibility, the neglect of which carries unmistakable social
The enlightened statesmen of the Meiji era saw the dangers of this
situation as early as 1887 and proposed a factory workers’ act, the
purpose of which was the intervention of the State for the protection
of the weaker party in industry. Modern Japanese industry was
begun under government paternalism and was fostered under its wing,
so that the child-labor legislation of Japan was drafted upon gov­
ernment initiative, which is in contrast to similar legislation of
3 See Takahashi, K .: History of Industrial Development in the Meiji and Taisho Eras
(in Japanese). Tokyo, 1929, p. 614. He also says that even 10 years later (1J)07~8)
very young children constituted from 60 to 70 per cent of all factory workers.
8Kyocho-Kai, Social Reform, July, 1928.



England and most western lands. Japanese protective legislation re­
garding child labor was based on three points—education, health, and
the national population policy.
Washington International Labor Conference and First Child
Labor Act
Although the first factory act, of 1911, which came into force (by
the decree and regulations of 1916) on September 1 of that year, dealt
timidly with child labor, it was not until after the First International
Labor Conference met in Washington in 1919 and the Bureau of
Social Affairs was established in Tokyo in 1922 that any effective steps
were taken to meet a serious situation. The new bureau began at
once to draft a new and separate child labor law with relatively high
standards. The new proposal added to health protection, which was
the underlying motive of the first factory act, that of educational
protection as equally necessary in the public interest to justify greater
restrictions and burdens on industry.
The results are embodied in the minimum age for industrial em­
ployment act of 1923, which became effective July 1, 1926,4the great
earthquake in 1923 being the cause of postponement in putting the act
into force. It was the intention of this legislation to conform com­
pletely with the standards of the international labor convention
(Washington Conference, 1919) fixing the minimum age for ad­
mission of children in industrial employment, having in mind the
special conditions in Article Y, which modified the standards fixed
by Article I I —
Children under the age of 14 years shaU not be employed or work in any
public or private industrial undertaking, or in any branch thereof, other than
an undertaking in which only members of the same family are employed—

in connection with the application of the convention to Japan, as
(a) Children over 12 years of age may be admitted into employment if
they have finished the course in the elementary school;
(&) As regards children between the ages of 12 and 14 already employed,
transitional regulations may be made.
The provision in the present Japanese law admitting children under the
age of 12 years to certain light and easy employments shall be repealed.

The new act thus fulfilled the promise of the Japanese delegates
to the Washington conference and enabled the Japanese Govern­
ment to ratify the international convention, which was done on
August 7,1926. These standards now in force with respect to child
labor are substantially as high or higher, and give wider protection
to more children, than corresponding legislation in most States of
the United States and in many other western nations. Japan has
made a heroic effort in a period of economic depression and withal
a successful effort to enforce the new protection and economic free­
dom for children under 14 in order that they may all enjoy the
advantages of completing the elementary-school course. Poverty in
rural districts may make its enforcement in new fields of application
4 International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1923, Jap. 2, and 1926, Jap. 1 ( A ) ;
for text of act see Appendix C (p. 87).



difficult, and the Government is considering supplementary measures
of poor relief to complete the task it has set itself.5
Minimum Age Act and Compulsory Educatipn Law
The minimum age for industrial employment act consisted of 11 ar­
ticles, 2 supplementary provisions, and 3 regulations concerning
enforcement. The main divisions of the act are:6 (1) Scope and
limits of application; (2) minimum-age requirements; (3) register
of juvenile workers; (4) legality of government inspection ot fac­
tories; (5) issuance without charge of copies of census register;
(6) penalties.
The most important phase of this legislation is the raising of
the standard of the minimum age for employment and the enlarging
of the scope of application of restrictive legislation. It is rather
difficult to say what the minimum age of “ juvenile5 workers should
be because the development of children differs according to indi­
vidual characteristics and geographical areas. A child may be im­
mature at 14 in one country and mature in another. This is an
added difficulty in any attempt at international standardization.
Many countries have adopted the standards of the International
Labor Conference and of the Washington convention (1919), fixing
the minimum age for the admission to industrial employment.
Japan has also ratified (August, 1926) this convention. When Japa­
nese factory legislation was revised in 1923, article 2 of the factory
act of 1911 providing a 12-year minimum age, with exceptions,
allowing under certain conditions the employment of children of 10
to 12 years of age, was repealed, and the provisions of the minimumage convention were enacted in its place. The scope of its applica­
tion, as well as the supervision of factory inspectors, was extended
to include all industries except agriculture and commercial pursuits.7
One of the chief purposes of this legislation was not only the
raising of the minimum age and the extension of the application of
the law, but the safeguarding of the opportunity for elementary
education, which children, without such legislation, bade fair to lose.
Under the factory act of 1911 many children who had not completed
their elementary education were allowed to go to work. Even chil­
dren 10 years of age could be employed in certain occupations, and
for several years after the enactment and enforcement of the first
factory act the textile industry could, under certain circumstances,
add two hours to the normally long working-day of children and
other employees of all ages. Thus children of school age working
long hours had little or no chance to benefit by the minimum educa­
tional requirements of the school law.8
Under the factory act of 1911, when children of school age were
employed who had not completed their elementary education, im­
perial decree of August 2, 1916, No. 153 (ch. 3, art. 26) provided
6 International Labor Review, Geneva, February, 1929, pp. 198-200: “ Employment of
women in Japanese industry,” by Iwao F. Ayusawa.
6 YosMsaka, S.: Treatise on Am nded Factory Law (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1927,
pp. 71-76.
7 Idem, p. 72.
8Toyohara, M .: Kojo-Ho Yogi (Commentary on Factory Act). Tokyo, 1912, p. 17.



that the employer must, with the approval of the local authorities,
make suitable arrangements for such children to attend school.
Some employers provided school facilities within the factory in­
closures and others sent the children to near-by district schools, but
this system, in either event, imposed a double burden upon growing
children who had to work long hours, and only those who had sur­
plus energy left for studj were in any way benefited by it.9
The Japanese educational system dates from the restoration of
Meiji, when class distinctions were abolished and equal opportunity
proclaimed for all. The imperial decree promulgated in 1872
enjoined, “ I f a child, male or female, does not attend the elementary
school, the guardian is responsible for such neglect; * * * edu­
cation shall be so diffused that there may not be a village with an
ignorant family nor a family with an ignorant member.” From the
date of this decree to the present time the nation has done its utmost
to attain this goal. With the progress of social development the
elementary-school law was amended several times, and in 1886 com­
pulsory school attendance was made universal.1 The cost of ele­
mentary education is a charge on the taxes in the several school dis­
tricts, but for years the national treasury has made grants propor­
tionate to the needs of the poorer districts and to the number of
teachers and pupils therein.1 The compulsory elementary-school
course is six years. Every child who reaches school age is legally
required to attend an elementary school, and his guardian has the
legal responsibility of seeing that his elementary education is com­
pleted. Extracts from the amended elementary-school law of 1900
are as follows:
E l e m e n t a r y -S c h o o l O r d in a n c e
C hapter

(1900), No. 344

V.—School attendance; general regulations
Article 32

S e c t io n 1. The eight years from the time a child reaches 6 years o f age until
he is 14 years of age are the school age.
Seo. 2. The day on which a child attains school age shall mark the beginning
of his attendance at school, and when he shall complete the elementary course
shall mark the termination of his obligation under compulsory education.
S eo . 3. The guardian of a child of school age shall have the legal responsi­
bility to see to it that the child completes the elementary course from beginning
to end.
Sec. 4. The guardian of a child of school age is the person who exercises
parental rights over the child; if there is no such person, the legal guardian
becomes responsible.

•A regulation of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce (Ordinance No. 10)
was adopted to limit or correct this evil by requiring that children subject to the educa­
tional requirement and between the ages of 10 and 12 should not be allowed to work
more than six hours a day, and that when a working-day exceeded three hours at least
one rest period of 30 minutes must be provided and also that the employer must provide
for holidays at least four tim^s a month.
1 Okuma, Count S .: Fifty Years of New Japan. London, 1909, p. 165.
1 The total amount of such grants-in-aid was fixed at 75,000,000 yen annually in the
national treasury expenditures for compulsory education act, 1923, as amended in 1927
(see Genko Monbu Ilorei, Vol. I, p. 385) and increased in 1930 to 85,000,000 yen (see
Japan Year Book, 1931, p. 183).


Arttcls 35

The occupier of a factory who employs children with incomplete elementaryschool education must not hinder such children from attending school.1

Another article of this chapter refers to “ Exemptions from, and
permit to defer, school-attendance requirement,” as follows:
When a child is afflicted mentaUy or physicaUy so that he is unable to at­
tend an elementary school, the local authorities must obtain the permission of
the governor of the prefecture to exempt both the guardian and the child from
the compulsory education requirement. When children of school age are physi­
cally unfit or undeveloped they may, with the permission of the governor,
temporarily defer their schooling. When the local authorities declare that the
guardian of children of school age is a pauper and unable to send them to
school, permission must be obtained from the prefectural authorities to exempt
them from compulsory school attendance. (Art. 33.)

Thus the elementary-school ordinances fixed the responsibility for
school attendance ana at the same time exempted normal children
from school attendance for reasons of poverty, the same as mentally
and physically defective children were exempted.
The 12-year-age minimum of the factory law was too low for the
normal child to comply with the national compulsory education law,
because there are very few who complete the elementary-school
course at 12 years of age. However, at the time when the nrst fac­
tory legislation was drafted so many children of about 12 years of
age were employed in industry that in the limitation of child labor
an effort was made to avoid an extreme measure which would be
detrimental to national industry.
It was clearly evident from the very day following its promulga­
tion that the first factory legislation would be revised, because it
was so incomplete and so weak in its protective features. Dr.
Minoru Oka, the author and instigator o f many efforts to protect
children, in his Treatise on Factory Legislation, repeatedlv expresses
his regret on this point. To remedy this defect the (government
enacted at the same time as the factory amendment act of 1923 the
minimum age for industrial employment act, which raised the mini­
mum age from 12 to 14 years, excepting only young persons who
were 12 years of age and over who had completed the elementaryschool course, who could be legally employed. Persons under 14
years of age with an incomplete elementary education were pro­
hibited from employment. The present legislation applies this
requirement to unregulated as well as regulated factories.1
1 Isoshima, Y .: Gakuji Reiten, Shogaku-Hen (Elementary-School Ordinances, 1928).
20th ed. Tokyo, pp. 172-170. The ordinances also provide a standard form of permit
to be issued by local authorities to employers who provide their own elementary school
facilities, in order that the elementary education given in factories may follow the
general requirements as to hours per week, daUy instruction in specified subjects, text­
books used, school holidays, and the grading and classification of both teachers and
pupils, and may conform to the standards required by law of the public elementary
schools. The ordinances also provide that when factory children attend district schools
outside the factories they must be allowed a study period of two hours daily besides
the actual time required for such attendance, and if factory children attend night school
they must be allowed the same study period as those attending day school.
1 The number of unregulated factories in 1927 was more than two and a half times
that of regulated factories, but the number of employees in unregulated was only 25
per cent greater than the number of employees in regulated factories. This is because
there are so many unregulated factories in Japan having only four or five employees.
Generally such small factories have small capital and for economic reasons operate long
hours— 14 or 15 per day— with very poor working conditions and insanitary surround­
ings. The enactment of the minimum age for industrial employment act has been
beneficial for the juvenile employees in this type of factory because the revised factory
law of 1923 applied only to the factory which employed at least 10 persons. (KyochoKai. Social Reform, July, 1929, pp. 99-102.)



Although the number of children under 12 years of age and the
number between 12 and 14 years legally employed under the excep­
tions provided in the factory act o f 19il (in force in 1916) steadily
decreased from 1916 to 1925, the year before the amended factory
act of 1923 went into effect, the Factory Inspection Report for 1928
showed about the same number of children under 14 years of age
employed in regulated factories as were reported in 1916.1
Minimum Age Act During First Two Years of Operation
Efforts at enforcement of this law, as disclosed in the official re­
ports for the first two complete years of operation, 1927 and 1928,
show meager accomplishments on account of the wide scope of its
application, shortage of inspectors, lack of funds for its enforcement,
and lack of understanding of its requirements on the part of em­
ployers. In 1927, after the law had been in force for one year, there
was a total of 2,196 persons charged with violations of this law, of
which cases 669 were violations of tjie age requirement (art. 2) and
1,527 were violations of article 3. In 1928 the total number of vio­
lations charged was 2,235, of which 699 were violations of article 2
and 1,536 violations of article 3.1 The violations under article 3
are for failure to keep a register and report age and school-attendance record of employees under 16 years of age, and in both years these
violations are more than twice as many as those under article 2,
which excludes from employment children under 14 years of age,
with specified exceptions.
Most of the violations were in unregulated factories, amounting
to 87.9 per cent of the total number ox violations in 1927 and 77.6
per cent in 1928. Regulated factories are mostly those in which at
least 10 persons are employed and which are well managed. They
are under the supervision of factory inspectors, which constantly
tends toward the raising of standards. On account of present smail
appropriations for factory inspection, the Government is unable to
furnish adequate inspection, even in regulated factories. In addition
to supervising regulated factories, the Government under this law
has to inspect two and a half times as many unregulated factories,
which do not come under the supervision of the factory law. The
general working conditions in unregulated factories are very poor,
and since the enactment of the minimum age law inspection of such
factories has been carried on practically by the local police. Never­
theless, this law, by widening the scope of protective legislation to
include unregulated factories, has proven itself to be beneficial for
the welfare of children.
Underlying Cause of Violations of Act
The underlying cause of most of the violations is the fact that the
families are so extremely poor that guardians or parents seek employ­
ment for their children as a means of aiding in the family support, or
1 See Yoshisaka, S.: Treatise on Amended Factory Law (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1927,
p. 77.
15Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Reports: 1927, p. 290; 1928,
p. 266. Tokyo.

74382°—31— S



that parents desire their children to be employed immediately after
their completion of the elementary-school course, and so, while they
are still in school, they are put to work illegally in vacation time.
Sometimes children go to work illegally, accompanied by their
parents. Carelessness on the part of the parents, ignorance of the
law, and poverty necessitating economic aid by children—these con­
ditions render it very difficult for factory inspectors to deal wisely
and justly with the problems presented by children working in viola­
tion of the law. One solution may be found in vocational guidance,
influencing juvenile workers to enter other occupations, such as agri­
culture, where they may earn without breaking the law, since the
minimum age law does not apply to this industry. As there is no
provision for the education of poor children by the Government, the
result is, obviously, that such children are likely to be apprenticed
in small shops, employed as nurses for babies, or employed in amuse­
ment occupations such as vaudeville or acrobatic troupes, or become
street peddlers.
Osaka, the largest industrial center of Japan furnishes an example
of the enforcement of this legislation. There investigation is made
by the police bimonthly and includes the inspection of factories and
other places where children may be employed within the factory in­
closures. This is done in connection with police registration of every
household in their jurisdiction, which is a monthly task.1 In this
supervision the police cooperate with the superintendents of local ele­
mentary schools and request them to report cases of prolonged ab­
sence, and also the name, date of birth, etc., of children in night
school who are employed in factories. The result of this inquiry was
the discovery of the violation of article 2 on the part of 45 employers
who were employing children under 14 years of age, with incomplete
elementary-school education. Thirty-six girls and 9 boys were in­
volved in these 45 violations. When discharged from the factory all
9 boys secured work in domestic service or occupations not prohibited
and only 2 completed the required elementary-school education, and
of the 36 girls discharged only 10 completed the required elementaryschool education, while 31 secured employment in unprotected
The example from Osaka Prefecture speaks eloquently of the in­
adequacy of protective legislation for children without some means
of attacking the poverty that compels so many to evade the law in­
tended for their protection and welfare. There must be some means
by which poor children whom necessity now drives to work may be
given aid that will enable them to finish their elementary education,
and if such means can be established by the State there will be
some prospect of this legislation reaching the desired ideal both as
to enforcement and ultimate effectiveness.
In 1923, when the Imperial Diet passed the revised factory law,
the House of Kepresentatives declared that the Government should
provide some means by which poor children might be enabled to com­
plete their elementary education, which the State had made com­
pulsory, and the House of Peers adopted a similar statement when
it passed this legislation. In conformity with this request from both
1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs.

Factory Inspection Report, 1927. Tokyo.



Houses, in the following year (1924) the Government, through the
Department of Education, made an investigation of the number
of poor or pauper children of school age. It was found that they
numbered approximately 207,000, of whom 165,836 were receiving
some kind of aid from public or private charity organizations, and
that children who were exempted or granted deferred attendance
from elementary school on account of poverty numbered 42,044 (of
whom 1,386 were exempt and 40,658 were granted deferred attend­
ance). Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the total num­
ber of children who aid not go to school was approximately 100,000.
Physical examinations in the army in 1924 revealed that more
than 10 per cent of the young men who took the examination in
that year (out of a total of 50,000 examined) had not completed
their elementary-school education. This would indicate that a large
number of children of both sexes never complete their elementary
school course.1
The minimum age act does not apply to commercial, agricultural,
and other enterprises, as does similar legislation in other countries,
so that there is an opportunity for children of school age to escape
unmolested into these employments. Such occupations usually have
long working hours without adequate rest periods, and many of
them are undesirable and unhealthy for young children. In 1919
the Social Affairs Section, before the Bureau of Social Affairs was
established in the Department of Home Affairs, made a study of
children engaged in such trades and found 5,602 children under 10
years of age and 17,099 children 10 to 12 years of age engaged in
nursing and taking care of babies; 688 under 10 years and 2,911 from
10 to 12 years of age in domestic service; 72 under 10 years and 189
from 10 to 12 years old in theatrical entertainment; 173 under 10
years and 478 from 10 to 12 years old in street peddling; others
whose occupations were not known made a total of over 69,000 chil­
dren under 12 years of age not in school.
Children were reported in 1927 as not attending school in com­
pliance with the elementary-school ordinance as follows:1 Chil­
dren engaged in factory work, 1,762; children in domestic service
at home, 4,270; children engaged in street peddling, 118; children
bound as apprentices or otherwise employed; 3,942; miscellaneous
employment, 1,092.
These figures show many more truants for causes other than em­
ployment in industrial enterprises.
Protection of Juvenile Workers in Dangerous and Unhealtliful
In the revised factory legislation, for the purpose of safeguarding
voung workers under 16 years of age they are placed in the class of
protected ” workers. The minimum age for industrial employment
act fixed the age of 14 as the minimum age for admission to employ­
ment, with certain exceptions, but required the employer to keep a



register and report certain facts about all employees under 16 years of
age. But the general factory law provides many other restrictions
and prohibitions for the health and welfare of these protected work­
ers. The legislation of 1911 fixed the maximum age for protected
workers at 15 years, in which it simply followed the suggestion of the
Commission on Industry, which held that according to Japanese tra­
ditional custom a boy became a man upon completion of his fifteenth
year. The International Labor Conference of 1919 adopted a con­
vention concerning the night work of young persons employed in
industry, which Japan has not yet ratified but which prohibited night
work for persons under 16 in certain occupations and under 18 in
others. At this conference Japan insisted upon 16 years as the age
limit for protected workers, upon the ground that Japanese reached
maturity two years earlier than Europeans, according to Doctor
Mishima’s investigation.1 This theory holds that Japanese children
begin the period of adolescence earlier, boys from 12 years of age and
girls from 11 years of age, and both boys and girls complete the
adolescent period at the age of 16.
The revised factory law also restricts the hours of work for pro­
tected workers under 16 years of age and prohibits their employment
at night (arts. 3 and 4 of the factory act (amendment), 1923) ; that
is, the hours of work permitted for young persons under 16 years of
age (15 in first factory act and continued for three years from the
coming into effect of this act, i. e., until June 5, 1929) shall be not
more than 11 daily (formerly 12), but the minister concerned may
extend by not more than 2 hours the daily period of employment.
This variation holds for a specified term of not more than 15 years
after the coming into effect of the act, i. e., until not later than June 5,
1941. The prohibited hours are from 10 p. m. to 5 a. m. (formerly
4 a. m.), and with the approval of administrative authorities the
persons affected may be employed until 11 p. m.
The revised factory legislation provides for at least 2 rest days a
month and a break of not less than 30 minutes during the period of
employment if said period exceeds 6 hours a day, or not less than one
hour if it exceeds 10 hours a day. (Art. 7.) In Article 9 and
article 10 protected workers are prohibited or restricted from engag­
ing in dangerous occupations or in unhealthful or dangerous processes
specified in the act. The health and safety of “ protected workers.”
which in some cases includes all women as welt as persons under 16
years of age, according to Japanese factory legislation, are dealt
with more fully in special ordinances.
Regulations for Accident Prevention and Hygiene
There are more than 200,000 persons who are disabled as a result
of industrial accidents or disease in Japan each year, of whom 350
die and 3,000 are totally and permanently disabled. The material
loss, aside from injuries and disabilities of workers, amounts to more
than 20,000,000 yen (about $10,000,000) annually, from accidents
and accidental destruction of property, all of which is avoidable and
not traceable to natural causes.2 Particularly these accidents of an
w Yoshisaka, S.: Treatise on Amended Factory Law (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1927, pp.
61. 62.
"Nagaoka, R., in Sangyo Fukuti (Industrial Welfare), August, 1927, p. 7.



avoidable nature may be eliminated or reduced to a certain minimum
by individual care and attention and also by safety devices provided
by factories. The facts stated in the annual factory inspection re­
port for 1927 show that of the more serious accidents, i. e., those
inflicting more than 30 days’ disability, more than 53 per cent are
due to machines or some defects in factory facilities, and that 47
per cent are due to carelessness or other human factors. The em­
ployees in 51,952 regulated factories in 1927 numbered 1,687,472.
The number of those injured, who had to be absent from their work
more than three days on account of injuries, totaled 44,558. These
figures show how urgent is the need of adequate regulation and of
the prevention of accidents, particularly when in Japanese industry
more than 50 per cent are juvenile workers.
Article 13 of the revised factory law of 1923, in force from and
after July 1, 1926, gave the necessary authority for ordinances to
enforce the regulations concerning safety and sanitation. There are
also some prefectural regulations. Similar regulations were gener­
ally enforced in different localities before there was a central author­
ity with adequate powers to act. After the establishment of the
Bureau of Social Affairs, the bureau decided to separate the regu­
lation of dormitories and the regulation of factories. It first drafted
regulations for dormitories, which came into effect in July, 1927. It
next drafted regulations concerning safety and sanitation in fac­
tories and submitted them for discussion to the Employers’ Associa­
tion of Japan and also to the factory inspectors at their annual meet­
ing in April, 1928. Later, the bureau also referred this proposal to
the Central Hygiene Association. The resulting draft was issued
as regulation No. 24, dated June 20,1929, to go into effect September
1, with postponement of certain clauses for brief periods to allow
sufficient notice or for making structural changes in buildings. The
provisions of this regulation may be divided into five parts.2
1. Provisions for safety devices and protection against danger­
ous machinery. (Articles 2 to 19 and 28 concern provision for safety
devices; articles 2 to 9 were specially designed as protection against
machinery in motion.)
2. Fire hazards and provision for emergency exits. (Articles 20 to
27 deal with this subject j fire losses in Japanese factories in 1927
numbered 622 fires in which the loss was over 50,000,000 yen,2 and
in which there were 32 deaths, 132 severe injuries (more than two
weeks required for recovery), and 150 slight injuries.)
3. Hygiene and provisions for first aid. (Articles 26 to 33 are
devoted to sanitation and first aid. For health protection of factory
workers the law prohibited night work, restricted working hours,
and required improvement of dormitories. These, the most impor­
tant points, were regulated in the factory law and in the regulations
of dormitories act, and therefore this regulation deals only with
provisions and facilities in factories.)
4. Conditions affecting morals of the workers. (Article 34 requires
provision of separate baths and dressing rooms for both sexes.)
8 Kitaoka, J., in Sangyo Fukuri, August, 1927, pp. 24-83. For text of regulation No.
24 see International Labor Office, Legislative Series, 1929, Jap. 4. See Appendix D
(p. 88).
0At par, yen**approximately 50 cents; sen=0.5 cent.



5. General regulations. (Article 1 deals with the application of
these regulations, and article 36 provides some special penalties for
their violation.)
Several articles have a provision for deferring enforcement one
or two years, during which period the factory proprietors shall have
time to provide adequate facilities in accordance with the required
new standards, but in newly established factories it is provided that
the regulation shall be applied as of the date of its enforcement, i. e.,
September 1, 1929. Before its promulgation the industrial interests
had asked the Bureau of Social Affairs for a longer period of postonement to enable manufacturers to come up to the standards specied. The regulation will give much needed and more effective appli­
cation of protective factory legislation to children and young persons.


The Apprentice System
In any discussion of child labor it is logical to consider the appren­
tice system both before and after the advent of protective legislation.
The factory legislation of 1923 in articles 16 and 17, and especially
in chapter 4 of Imperial Decree No. 153, dated June 5,1926, provided
special protection for apprentices. The apprentice is defined as a
young person who is engaged in a certain trade or occupation for the
purpose of acquiring knowledge and training under guidance in that
trade or occupation. The apprentice system is inherited from the
old-time handcraft labor system. Apprentices were always treated
as equals with the family of their master and there was between
master and apprentice a sentiment similar to that between father and
son. With the development of the modern industrial system group
work was introduced and tasks were greatly reduced and simplified
by division of labor, with the result that the apprentice system is
gradually disappearing. On the other hand, modern industry in
some branches has become much more complicated and makes much
greater technical demands upon workers than was the case formerly,
requiring skilled, trained, and intelligent operatives.
The apprentice system primarily was developed for the training
and education of workers in certain trades, but in modern industry
employers in small factories utilize this system for purposes of ex)loitation, almost to the degree of sweating, through long hours and
ow wages. For that reason when the revised factory legislation
was enacted it dealt with the apprentice system, which it regulated
for the safeguarding of young workers in training. The chief im­
portance of this regulation lies in the contract for apprenticeship.
This contract is not a simple labor contract but is a particular kind
of contract, which includes educational stipulations. An apprentice
is obligated to render service but he may expect to receive training
rather than a purely economic return. The employer does not expect
a great deal in the way of actual immediate service but he expects
future service, and also is under obligation to give guidance and
sufficient training for the trade or occupation. The regulations for
enforcement of the factory law, as amended by Imperial Decree No.
153,2 Chapter IY , articles 28 to 32, deal with the apprentice system
and cover the following points:


2 International Labor Office.

Legislative Series, 1926; Jap. 1.




X Under the apprentice system a person is employed for the pur­
pose of getting sufficient knowledge of and skill in a trade.
2. All apprentices shall receive training and education under
certain guidance and supervision.
3. Apprentices should have ethical training and the employer
should provide such education.
4. Apprentices must be employed according to the regulations
which are permitted by the local authorities. The following items
should be included in such regulations: (a) The number of appren­
tices; (6) age of apprenticeship; (e) qualifications of person giving
training; ( d) subject and period 01 training; (e) method of training
and number of hours per day devoted to it; (f) holidays and rest
periods; (g) supervision of moral and ethical education; (A) method
of payment of wages; (i) if the apprentice is within the age of
protected workers, or a girl, a provision must be made for such
facilities as will provide against dangerous and insanitary sur­
roundings; and (j) apprenticeship contract.
There seems to have been a marked gradual decrease of factories
employing apprentices, but this change has been apparent rather
than real and lies in a difference in the form of employment rather
than in employment itself. Welfare work on the part of factory
owners—and giving education and training to young workers in the
factories is regarded as a form of welfare work—has become so
much the fashion in Japan that some factories have even established
technical schools and supplementary and continuation schools, which
are in reality a form of the apprentice system. Factories, then, are
still taking apprentices, in the original and legal sense, in trades
which require long years of training, such as the steel, electrical,
motor, and other industries.
According to the annual factory inspection report for 1928 there
were 13 factories with 641 boy apprentices, their ages ranging from
13 to under 17 years. Both the number of factories having appren­
tices and the number of apprentices in each year during the decade
1918-1928 was much larger, varying from a low of 15 factories with
975 apprentices in 1926 to a high of 23 factories in 1923 and 3,310
apprentices in 1921.2
In one ironworks plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture there is an
industrial school for the training of its apprentices, which is recog­
nized by the department of education. Three years are required
to complete the course. The subjects taugjht are carpenter work, iron
manufacturing processes, boring and finishing, and boiler making.
Training is also provided in ethics, reading and writing, English,
arithmetic, science, drafting, political economy, and mechanical engi­
neering, operation of motors, physical education, and laboratory
There are 92 apprentices enrolled, about 30 in each year of the
course. They receive wages averaging 18 cents a day in the first
year to 42 cents a day in the third year. In accordance with local
regulations the company has provided a staff who have specialized
in the subjects which they teach,as follows: Nine graduates of
higher technical schools, one graduate of a normal school, two grad­
uates of prefectural technical schools, and one teacher of fencing.
“ Japan.

Bureau of Social Affairs.

Factory Inspection Report, 1928, p. 33.




All the apprentices must agree to work for this company for two
years after the completion of their studies, and in the case of the
failure to fulfill this obligation the employee must reimburse the
company for a part or the whole of the cost of his training.2
Apprenticeship in Unregulated Factories
Aside from the persons employed in regulated factories most of
the juvenile workers or minors in Japan are employed as appren­
tices in industrial, commercial, and skilled labor or trade occupations.
The conditions of employment of these juvenile workers are still
unknown, as sufficient data have not yet been gathered on the sub­
ject. There is not as yet any protective legislation for them and
very little study has been made of their condition. Therefore, the
available data such as the study made in Tokyo in 1924 by the De­
partment of Social Education is the principal source of information.
This study was made by the Metropolitan Police Board in Tokyo,
and may therefore be safely accepted on the score of accuracy. For
that reason and for the reason that apprenticeship is an urban insti­
tution, this study may be relied upon for illustrations of some phases
of the apprentice problem.
At the end of 1922 there were approximately 23,000 juvenile
workers employed in Tokyo, 20 per cent being engaged in the cloth­
ing industry, 18 per cent in carpentry and cabinetmaking, and 11 per
cent in printing and bookbinding, the remainder being occupied in
metal work, textile manufacturing, manufacture of food and
beverages, etc.2
The excessive hours of work for juvenile laborers was one of the
great factors in the demand for protective legislation. The 1923
revised factory legislation stipulated that persons under 16 years of
age and women should be prohibited from working more than 11
hours a day, but employers may secure a permit to extend the day
two hours during the 15-year period ending in 1941.
An analysis of the figures given in Mr. Isomura’s study shows
clearly that the working hours of juvenile workers are practically
the same as the working hours of adults. The simple average of the
number of working hours is 9 hours and 20 minutes. In the manu­
facture of machinery the working hours are shorter than those in
the textile industry. The working-day of from 9 to 10 hours, which
is predominant among children, is from one to two hours longer
than the internationally accepted standard for adults, toward which
Japanese labor is striving. This is one of the great problems of
Japanese industry.
The number oi commercial apprentices, more numerous than all
other groups of apprentices, amounts to approximately 85,000 in
Tokyo. These juvenile workers are found in various forms of trade,
probably 25 per cent are in dry-goods stores, 20 per cent in shops
handling food and beverages, utensils, and house-furnishing goods;
the remainder in stores handling a wide range of machines and
devices, furniture stores, hotels, restaurants, etc.2
2 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report, 1927, pp. 59, 60.
*8Kyocho-Kai. Social Reform, Tokyo, November, 1927, p. 155: “ Juvenile employment
in Japanese towns” (in Japanese), by B. Isomura.
* Idem, p. 159.

Chapter 3.—Woman Workers in the Textile Industry
The Bureau of Social Affairs in the Department of Home Affairs
reports the total number of workers in Japan employed in factories,
mines, transportation, and communication services, and casual work­
ers, in June, 1929, as 4,832,000, of which 1,577,451, or about onethird, were women. The number of factory workers was 2,194,000, of
which 1,058,369, or about 48 per cent, were women.1
Woman factory workers predominate only in the textile industry.
This is the typical industry in which women are engaged, 83 per cent
of those employed in it being women.
According to the latest available complete report2 of the Bureau
of Social Affairs, we find that in 1928 women in regulated factories
(employing more than 10 persons) in the textile industry numbered
791,682 out of 980,948 workers, or nearly 83 per cent. Doctor Ayusawa in his statistical survey of women in Japanese industry8 pre­
sents an interesting analysis of all available statistical data. He
shows that over half of all the workers in Japan are probably still
engaged in agriculture and two-thirds of all the woman workers in
the country are found therein. Also the greatest preponderance of
women over men is found in agriculture. In only one other group,
namely, commerce, are more women than men engaged and the pre­
ponderance is slight. In factory employment, however, over 1,000,000
women are engaged, and the bulk of them are in the textile industry,
where they outnumber men at least four to one. An increasing num­
ber of women in this industry is being brought under the protection
of regulated factories.
Women in regulated textile factories in 1928, numbering 791,682,
may be classified roughly as follows: Nearly half in reeling raw silk,
ana nearly a quarter in spinning, and the same in weaving mills,
leaving less than 5 per cent in all the other branches of the textile
Importance of Textile Industry in Japan
There were 11 industries in Japan in 1926 each with a total annual
output of more than 100,000,000 yen. The three highest on the list
in value of annual output, each with more than 500,000,000 yen were
raw silk, cotton spinning, and cotton fabrics.4 For more than 50
years the value of raw silk exported annually has constituted at least
20 per cent of the total annual value of all national exports and in
prosperous years this percentage has risen to more than 40 per cent.
1Japan. Bureau of Statistics. Rodo Tokei Yoran (Labor Statistics Year Book).
Tokyo, 1930.
a Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report. 1930.
* International Labor Review, Geneva, February, 1929, p. 194 et seq.: “ Employment
of women in Japanese industry.” by Iwao F. Ayusawa.
* Takahashi, K .: History of Industrial Development in the Meiji and Taisho Eras (in
Japanese). Tokyo, 1029, p. 431.




When silk fabrics and silk manufactures are added to raw silk, they
constitute more than half of the total value of national exports and
supply more than half of the world market for raw silk. No other
commodity in Japan ranks so high in national exports as raw silk.5
The silk industry is as old as the country. The story of the culti­
vation of silk worms appears even in the mythology of Japan. More
than 30 per cent of the farmers are engaged in this cultivation and
produce a considerable amount. The silk industry in Japan
developed as a domestic industry and it was in 1870 that reeling
machinery was first imported from the Occident by the feudal au­
thority of Mayebashi. From that time both the Government and
private enterprise made a strong effort to mechanize the process of
silk reeling, to replace hand reeling, which had been the original
method. This effort was not successful, however, until after the
Russo-Japanese War when Japanese industry experienced a period
of great development and expansion into large scale enterprise,
adopting the more general use of machinery which modernized the
whole industry.6
The silk worm is mentioned in the oldest Japanese mythology, but its authen­
tic historical record begins with the naturalization of the Chinese Koma-O,
who came to Japan in 199 A. D., bringing Chinese silk-worm eggs with him.
Some 90 years later many Chinese experts again became inhabitants of Japan
and were ordered by the Emperor Ohjin to engage in silk-worm raising in
various districts. The sericultural industry of Japan may be said to have
dated from that time. Since then, this industry has been a favorite of the
Imperial Court, the Empress herself sometimes setting an example by raising
silk worms in person. Official encouragement soon made the industry popular
among the people and it made rapid progress. Sericulture is, and generally has
been, a subsidiary business of the farmers, and silk worms are chiefly fed and
taken care of by girls. There are approximately 2,000,000 families in Japan
engaged in raising silk worms; that is, about 34 per cent of all Japanese

The cotton-spinning industry was imported from occidental coun­
tries in 1868 with other aspects of western civilization, and the first
spinning mill was established in Kagoshima. The industry had a
remarkable development in the decade following the Sino-Japanese
War in 1893-94, and again in the decade following the Russo-Japa­
nese War in 1904-5, but the number of spindles in 1900 was still less
than the number to be found in Spain, Italy, or Switzerland. Dur­
ing and after the World War the industry developed so rapidly that
by 1927 Japan ranked sixth in the number of spindles among the
nations engaged in that manufacture. From 1900 to 1927 the total
number of spindles in the world increased from 105,000,000 to 164,000,000, or about 60 per cent. In this same period the number of
spindles in Germany increased 20 per cent; England, 30 per cent;
France, 8 per cent; the United States, 100 per cent; Japan, 450 per
cent; and China, 600 per cent.8
Weaving is traditionally regarded as women’s domestic hand in­
dustry. It was widely developed in ancient times in producing silk.
8 Japan. Bureau of Socia] Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Honpo Seishi-gyo
Rodo Jij5 (Condition of Japanese Silk-Reeling Workers), by T. Katsura, Tokyo, 1928,
pp. 3. 4.
• Idem, p. 7.
7 Raw Silk Association of Japan. Outline of the Raw Silk Industry in Japan. (Sesquicentennial International Exposition, Philadelphia, 1926.) New York, 1926.
* Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Boseki Rodo
Fujin Chosa (Condition of Woman Workers in Cotton Spinning). Tokyo, 1929.



brocade, linen, and mixed and cotton fabrics. There are many such
fabrics still kept in the Shosd-in Imperial Repository in Nara, es­
tablished in the eighth century. From the period of early Meiji the
gradual change in social customs created a new market and a new
industry in the manufacture of woolen cloth. The weaving in­
dustry supplied also one of the important products of Japan both
for domestic use and export, and in 1928 its output was more than
560,000,000 yen.
The 1928 Factory Inspection Keport (p. 19) gives an interesting
tabulation of ages "of factory workers in regulated factories. The
distribution in the textile industry is as follows: Males—under 14
years of age, 857; 14 to 15 years, 3,245; 15 to 16 years, 7,301; over
16 years, 177,863; total males, 189,266; females—under 14, 36,281;
14 to 15 years, 70,017; 15 to 16 years, 96,177; over 16 years, 589,207;
total females, 791,682. No such preponderance of young women is
found in any other branch of industry.
According to this report nearly 800,000 women, or 83 per cent of
the total number of women in regulated factories, were employed in
the textile industry; 200,000 were girls under 16 years of age, and
36,000 were under 14 years of age.
Recruiting Woman Workers in Textile Industry
Recruiting labor is one of the most important problems in the
textile industry. In Japan there are three methods of recruiting
labor generally practiced, namely: Public employment exchanges
established by the Government to conform to international labor
conventions; private commercial employment agencies; and direct
labor recruiting by agents of manufacturers. There are some em­
ployees recruited through other means, such as introductions by rela­
tives or friends or advertisements, but these constitute only an insig­
nificant proportion of those employed. The textile workers are re­
cruited largely by the third method. Thus the Government report
on factory inspection in 1928 in an appendix on labor recruiting
shows that in that year persons who were granted licenses (valid for
three years) as recruiting agents numbered 15,835, while the persons
actually employed as recruiting agents numbered 10,858. Seventytwo per cent of all the recruiting agents in Japan in 1928 were m
the silk industry and 19 per cent were engaged by spinning, and
8 per cent by weaving manufacturers, and only 1 per cent in all other
branches or the industry. The total number of employees so re­
cruited in 1928 was 342,023, of whom over 300,000 were woman
workers in the textile industry and 235,000 of these were in the raw
silk industry alone.
Labor Recruited from Rural Districts
The textile industry, as we have said, was primarily developed as
a domestic or household industry until the adoption of the modern
industrial system which involved group manufacturing, and there­
fore this type of work is thoroughly familiar to the rural population
of Japan. It is, moreover, quite unfamiliar to the urban population.
From generation to generation the women of the rural districts have
been taught textile methods as their traditional occupation. This is
the principal reason why the potential labor supply for the textile



industry is found in the rural districts, and silk and textile mills
were generally established in rural neighborhoods in order to have
ready access to this labor supply and to be near the supply of raw
material—that is, cocoons.
The Japanese textile industry, by adopting the occidental factory
system and by division of labor, has come to require a larger number
of employees, and as the nature of the work is not congenial to town
women,9 and was also unfamiliar to them, it became necessary to
recruit labor from remote country regions. Moreover, the usual cus­
tom of a day and night shift system necessitated the housing of
employees in factory dormitories rather than their living outside the
factory. Young women under marriageable age form the basic labor
supply for the industry because, according to Japanese custom, house­
wives and older women do not go out to work. Another reason why
textile labor is recruited from rural districts is that the Japanese
method of cultivating farm lands has recently been modified in such
a way as to create a surplus of woman workers on the land, while the
ratio of the farming population to the amount of land available for
cultivation has increased. This has led, to economic difficulties for the
farmers, and has tended to draw their children into industry to
ameliorate the financial situation of the family.
The report on the condition of workers in cotton-spinning factories
gives an analysis for 84 factories and over 21,000 woman workers,
which shows that more than 15,000, or over 70 per cent, entered the
industry to assist the family, and a little over 17 per cent from the
motive of economic independence or to earn extra money for their
wedding trousseau. No record of motive is given for 4.5 per cent,
while all other motives, none accounting for much more than 1 per
cent of the workers, are included in the remaining 8.5 per cent of the
21,000 women to whom the questionnaire was sent.1
Young Girls from Farms Recruited for Short-Term
The large majority of the textile workers, drawn from the rural
population, are temporary workers, most of them between the ages
of elementary-school graduates and marriageable young women.
They have parents and need only to earn partial support from their
work in the factory. Although the farming population is generally
in an unfavorable economic situation, it is not so poor as to render
the employment of the daughters of the families imperative, as is the
case with the proletarian city laboring class, where the labor of the
whole family is absolutely necessary for existence. This fact of sheer
necessity for employment is not present in the case of rural woman
factory workers, and so employers must offer positive and attractive
inducements in order to get their labor force. Such action can not
be expected from Government employment exchanges or public and
commercial agents.
• Kimura. S .: Rodosha Boshu Torishlmari-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
Recruiting of Workers). Tokyo, 1926, pp. 15, 16.
1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Boseki Rodo
Fujin Chosa. Tokyo, 1929, p. 25.



The Role of the Recruiting Agent
As already mentioned, these women are temporary workers and
both the tenure of employment and the duration of their employment
or “ laboring life 5 are brief. In the textile industry the labor con­
tract is usually for a short period or from year to year. In the rawsilk industry most workers contract for only one year, but in spin­
ning and weaving the customary contract is for two or three years.1
This necessitates the recruiting of labor annually in many factories.
The newly recruited workers are inexperienced and without technical
preparation, and must consequently be persuaded to enter industrial
employment rather than be expected to seek it of their own accord.
On the employer’s part, it is necessary to make personal contacts
through agents with potential woman workers in their own homes
to induce them to leave their families, to go to a distant place and
stay away from home. For girls who have taken this step but who
later find themselves homesick, frightened, and overworked, the
agent is their connecting link with their families and makes it pos­
sible for many girls to stay away from home longer and to remain
contented with their work.
In silk factories, at the end of each calendar year, and also in May
and June, the season for purchasing cocoons, there are recess periods
when girls are allowed to go home. In the spinning industry there
is no such custom, and the agent’s service as a go-between is a very
essential one. Recruiting women from rural districts is one of the
social phenomena of the present time in Japan, and it will continue
unless some great change takes place in the agricultural and village
economy and social organization.
In the textile industry generally the recruiting of labor is carried
on by the direct method through agents. Employees who are re­
cruited through friends, relatives, or advertisements are known as
volunteer workers (shigan-ko), while the others are known as re­
cruits ( boshu-ko). Male workers are found in the former class and
generally live outside the factory, while recruits live within the fac­
tories in dormitories.
The report referred to above shows that of 21,000 workers in cot­
ton spinning, nearly 14,000 or about two-thirds were recruited
through company agents; over 3,000 or about 15 per cent w
recruited through parents, friends, and acquaintances; for nearly
8 per cent the method of recruiting was unknown, and all other
methods account for the remaining 10 per cent.
In the spinning industry the labor supply is drawn mostly from
children of the farming population, because the recruiting covers
such a vast area that agents are obliged to protect their own terri­
tory. In the raw-silk industry, the recruiting begins about the mid­
dle of December and lasts until about the middle of January,
employers sending out their agents during that period. In the spin­
ning industry there is no periodic recess giving an opportunity for
recruiting during the year as is the case in the raw-silk industry.
Therefore, the employment period contracted for is from two to
five years, with a certain amount of recruiting going on throughout
n Kimura, S .: Rodosha Boshu Tarishimari-rei Shakugl (Commentary on Ordinance on
Recruiting of Workers). Tokyo, 1926, p. 23.



the year. The season of recruiting is most active at the period of
graduation from the elementary schools; propaganda is necessary,
and companies send out members of their staff to direct the work
among local recruiting agents. As to the weaving industry, smallscale enterprise prevails, and recruiting is carried on by the employer
himself or by one of the other methods enumerated above.
Disadvantages of the Recruiting System
Labor recruiting through agents is often carried on under pres­
sure of severe competition and the necessity for speedy results, with
undesirable consequences. Unscrupulous agents sometimes resort
to deception, exaggeration, and unfair means to secure recruits, espe­
cially as such work is usually paid for on a commission basis.
Another disadvantage of the system is that the family of the em­
ployee considers only the immediate advantage in girts or emolu­
ments from the recruiting agents and ignores entirely the important
question of working conditions within the factory. It considers the
contract in terms of the amount of the payment advanced, or the
amount of money given for outfitting the girl for the journey, or in
terms of its personal relation to the agent. The prospective em­
ployee herself is under 20 years of age, lacks judgment, is ill informed
and susceptible to the attractions offered by the agent in the form
of pictures of towns, railways, theaters, etc., which are the deter­
mining factors in her decision. Particularly in the silk industry
there is great rivalry among recruiting agents to get skilled labor
by persuading workers with experience to leave the factory in which
they have been employed and go to another factory.
The chief disadvantages of the recruiting system are:
1. It is extremely expensive for the employer on account of travel
expenses and salary of supervising members of the staff, commis­
sions for the recruiting agents, traveling and other expenses of the
recruits, and cost of gifts and expenditures for entertainment for
their families. The agent’s commission generally ranges from 2 to
30 yen for each person secured. Besides the regular commission,
agents are paid monthly commissions on renewals of contracts of
workers secured in previous years, such renewal fees ranging from
15 to 60 yen per person per month. According to a study made by
the Bureau of Factories in Nagano Prefecture,1 the cost of recruiting
in 1913-1924, exclusive of the travel expenses of recruits, was the
lowest, 3.95 yen per person, in 1915, and the highest, 23.02 yen, in
1920, and averaged 12.50 yen per person per year for the 12 years.
Traveling expenses are paid by the employer if the worker continues
in the employ of the factory for a period of one to three years, but
if she does not complete her contract they are charged to her account
and paid by the worker.
2. There are many abuses in the custom of the “ advance payment
of wages ” and the outfitting of the girls. Generally, the factory does
not wish to provide funds for such purposes but competition with
other factories makes it necessary. Sometimes, however, factories
do it willingly in order to retain their working force for a longer
1 Kimura, S .: Rodosha Boshu Tarishimari-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
Recruiting of Workers). Tokyo, 1926, p. 37.



period and to have a stronger hold on the employee, and thus more
easily and surely to enforce the labor contract. The amount of such
advance payments varies from a few yen to as much as 50 or 60 yen
to an individual worker. Advances may be repaid by monthly deduc­
tions from the earnings of the workers, no interest in such cases
being charged the worker. I f workers leave their employment before
termination of their contracts, they must pay from 8 to 15 per cent
interest. This system of advance payments prevails in the eastern
rather than in the western part of Japan.
The high cost of recruiting, including the amount of workingcapital investment required for advance payments of wages, etc., is
well shown in a recent report by Kyocho-Kai,1 covering the period
from January to June, 1928, and giving the expenditure of five
large spinning companies in eastern Japan, and the average expendi­
ture per recruit in securing 2,310 new recruits (girls), of whom only
2,166, or 93.8 per cent, satisfactorily passed the tests for admission
to employment. The total cost of direct recruiting was 67,534 yen,
or 31.18 yen per recruit actually engaged to work. The commis­
sions paid to recruiting agents amounted to 42,358 yen, or 19.56
yen per recruit engaged. The traveling expenses of recruits from
home to factory amounted to 20,490 yen, or 9.46 yen per recruit
engaged. Salaries of supervisory staff and miscelleanous expenses
totaled 4,685 yen, or 2.16 yen per recruit engaged. The total ad­
vance payment of wages, etc., amounted to 46,647 yen, or an average
of 21.54 yen per recruit.
The advance payment of wages often tempts parents to dishonest
practices, such as not returning the money, or making contracts with
two or more agents2accepting advance payments from one factory
while putting the girls to work in another. Furthermore, this sys­
tem of advance payments tends to encourage long labor contracts
and a situation akin to peonage.
3. The moral hazards of girl workers engaging in factory work
are not lessened by the recruiting system. The young women are
brought from remote districts by recruiting agents and there have
often occurred most unpleasant incidents. The number of recruiting
agents who were punished in 1918 for offenses in which girl recruits
were concerned was 22; in 1919 there were 174 cases and in 1920
there were 262. In 1921 there were 94 cases in Gifu Prefecture
In the raw-silk industry the recruiting agents are usually factory
foremen, and the new recruit finds that the person with whom she
made a contract turns out to be her boss on the job, with added pow­
ers to enforce the obligations she entered into, perhaps under false
representations as to actual working conditions. This is an added
reason for strict governmental supervision of recruiting agents.
Protective factory legislation ordinarily covers working conditions
in the factory but not living conditions in the dormitories. Ordi­
nance No. 26 of 1927 regulating dormitories, to which reference is
made elsewhere in this study,1 dealt with many of the evils inherent
8Kyocho-Kai. Recent Social Movements (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1930, p. 43.
1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Honpo Seishi-gyo
Rodo Jijo (Condition of Japanese Silk-Reeling Workers). Tokyo, 1928, pp. 40, 47.
1 Sea chapter 4 (p. 53) ; also Appendix F (p. 96).



in the dormitory system, but not with those in which the dormitory
system has important relations to practices connected with the re­
cruiting system.
Recruiting of Workers Ordinance, 1924, and Its Application
The Bureau of Social Affairs was early convinced of the necessity
of a separate regulation of the evils inherent in and attendant upon
the recruiting system. An ordinance on recruiting of workers was
drafted and became effective March 1,1925—Ordinance No. 36, dated
December 29, 1924.1 There had been previously some similar regu­
lation of recruiting by prefectural and local authorities, but the new
ordinance gave for the first time uniform and substantial measures
dealing effectively with the system.
In explanation of the details of this regulation it is necessary
first to call attention to the scope of its application. It applies to ail
factory workers, miners, navvies, and other laborers, except where
the recruit does not have to change his residence to perform the work,
when he is procured by advertisement and the recruiting is con­
ducted at the place where the work is to be performed, and when
recruiting is done under the emigrant protection act. This ordinance
does not displace regulation or supervision by prefectural authorities,
and prefectural regulation may be applied in fields which this ordi­
nance does not touch.
There seem to be some question as to whether this ordinance ap­
plies to workers in both regulated and unregulated factories. How­
ever, persons employed alike in unregulated or regulated factories are
engaged in industrial production, that being the purpose of factory
operation, and therefore this law appears to apply to all workers in
both types of factories.1
Recruits to be Furnished “ Particulars of Employment9
The employer is legally obliged to furnish a manual of working
conditions, as it is necessary to give a clear exposition of working
conditions to recruits. He is also obliged to furnish a form of em­
ployment contract with an explanation of its provisos. Article 3 of
the recruiting ordinance specifies the information which the manual
of employment must furnish to prospective recruits, as follows:
1. Name and address of employer; if incorporated, the corporate
title, name, and address of the representative of the corporation.
2. Name and address of place of employment.
3. The date of beginning and ending of job.
4. The kind of work in which recruit will be employed.
5. Information concerning working hours, rest periods, holidays,
and night work,
6. Wages.
7. Particulars of dormitory accommodations, cost of meals, travel
expenses, etc.
8. [Regulations for discipline, if such exist.
1 International Labor Office, Legislative Series, 1924, Jap. 3; see also International
Labor Review, October, 1925, pp. 484-499: “ Labor recruiting in Japan and its control,”
by Sbuzo Yosnisaka.
1 Kimura, S . : Rodosha Boshu Torisliiniari-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
liocruiting o f Workei’s ). Tokyo, 1926, p. 68.



9. Period of employment and information concerning dismissal.
10. Compensation lor injury, sickness, or death.
The purpose of the manual of employment is to give the prospec­
tive worker a clear exposition of labor conditions in the factory
which intends to employ the recruit, and it is therefore necessary that
it be inspected by competent government authorities to insure its
accuracy and completeness. Hence notice and a copy of the manual
must be sent to the local authorities before agents can receive a
license for recruiting. In article 20 it is stated that the person who
makes false statements in this manual may be punished by fine or
The act of recruiting involves the taking of young, ignorant, and
often helpless women from their homes and transplanting them to a
distant environment in which they are quite defenseless and alone.
Hence the necessity for safeguarding the issue of licenses to recruit­
ing agents. Applicants for licenses as recruiting agents are subject
to thorough investigation by local authorities, and those not qualified
are not granted licenses.
Application for License as Recruiting Agent
Article 4 specifies that the application for a license must give:
1. Name and address of the employer for whom the agent will
recruit if licensed to do so.
2. Recruiting agent’s domicile, address, name, occupation, date of
3. Personal record of agent.
4. Period of recruiting (season for recruiting).
5 District where recruiting is to be done.
6. Name and address of the place of employment for recruits and
nature of work in which recruits will be employed.
This application must be signed both by the applicant and by his
employer and must be accompanied by two photographs of the appli­
cant. One of these photographs is to be attached to the license of
the recruiting agent and the other is retained by the local authorities
for identification. The person who is engaged in recruiting is often
working outside of his home locality, and therefore the license must
provide evidence necessary for his identification. The license is
granted on the ground that this person is certified as having qualified
in his own locality. He may carry on recruiting in different local­
ities, but his license must be shown to the local authorities of each
district before he undertakes the task. However, article 18 states
that whenever the recruiting agent has been guilty of misconduct
or has demonstrated, in the opinion of the authorities, his unfitness
for his duties his license shall be revoked. The recruiting agent’s
certificate also must be returned in order to prevent its misuse.1
Anyone is free in theory to undertake recruiting, but in practice
this is not true, as there is close supervision and control of both the
act of recruiting and the persons engaged therein. Article 9 stipu­
lates that notification of recruiting must be given to the police station
of that district, which has direct control thereof.
18Kimura, S.: Rodosha Boshn TorisbSmarl-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
Rccruitins of Workers). Tokyo, 1026, p. 121.



Article 11 requires agents to keep a register of recruits, as it is
necessary for the police to know whether the recruiting has been
carried on in accordance with legal requirements. Items of informa­
tion required in this registry are: Name, address, and age of recruits,
sex and domicile, name and address of guardian or parents, date of
arrival of recruit at place of employment, amount of advance pay­
ment of wages, and amount of travel expenses. Article 14 requires
advance notice of departure of recruits, as this is necessary to give
the police ample time to investigate whether the recruiting'has been
done legally and whether the recruits and their families understand
the labor conditions in the new place of employment. This investiga­
tion is by the police, who visit the homes of the recruits or interview
them at the point of departure. Moreover, in the case of recruits
being obliged to stay overnight in hotels or elsewhere, the law
requires that advance notice be sent to the police of that place as to
where they are to stay (art. 15). This does not apply in the case of
their staying overnight on a boat or in a train, as it is impossible to
control or supervise such travel.
Article 12 prohibits certain acts in recruiting, and article 16 pre­
scribes the duties of the employer in connection with the protection
of workers. The labor contract is a contract for the buying and sell­
ing of labor and labor can not be separated or distinguished from the
worker himself; that is, the worker himself comes under the control
of the employer, and therefore, the employer has the responsibility,
automatically, of protecting the worker and preventing anything
injurious to his health and life. Moreover, this recruiting of labor is
not the same as volunteer employment. The making of the labor con­
tract is due to the fact that the employer recruits the employees by
persuasion or other means, hence the primary interest in the contract
is on the part of the employer rather than of the employee. It is the
duty of the employer to restore the original status of the employee
in case the latter suffers any injury or illness due to his employment,
and such a provision is more necessary when the employees are young
girls brought from remote places.
Other Means Than Recruiting for Securing Labor
The State makes provision for securing labor through public em­
ployment exchanges. In April, 1921, the Government enacted regu­
lations for the employment of labor and the year following Japan
ratified the international labor convention of 1919 regarding unem­
ployment, and established a system of free public employment ex­
changes. The work was initiated by Kyocho-Kai and was gradually
developed. After the establishment of the Bureau of Social Affairs,
the supervision of the public agencies was transferred to the Bureau
of Social Affairs and the Government opened simultaneously many
public employment agencies in the larger cities all over the country.
Finally, in 1925, the Government promulgated regulations governing
private commercial employment agencies.
A private means for the securing of labor called a system of “ regis­
tration of employees” (Joko Torohu Seido), was instituted by the
employers in the raw-silk industry. This system required each em­
ployee in every factory to register in the records of the Raw Silk
Association so as to avoid competition for employees in another fac­



tory. This system was instituted in 1902 by the Federation of Eaw
Silk Manufacturers of the Okaya district in the Nagano Prefecture.1
It was found to be very successful, particularly in a district where
competition for workers was very keen. In some districts it takes the
form of a “ union 5 (including many phases of the textile industry),
or an “ association,” or some similar name, according to the trade in
which it operates. This system renders the manufacturers immune
from competition, but it involves the problem of the employer’s
right to a particular employee, because once a man is employed under
this system he is for all practical purposes regarded as the absolute
property of his employer. This system was condemned as inhuman
and public opinion compelled its abolition, which was effected by the
local authorities in Nagano Prefecture, where it was most prevalent,
on February 28, 1926.
Another employment facility, provided by the employees, is
known as Joko Kyokyu Kumiai, or Association for the Supply of
Woman Factory Workers. The principal purpose of this organiza­
tion is the protection and promotion of the workers’ interest through
the united action of workers and their parents. This organization
developed rapidly in two of the prefectures where the raw-silk indus­
try predominated, namely, Nagano and Aichi Prefectures, and
spread to the neighboring Gifu Prefecture and thence all over the
northern part of Japan.
This association was formed by woman workers and their families,
with cities, towns, or villages as units of organization. The duties
specified for all members are as follows: (1) Without the consent of
the association, no member may make a contract directly with an
employer; (2) members may not make double contracts; (3) mem­
bers have the responsibility of notifying the association concerning
any employer who is guilty of a breach of contract or any employee
who is guilty of misconduct or misrepresentation.
The members are privileged to attend lectures and educational
meetings under the auspices of the association. The officers consist
of the local authorities, police officials, and influential citizens. The
work of this association is principally to supply working girls and
to educate them. For the support and maintenance of the associa­
tion, the association charges employers for the workers it supplies
1.50 yen per girl from within the district and 3 yen per girl from
outside of the district. The local authorities protect this organiza­
tion and prohibit direct recruiting of labor in districts where it has
been established; in short, the association has been given a monopoly
of supplying the laboring force from its own district.
Requirements for Admission to Work
All new recruits in a factory are first given a physical examina­
tion. The higher the type of the factory the more thorough is this
examination, especially since the national health insurance law came
into effect in 1926, and at the present time when recruiting is easier
than in the past. The latter two developments have tended to in­
crease the strictness of this examination. When the recruit has
passed the physical examination she takes an intelligence test. I f
» Kimura, S .: Rodosha Boshu Torishimari-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
Recruiting of Workers). Tokyo, 1926, appendix, p. 6.



she is successful in passing both of these examinations she is entitled
to complete her employment contract, written or verbal. Her em­
ployment contract is presented to the company with a copy of the
record of her domicile and an identification certificate.
Sample Form of Labor Contract
A sample form of labor contract used by a spinning company is as
follows: 2
Labor contract—No. 2 form

Address---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Relation to head of family_____________________________________________
Date of birtli_________________________________________________________
I hereby pledge myself to follow anfl observe the foUowing regulations, from
the date of being employed by your company:
1. I will observe all the working regulations which your company has made
and also any other regulations and orders. I pledge myself to be very diligent
and honest.
2. According to your working regulations, I will engage in the work in which
your company places me, during the period of the three years from _____ to
--------- And after the completion of the contract, if I continue in your employ­
ment without opposition on my part, the contract will be recognized as being
automatically renewed for another year, and after the termination of that year,
if I continue to work, the contract will have the same effect as before.
3. During my employment, if I have reason for leaving the company, I will
give notice two weeks in advance, stating the reason for going.
4. After the termination of the contract, if I continue to be employed of my
own volition without drawing up a new contract, you will recognize that it is
the same as though I had made a new contract.
As stated above I hereby swear to
Address_____________________________________________ _________________
Date of birth--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Address of the guardian_________________________ ______________________
Address of the guarantor---------------------------------------------------------------------T o ------------------------------------------ Spinning Co.

This sample, which most forms follow, is more or less typical of
the labor contract. On account of the ignorance of the recruit and
her parents, important labor conditions contained in the contract
may be and are one-sided, but the employee and her family accept
them as practically compulsory and without criticism. We must
notice, however, the employment period stipulated in the contract;
that is, two to three years. This is, however, less important than it
appears. The statement of the period is, in practice, used only in
the awarding of termination pnzes. In the raw-silk industry the
labor contract is, as a rule, for one year, and the provisions of the
contract are usually similar to those of the spinning contract given
Examination and Training of Recruits
The worker thus employed is placed under the charge of a trained
worker from one week to one month, in order to gain ample expe­
rience, this being the method generally used for a newcomer. The
2 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Boseki Rodo
Fujin Chosa (Condition of Woman Workers in Cotton Spinning). Tokyo, 1929, pp. 45-46.



raw-silk industry particularly requires trained workers, since the
nature of the work itself demands sensitive finger tips. To attain
the required degree of skill necessitates long training, and large
factories often establish schools in which they place new recruits
to give them the necessary technique as well as elementary education.
Working Hours and Rest Periods
The revised factory legislation has been in force since 1926, and
regulated factories in the raw-silk industry work, generally speak­
ing, 12 hours a day, which time includes a rest period of 1 hour.
Eest periods are generally given three times a day, such as a lunch
period, 30 minutes, and a 15-minute recess in the morning and after­
noon. In some factories a rest period occurs twice a day, or there
may be recesses of 15 minutes each morning and afternoon, in addi­
tion to a lunch period of 40 minutes, totaling 1 hour and 10 minutes
of rest for the day.
In the spinning industry the working hours are generally 11 per
day, the workers being employed in two shifts. The time when
workers begin their shift is 5 a. m. or 6 p. m.; for example:
1. Day work, 7 a. m. to 6 p. m., 11 hours per day; night work,
6 p. m. to 5 a. m., 11 hours per day.
2. Day work, 6 a. m. to 6 p. m. (men), 12 hours per day; day work.
6 a. m. to 5 p. m. (women), 11 hours per day; night work, 6 p. m
to 6 a. m. (men), 12 hours per day; night work, 6 p. m. to 5 a. m.
(women), 11 hours per day.
Since July 1, 1929, night work has been abolished by the revised
factory legislation. As early as April 1 of that year 14 out of 59
companies, members of the Japan Cotton Spinners Association, had
discontinued night work, anticipating the enforcement of the new
law. For example, their new working schedule is as follows:
1. Day work, 5 a. m. to 2 p. m., 9 hours per day; night work, 2
p. m. to 11 p. m., 9 hours per day.
2. Day work, 5 a. m. to 3 p. m., 10 hours per day; night work,
3 p. m. to 11 p. m., 8 hours per day.
The above two types of the working-day also included 30 minutes
recess for mealtime.
In the weaving industry the working hours are usually longer.
The industry is accustomed traditionally to long working-days, and
particularly because of the ignorance of the workers the employer is
desirous of prolonging the working-day as much as possible.
The examples of the wretched conditions of the workers cited in the
report of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce were mostly
drawn from the weaving industry. Since even regulated factories
operate to the legal maximum limit of the working-day, it is natural
that many unregulated factories are at present working several hours
longer than the standard of factory legislation. The 1928 report on
factory inspection of the Bureau of Social Affairs cited that in that
year 463 violations of factory legislation were punished and in 20,954
cases warning was given.2 Among those punished, 228 cases, or
about 50 per cent, were in the textile industry. Of this latter num­
ber, 120 cases were convictions for employing protected workers
** Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report, 1928. Tokyo, pp. 20, 21.



overtime. In the case where warnings were given 1,803 cases were
due to the failure of the establishment to post for the information
of the worker labor regulations as to hours, rest periods, etc. Par­
ticular attention is called each year by the metropolitan police of
Tokyo to the fact that in this jurisdiction there are a large number
of violations of the law with respect to working hours.
Wages in the Raw-Silk Industry
The wage system of the textile industry is a very complicated one.
In the raw-silk industry men are paid on a daily or monthly basis
and women usually on a piecework basis. The principle of the for­
mulation of wage rates is as follows: The basic wage rate is deter­
mined by the average worker’s production for one day over a certain
period of time, which is then compared with the results of similar esti­
mates made in other factories in the same district and modified by
consideration thereof. To the basic wage, as thus determined, there
is added an amount proportioned to the individual worker’s skill in
(1) reeling; (2) denier;2 (3) luster; (4) coarseness or fineness of
The basic wage is so small compared with the final wage depending
on skill ratings that in the silk industry the amount and quality ot
production have a direct relation to the effort and skill of the
worker. The nature of the work demands constant and intense
concentration on the part of the worker and requires tense effort by
her, which doubtless may increase her efficiency but which at the same
time places her in competition with others to their disadvantage.
The essential factor in determining the wage earned is the skill of
the worker, but the wage is also greatly affected by the quality of the
raw material, such as the cocoon, and this is the chief justification for
the existence of such a wage system.
Women’s daily wages in the raw-silk industry averaged, according
to the official statistics of the annual report of the Department of
Agriculture and Commerce and the Imperial Statistical Year
Book,2 only 20 sen (10 cents) in 1900, 31 sen (15.5 cents) in 1912,
43 sen (21 cents) in 1918, and has fluctuated between 93 and 96 sen
(46 and 48 cents) from 1921 to 1927, the latest date for which such
figures are available.
Of course, board and living quarters are customarily provided by
employers in the raw-silk industry and the average wages paid
would, in nearly all cases, be in addition to such board and shelter.
The individual fluctuations from the average, because of the skill
factor, are very great. In an investigation by the prefectural bureau
of factories in the Gifu Prefecture in 1926 and 1927, covering 164
and 165 factories, respectively, it was found that the average daily
earnings in these factories for those years were only 70 and 75 sen
(30 and 37.5 cents), respectively, but that the fluctuation was from
39 to 136 sen (19.5 to 68 cents) in 1926 and from 37 to 132 sen (18.5
to 66 cents) in 1927.
2 Unit size of silk fiber is called “ denier,” which means the size of fiber of 0.05 gram
in a 450-meter length.
**As quoted in Kyocho-Kai, Recent Social Movements, Tokyo, 1930, pp. 60, 61.



Thus an untrained girl may work with the utmost diligence and
still earn an amount which bears no relation to the earnings of a
skilled worker, or, indeed, on account of penalties for lack of skill,
may earn nothing or even incur a debt to her employers. In view of
this system the prefectural authorities of Nagano Prefecture in 1927
put into effect a minimum-wage regulation that each employee must
be guaranteed a minimum wage of 30 sen (15 cents) per day for
trained workers and 15 sen (7.5 cents) for untrained workers. For­
merly payment of wages was generally made at the end of the year,
but since the factory-legislation revision in 1923 payment is made
monthly or twice a month, and must be made in legal currency.
As before mentioned, the basic wage of the textile worker is in­
creased by a system of skill rating; in addition there are several
kinds of prizes, such as (1) prizes in recognition of long and con­
tinuous service; (2) prizes for the purpose of increasing efficiency;
(3) prizes in recognition of good conduct; (4) annual prizes or
Generally the raw-silk industry requires long and continuous serv­
ice, without loss of time from the worker first, because of the nature
of the processes of the industry, and, second, because the employer
furnishes meals to the working force, which practice may tend to
malingering and idleness. In order to foster emulation among their
companions, No. 1 prize is given to the girls who have not lost time.
This prize is given in three ways: The first, based on a simple cal­
culation, is a premium for a certain period of work without loss of
time, the prize increasing in the same ratio as the period increases;
for example, 25 sen (12.5 cents) added for 15 days’ continuous serv­
ice, and 50 sen (25 cents) for 30 days. By the second method a
certain period without loss of time entitles the worker to a premium
which is cumulative, increasing in greater proportion than the period
without loss of time increases. The third method is a premium not
in money but in commodities, gifts of furniture, «tc.
The second type of prizes—prizes for efficiency—are usually added
to regular wages. They are given as competitive group prizes. For
example, workers are divided into two groups, each consisting of
about 60 girls. Both groups perform similar tasks for 15 days.
After a decision as to the winner in respect to quantities^ qualities,
etc., of work turned out, the winning group is rewarded with money,
generally about 50 yen ($25), which is divided among the members
of that group.
The third type is the prize for good and exemplary conduct,
or *it may be given to a person who renders service to the company
for many years, or one who has shown great skill in her work. The
company celebrates with a ceremony and presents the gift to the
worker who has qualified for the honor.
The annual prize, the fourth type, is given, according to Japanese
custom, at the season of Bon (July 13) and at Kure, the end of the
year, when gifts are exchanged, and the employer is accustomed to
give gifts to his employees.2
3 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Honpo Seishi-gyo
Rodo Jijo (Condition of Japanese Silk-Reeling Workers), by T. Katsura. Tokyo, 1928,
pp. 94-96, 142-144.



Wage System in the Spinning Industry
Wages in the spinning industry are calculated on an hourly basis
or on a piecework basis. Generally woman workers are paid by
piecework rather than a fixed daily wage. The hourly wages are
calculated at the normal rate per hour for the normal number of
hours per day, overtime or extra hours being paid for by a 10 per
cent increase in the hourly rate.
Even piecework rates vary according to the skill of the individuals
or groups to which allotments of work or special tasks are made.
The average wages earned by men and women are shown, over a
period of years,2 to have increased steadily since 1908, when men
earned on the average only ‘32 sen (16 cents) per day, to 1918
when this was increased to 68 sen (34 cents), 1921 to 1.46 yen (73
cents), and in 1927 to 1.53 yen (76.5 cents). The corresponding
figures for women are 1903, 20.6 sen (10.3 cents); 1918, 47.6 sen
(23.8 cents); 1921, 1.13 yen (56.5 cents); 1927, 1.04 yen (52 cents).
Generally, men get as a basic wage from 80 sen (40 cents) to 1.10
yen (55 cents) per day as beginners, and women between 50 and 70
sen (25 and 35 cents). The amount varies according to the factory
and to the work performed. Usually a woman worker’s wages are
on the piecework basis from one to three months after she commences
work. Her basic wage will be raised from 2 to 5 sen (1 to 2.5 cents)
per day after the first two or three months, when she may be able to
earn a substantial daily wage. From six months to two years after
this time she receives another raise of from 5 to 15 sen (2.5 to 7.5
cents) per day. This determination of the rise in wages is largely
influenced by the trend of the trade. Wages are paid monthly, on
the 20th or 25th, in legal tender.
In 1929 Kyocho-Kai’s investigation of 11 representative spinning
concerns quoted the average daily earnings of men as 1.52 yen (76
cents) and of women as 95 sen (47.5 cents).2 The spinning industry
also has a system of prizes similar to that of the raw-silk industry.
Also semiannual prizes given by some companies constitute practi­
cally a bonus and bear a relation to the profits of the company during
the year.2
Wage System in the Weaving Industry
In modernized weaving factories traditional long-term labor is
disappearing and the average basic wage for the untrained worker is
calculated on a daily basis. Experienced skilled workers are paid by
piecework. However, the long-term workers are paid yearly wages
and receive in addition lodging, board, summer and winter clothing,
and about 3 yen ($1.50) pocket money per month. This system has
been adopted by the smaller factories as a fixed system; other facto­
Kyocho-Kai: Recent Social Movements (in Japanese), Tokyo, 1930, p. 49; see, also,
for wage system in spinning industry, Japan, Burpan of Social Affairs, Central Employ­
ment Exchange, Boseki Rodo Fujin Chosa, Tokyo, 1929. pp. 66-68.
2 Kyocho-Kai. Recent Social Movements (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1930, p. 49.
2 According to the Imperial Statistical Yearbook, the average daily wages for woman
workers in the cotton-spinning industry were: 1922, 1.11 yen (55.5 cents); 1923, 1.07
yen (53.5 cents) ; 1924, 1.10 yen (55 cents) ; 1925, 1.16 yen (58 cents) ; 1926, 1.18 yen
(59 cents). A study made by the Central Employment Exchange of 3,966 women in the
spinning industry (Boseki Rodo Fujin Chosa, Tokyo. 1928, p. 27) showed that their
average monthly earnings were 26.85 yen ($13.43) in 1927.



ries have adopted the yearly wage, but based on a piece rate or pro­
duction calculation rather than a stipulated contract rate.
Factory legislation now requires that all wages must be paid at
least once a month, in legal tender, which regulation has tended to
do away with contract long-term labor, but this system will continue
under the guise of “ advance payment of wages.”
The contract rates for long-term workers in Enshu district, accord­
ing to the Weaving Association of Employers, for 1929 on a yearly
basis, are: Highest skilled, 150 yen ($75); first class, 130 yen ($65);
second class, 110 yen ($55); third class, 90 yen ($45); and appren­
tices in training 80 yen ($40) per year.2
These figures show that the weavers of the most skilled class earn
about 13 yen ($6.50) per month, in addition to pocket money, board,
and room; those in less skilled classes earn about 10 yen ($5) per
month, with pocket money, board, and room. Weavers are by far
the lowest-paid group in the textile industry.
In modernized factories workers in training are paid daily wages
for a brief period of two weeks to three months, the daily wage vary­
ing from 30 to 65 sen (15 to 32.5 cents), the average being about 50
sen (25 cents). These figures are based on a survey of all statistics of
the weaving industry throughout Japan in October, 1927. After the
training period is over the basis is calculated on a piecework scale
plus prizes for efficiency, long service, etc. The average net return
to average skilled woman workers, including prizes, was found to be:
Silk weaving, 88 sen (44 cents) per day; woolen weaving, 1.09 yen
(54.5 cents); linen weaving, 1.33 yen (66.5 cents); cotton weaving,
96 sen (48 cents); and other fabrics, 93 sen (46.5 cents).
Workers’ Savings
Workers’ savings on deposit with employers, October 1, 1928,
totaled 61,474,678 yen, of which 7.987,584 yen were on deposit in
Government-operated factories. The total number of workers de­
positing this money was 790;521, of whom 67,944 were employed in
Government-operated factories. This gave an average savings de­
posit of 77.76 yen per worker in all factories where deposits were
made. This means that nearly half of all the workers in regulated
factories (totaling 1,869,668 workers in 1928) and more than half
the employees in Government-operated factories had savings on
deposit with their employers. The amount of such savings deposits
of employees in Government-operated factories was nearly oneeighth of the total deposits, while the number of workers was only
one-fourteenth of the total number of workers in all regulated fac­
tories. The textile industry, particularly the raw-silk, spinning, and
weaving branches, is predominant in the number and amount of
savings deposits. The factory inspectors’ reports show that probably
about 86 per cent of the total savings deposits in regulated factories
were deposited with employers, about 10 per cent in postal savings
banks, and about 4 per cent in commercial banks. The savings de~
2 Some districts have attempted to abolish this system of long-term contract service
and advance payment of wages. For example, the Weaving Association of Enshu Dis­
trict has made regulations: (1) To prohibit the advance payment of wages and enforce
monthly wage payments and (2) payment of board by occupier of the factory. (KyochoKai. Recent Social Movements. Tokyo, 1930, p. 72.)



posits with employers earn from 6 to 10 per cent interest per annum,
compounded semiannually.
The yearly savings deposits with employers have increased in
recent years as follows: 2
"Number of employees making savings deposits and total amount of such sawings,
1917 to 1928, bp years
[Yen=about 50 cents in United States currency]


Private establishments:
191 7
- .................
191 8
191 9
192 1
192 2
192 3
192 4
192 5
192 6
192 7
192 8
Government-operated factories:
192 6
192 7
192 8

Number of

Number of







Total deposits


The 1927 factory-inspection report quoted a very interesting epi­
sode concerning factory savings. In the Japan Spinning Co. there
was a volunteer system carried on by the workers employed by this
firm. This particular savings scheme was known as “ nenbutsu,”
or “ prayer,” or Buddhist invocation savings. Employee members
laid aside 1 sen every morning. The origin of this savings plan was
that in March, 1927, the company, on the occasion of a religious
lecture for the employees, had invited a Buddhist priest who deliv­
ered a speech under the title of “ Think of your native home.” He
said that every morning when the workers pray for the happiness of
parents and relations at home, if they would save 1 sen their savings
would have a meaning. Most of the girls were greatly touched, and
the next morning some one made a paper bag, 4 inches long and 3
inches wide, to which she signed her own name on one side and
inscribed this Buddhist prayer on the other side. The girls placed
similar bags in their own rooms, and afterwards all of this money
was kept in their rooms, but none of it was stolen. This volunteer
saving system spread among the inhabitants of the dormitory, and
at the end of that year there were 1,668 people following this form
of saving who had accumulated nearly 1,000 yen. These savings
were added to their own regular monthly savings accounts, or in some
cases devoted to other purposes, such as donations to temples. But
at the end of November it was decided that it should be used for
traveling expenses to pay for a visit to the National Shrine of Ise.3
» Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs.
“ Idem, 1927, p. 74. Tokyo.

Factory Inspection Report. 1928. p. 60.




Labor Turnover and Tenure of Employment
It is the custom in Japan for woman workers to quit work after
they are married, and this naturally causes a high turnover in the
textile industry and adds to the cost of production, especially in
silk reeling, which requires skilled workers, and where it takes about
one year to bring a new worker up to standard proficiency.
In the spinning industry the tenure of employment is short and
the turnover therefore high, both factors varying somewhat with
the district and location of the factory, the welfare provisions in
the plant, and the general economic conditions in the community
from which the workers come. More workers quit also in the spring
and summer because it is the busy season with farmers. Many work­
ers also quit or leave after a few months’ experience because of dis­
appointment with conditions as represented or misrepresented. A
study made by Kyocho-Kai of 10 factories for the year July 1, 1927,
to June 30, 1928, showed that of 21,587 persons employed, 10,501
quit after one year or less of service; the proportion of men quitting
under the same conditions was 1,087 out oi 5,687; of women living in
dormitories, 7,771 out of 11,482; of women living out, 1,643 out of
4,418 employed. The reasons assigned for quitting were: Domestic
or home causes in 5,428 cases; sickness, 871; because of punishment
or fines, 866; changed to other employment, 666; death of employee,
112; miscellaneous causes, 318.
Another study by Kyocho-Kai, made in December, 1928, covered
12 factories employing 11,582 workers in the spinning industry,
where 5,048 or over 43 per cent had been employed under one year,
over 25 per cent under two years, over 14 per cent under three years,
and only about 16 per cent for varying periods of over three years.
The general conclusion from these studies is that for the most numer­
ous class, the girls living in dormitories, the average tenure in the
spinning industry is one year and nine months.
In silk reeling most of the employees, except the girl apprentices in
training, are employed on a 1-year contract. Theoretically they quit
at the end of the year, if not sooner, upon the termination of their
contracts, but in most cases they renew their contracts and are reem­
ployed. This custom, however, and the arrangement of vacation
periods which often come at the same times as the termination of
the yearly contracts, often causes confusion in the statistics of turn­
over. In reality the tenure of employment in silk reeling is longer
than it is in spinning. Silk workers who are counted as quitting
their employment, strictly speaking, are those who leave before the
termination of the contract, and those who do not renew their con­
tracts or are not reemployed. T. Katsura recently studied 17 repre­
sentative silk-reeling factories and found that of 12,070 workers,
2,452, or over 20 per cent, quit work before the termination of their
contracts.8 In the Okaya district, where there is a cooperative em­
ployers5 association and a minimum of competition in recruiting
workers, only 7 per cent of the workers do not renew their contracts,
but it is generally supposed that the percentage among silk workers
8 Kyocho-Kai. Social Reform. Tokyo, October, 1926, pp. 154-167: “ Working condi­
tions in Japanese textile industries” by T. Katsura.



in other districts is as high as 15 to 20 per cent. Shuichi Harada
said in his Labor Conditions in Japan, published in 1928 (p. 129),
that no extensive study had yet been made of labor turnover. He
quotes a report published by the central employment exchange of
the Bureau of Social Affairs to the effect that labor turnover in
factories for 1925 was 58 per cent in the textile industry generally,
and that the average turnover for all industries in the same vear was
57.3 per cent.

Chapter 4.—The Dormitory System in Japanese
The dormitory system has many characteristics peculiar to Japan
and raises special questions concerning the housing and protection
of workers, especially in respect to woman workers. The latest
available official figures for 19281show that of 55,041 regulated fac­
tories employing 1,869,668 workers there were 14,115 factories hav­
ing dormitories housing 33 per cent of the total workers in regulated
factories—498,184 woman workers and 117,213 male employees.
Nearly half of the factories having dormitories were textile fac­
tories, and more than 80 per cent of the workers housed in dormi­
tories are women. Ninety per cent of all workers housed in dormi­
tories are employed in textile factories, and 99 per cent of all textile
workers who are housed in dormitories are women.2
Dormitory Problem One of Protection of Young Women
The dormitory problem, as far as it is concerned with health and
morals of workers, is confined almost wholly to the textile industry
and to the regulation and protection of young women and children.
As the prevailing custom in the textile industry is to house re­
cruited workers in dormitories, the fact that over 200,000 female
workers are under 16 years of age and there are only 11,000 boys
under 16 years of age employed in the textile industry would seem
to corroborate the view that the dormitory is a problem of young
women and children.
An investigation made in 1927 by the Central Employment Ex­
change, of the Government, which studied 49 spinning factories in
various districts, shows that 26 per cent of these workers were girls
under 16, presumably all of whom lived in dormitories.3
These young girls and women constitute the class who stand in
special need of protective legislation, because each girl in the dormi­
tory is necessarily lonely and isolated from family and friends. On
the other hand, her employer bases his business calculations upon
the assumption of continuous production, which means regularity in
attendance and work of all employees. The average employer, there­
fore, prefers girls who live in dormitories rather than girls living
outside, because the attendance of girls from outside is more uncer­
tain. Absence from work on account of personal convenience, do­
mestic affairs, festivals, slight illnesses, new cinemas, and many
similar reasons^ is much less with residents of dormitories because
they can be easily controlled by the employer.
1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report, 1928. Tokyo.
- Idem, pp. 31, 32.
9 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Boseki Rodo
Fujin Cliosa (Condition of Woman Workers in Cotton Spinning). Tokyo, 1929, p. 12.




Dormitory workers follow absolutely the regulations as to meal­
times, rising and retiring, rest periods, periods of recreation, living
quarters, etc., and even work through slight illnesses in order to keep
in the good graces of the foreman. Also workers in dormitories can
be employed to the maximum legal limit of hours, and the employer
is able to let them work in alternate shifts, day and night, while this
is impossible with workers living outside. For this reason most of
the workers in the textile industry are living-in workers and are, in
the nature of things, exposed to risks that give rise to serious abuses.
Conditions in Factory Dormitories
In the spinning industry, where modernized large-scale factories
prevail, model dormitories with modern facilities are found. But
in small-scale factories in the weaving or silk-reeling industries there
are still many dormitories which are inadequate from the point of
view of sanitation, safety, and moral conditions.
The types of architecture are varied. Some factories have sepa­
rate buildings or use part of the workshop or a second floor as a
dormitory, the first floor being used as the occupier’s residence or
Generally, however, dormitories are Japanese wooden houses of
1, 2, or 3 stories, mostly 2. The interior of the house is floored with
tatami or thick and straw-padded Japanese matting, on which the
workers sit during their rest times and upon which they spread their
beds at night. The facilities of the dormitory affect greatly the
well-being of workers. Unfortunately, in the case of the smaller
establishments which predominate in the silk-reeling industry, poor
dormitories are the rule rather than the exception. Such dormi­
tories use the second floor of workshops or garretlike sleeping quar­
ters without a ceiling and without outside doors, or what the Jap­
anese call “ amado,” and without closets. The rooms are often dark
and badly ventilated, badly lighted, and overcrowded. There are
often found in the poorer factories 20-mat dormitory rooms, each
mat 3 by 6 feet, arranged for 20 occupants, in a space not over 360
square feet, which will be lighted by a single 10-watt lamp. This is
not sufficient for the protection of the workers’ eyesight or for the
encouragement of healthful recreational or educational use of leisure
time where other facilities than the dormitory are not provided.
In an official investigation of dormitory facilities made by the
Bureau of Social Affairs in 19264 covering 4,804 dormitories in
textile factories, nearly half were found without a ceiling (only
rafters for a covering) and more than a quarter were without a win­
dow and had no outside door protection. Nearly half were without
closet or private receptacle for personal belongings and bedding.
One-third, or over 1,600, provided only one mat for two persons with
one cover of the single size.
In 1919 an investigation by the Department of Agriculture and
Commerce brought out the fact that “ in most factories workers who
sleep alone are only those who bring their own beds. All others sleep
double.” Even where a factory does provide single beds, bedding is
4 Kyocho-Kai.

Saikin no Sliakai Undo (Recent Social Movements). Tokyo, 1930, p. 936.



used by several persons in common. The use of white sheets is very
rare; even washable coverings for the upper part of the quilt are
seldom found. It is absolutely necessary for sanitary reasons to wash
bedding and to expose it to sunlight from time to time and to have
quilts at least partially covered by washable material. But in the
dormitories these practices are rarely found.5 As Doctor Ishihara
has well observed, such conditions obviously provide the first and
most direct medium for the spreading "of disease, especially
The 1919 investigation also shows that “ the average size of the
dormitory room is 15y2 tsubo,7and that the largest are 405 tsubo and
the smallest IV2 tsubo. The maximum accommodation in one room
was found to be 708 people, the average 24, and the minimum 2.”
The average floor space per person was about one mat or 18 square
feet. Usually Japanese houses are measured by the number of mats
in each room. For example, one mat is 3 feet wide and 6 feet long,
so that a room of the dimension of 10 tsubo is a 20-mat room. Thus a
10-tsubo room will accommodate 20 people.
Bathing Facilities
Generally factories have free bathing facilities for all employees,
including dormitory employees, those who live out, and those who
live in company-owned houses. I f the factory has no such facilities,
free bathing tickets to public bathhouses are provided. However,
these bathing facilities are of a quite inadequate kind. Large fac­
tories have separate bathhouses for men and women; but small
factories usually provide for the use of a common bathhouse. The
statistics from one prefecture (Nagano)8 for 1921 and 1922 showed
that in only one-quarter of some 600 factories separate bathing facili­
ties were provided on an adequate scale. For the other three-quarters
many of the moral dangers attendant upon the use of common
facilities must be assumed to exist.
Meals and Dining-Room Facilities
With the exception of the well-equipped dining rooms of big fac­
tories, dining rooms in the textile-industry dormitories are generally
floored with wood and covered with very thin matting, on which
people sit, or the surface of the floor is of earth, concrete, or of brick,
which may be washed. The method of serving the meal varies. In
some factories the employees are allowed to sit down and in other
factories they stand while they eat. In very few has the custom been
adopted of sitting on chairs. In the case where meals are eaten
in the Japanese fashion—that is, sitting on the floor—it is often
without table or tray, but dishes are placed on the floor, the em­
ployees crowd about them and eat in much haste. An exceptionally
large factory will be found to have separate dining rooms for men
8Japan. Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Existing Conditions of Dormi­
tories in Textile Factories (in Japanese), 1919. Tokyo, 1924, pp. 60, 61.
6Ishihara, S.: Rodo Yeisei (Industrial Hygiene). Tokyo, 1925, pp. 284, 390.
71 tsubo=3.95369 square yards.
8 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Employment Exchange. Honp6 Seisho-gyo
Rodo JJjd (Conditions of Japanese Silk-Reeling Workers), by T. Katsura. Tokyo, 1927,
pp. 158, 198.



and women, but small factories use one dining room, the hours of
meals differing or separate tables being provided for men and
women. The worst abuse, according to Mr. Kimura, is where u the
dining room is extremely small; therefore in some cases the work­
ers are unable to sit, but must eat all three meals standing, the com­
pany using the dining room several times a day, so that the em­
ployees must eat very hurriedly, because others are waiting to use
the room.9
Again, the statistics from the Nagano Prefecture for the years 1921
to 1 -2 show a reduction in meal facilities requiring standing to a
9 6
negligible extent in 700 factories, a threefold increase in the provision
of chairs, and a 50 per cent increase in sitting space on the floor,
according to Japanese custom.1
Tableware is of two types—for exclusive and for common use. The
prevailing type, however, is exclusive, as is the custom in Japanese
families. After each meal the employee must wash her own dishes
and put them away. In some cases kitchen employees collect and
wash them. In large factories there are up-to-date mechanical dish
washers, which provide for scalding and other sanitary care such as
is found in sanitary kitchens; but often in small factories the dish­
washing facilities are inadequate and tableware is put away unwashed.
In the silk-reeling industry table board is provided by the employer,
but in the spinning industry generally workers pay for it from
15 to 30 sen (7.5 to 15 cents) per day.
The nutrition of workers has a direct bearing on health. Ordi­
narily meals are very poor. Therefore local authorities prescribe
standard menus, which the factories in their districts are obliged to
follow. The standard menus prescribed are based on scientific d ieta ry
principles, to give, at the lowest cost, a variety of cheap food furnish­
ing the necessary number of calories, 2,000 to 2,200 per day, and the
amount of protein, 60 to 70 grams, for the average woman, age 20,
working in the textile industry. Interesting sample diets, utilizing
the soya bean, bean curd, dried fish powder, green vegetables, and
rice, and other food products which are satisfying and agreeable to
the Japanese taste, as well as nutritious and healthful, will be found
in the factory inspection report for 1928 (p. 185). These menus
are not merely academic or theoretical suggestions but are taken
from the actual prescribed and enforced regulations of the various
prefectural authorities.
These model menus are only a minimum in variety if compared
with the average diet of the Japanese people. In some of the larger
factories, like the spinning mills of the Kanegafuchi Spinning Co.,
a great point is made of the proper feeding of employees, from the
standpoint of caloric value, quantity, and variety of the food. Be­
sides the regular menus there is unlimited free service of kidney
beans, cooked as a sweet, and takuwan. For employees who do not
like the regular menus another dining room is provided where a
wider choice of food is offered at higher cost. Also great sanitary
precautions, which the writer has had the opportunity of observing,
are taken to rid the kitchen and dining rooms of house flies. In
addition to screens there is a totally dark passage between kitchen
•Kimura, S.: Rodosba Boshu Torishimari-rei Shakugi (Commentary on Ordinance on
Recruiting of Workers). Tokyo, 1926.
Kyocho-Kai. Recent Social Movements. Tokyo, 1980, p. 921.



and serving pantry, into which flies will not enter. This is an out­
standing example of. the provision of proper food and due sanitary
precautions taken by the more progressive establishments. Most of
the smaller factories, however, follow only the minimum require­
ments of the factory inspectors a*id local authorities, and in such
cases sanitary arrangements both with respect to board and living
quarters leave much to be desired. Cleanliness and health protection
are difficult to enforce and require constant vigilance on the part of
the authorities.
Regulations for Factory Dormitories
The daily life in factories has a great influence upon the young
workers, both physicallj and mentally. The factory dormitories
should be properly equipped, from a sanitary, hygienic, and ulti­
mately, moral standpoint, to exert a proper environmental influence
upon the adolescent and preadolescent factory population. Such
standards, however, are frequently disregarded by employers, for
economic reasons, and the enactment of proper regulations for dor­
mitories becomes a matter of foremost importance for the super­
visory authorities, both local and national.
Article 13 of the factory act of 1911 dealt with, and gave the ad­
ministrative authorities, local and national, ample power to deal with
factories and their entire equipment, so as to remove unsanitary con­
ditions, conditions detrimental to morals, conditions injurious to
health, and other conditions not in the public interest. However,
there was no unified regulation, because control was vested in each
prefectural government for establishments in its area for more than
10 years after the enactment of the act. In 1922 the Department of
Agriculture and Commerce drafted orders to regulate factories in
accordance with article 13, and submitted them to local authorities
and interested parties in different parts of the country. The response
to these efforts was not favorable and they were dropped.1 How­
ever, public opinion demanded the enactment of some kind of stand­
ard regulations for the equipment and facilities of dormitories from
the standpoint of morals and sanitation.1 After the Bureau of
Social Affairs was established in November, 1922, and it had com­
pleted the drafting of what became later the factory amendment act
of 1923, the bureau began its efforts to meet the public demand for
dormitory regulation. In September, 1926, the bureau made public
its proposed regulations for factorv dormitories, which became ordi­
nance No. 26 of the Department of Home Affairs, dated April, 1927,
and went into force July 1,1927.1 This ordinance was later amended
in minor details, chiefly with respect to better fire protection for
dormitory buildings, by ordinance No. 36 of the Department of Home
Affairs, dated August 23, 1929, which went into effect September
1, 1929>
u Kyocho-Kai. Social Reform. Tokyo, May, 1927: “ Kojd Kishikusha Kisoku Oikai ”
(The Regulation of Workers* Dormitories in Japan), by J. Kitaoka, chief of factory
1 Kyocho-Kai: Recent Social Movements (in Japanese). Tokyo, 1930, p. 773.
13International Labor Office. Legislative series, 1927, Jap. 2, Geneva; see Appendix
F (p. 96).
“ Idem, 1929, Jap. 5, Geneva; see Appendix F (p. 96).

74382°— 31------ 5



The original ordinance No. 26 contains 23 articles and 3 supple­
mentary provisions which may be grouped as follows: (1) Scope
and application of the regulations; (2) fire escapes and emergency
measures; (3) sanitation and welfare provisions; (4) freedom and
personal rights of dormitory residents.
A brief summary of the provisions under the four divisions of the
ordinance follows.
Scope and Application of Regulations
Limitation of Application of Law

This ordinance is pursuant to and supplementary to the factory
acts, so that its application for the most part is limited to dormitories
which are part of the regulated factories, and therefore, the factory
which usually employs fewer than 10 people is not within the scope
of this regulation. The definition of a dormitory and of the term
“ attached to a factory5 covers any building constructed or used as
a residence for the workers of the factory, or any part of the factory
building itself or part of other residential buildings being used
for a certain period of time as a residence for workers or for ap­
prentices. A part of the workshop, for example, if used as a resi­
dence for the workers is defined as a dormitory in article 2. The use
of a part of the residence of the employer to provide shelter for the
worker is common in small factories in Japan and therefore very
properly comes under these regulations. Usually only single persons
are accommodated in dormitories, but in Nagano Prefecture there
are silk-reeling factories where double rooms or so-called “ couple
rooms 5 are provided for married persons; these are also included in
this legislation as dormitories. However, independent residences are
not dormitories. The dormitories attached to factories are under the
administration of their separate factory owners and accommodate the
employees of their respective factories.
Girls5dormitories in the spinning industry are the most typical.
A lodging house may be autonomous and board be furnished by con­
tract, but if the building and its equipment belongs to the factory
owner and if its administration is in his hands, then the lodging
house is regarded as a factory dormitory.
Approved boarding and lodging houses run for the economic bene­
fit of the boarding-house proprietors, but also supported by factory
occupiers, and sheltering employees of their factories exclusively,
are regarded as dormitories.
This ordinance does not apply generally to dormitories attached
to unregulated factories. The law is designed mainly for dormi­
tories accommodating great numbers of people.1
Fire Escapes and Emergency Measures

Fire escapes and emergency exits and fire and emergency safety
measures are of vital importance in any building which accommo­
dates such a large number of people as does a dormitory. However,
15 K yocho-Kai.

Social Reform.

Tokyo, May, 1927.

(A rticle by J. Kitaoka.)



important as this phase of regulation is, it is dealt with only in a
supplementary way in the ordinance governing dormitories, as it is
covered quite fully by municipal or local building ordinances. Also
the prevention of fire is one of the most important duties of the local
police and quite adequate legislation is provided on this point. This
dormitory legislation likewise contains little or no regulation con­
cerning fire escapes, fire-prevention walls, etc., such as is usually
found in the housing legislation of occidental countries. A recent
amendment to this ordinance has made a beginning in dealing with
fire escapes as part of the factory inspection duties. Newly erected
dormitories must conform to the requirements of municipal building
ordinances, but old dormitories are built in the Japanese style and
it is impossible to equip them with modern safety facilities. Japan
being a country liable to earthquakes, fire-prevention walls, them­
selves, involve a considerable amount of danger.
Regulations concerning the prevention of dangerous conditions
cover three points:
(а) In workshops where conditions injurious to health exist, such
as those that expose the worker to gases, dust, or the possibility of
explosion, sleeping quarters must be provided in other buildings for
the safety and hygienic protection of the workers.
(б) The use of 3-story buildings which are not fireproof as sleep­
ing quarters for workers is prohibited. An exception is made to
this regulation in urban locations where land is dear, which permits
the use of buildings of more than two stories, provided they are of
steel and concrete framework construction. However, if the build­
ing is constructed in conformity with the municipal building ordi­
nances with regard to outside walls, floors, roofs, staircases, and
supporting columns, it is fireproof, and in such cases the law permits
the use of the third floor as sleeping quarters.
The law prescribes that outside doors must open out rather
than in and must always be unlocked and easily opened in case of
emergency. This is especially necessary, as in Japanese factory dor­
mitories there is always fear on the part of the occupier that girl
employees will escape, and for this reason doors are frequently
locked from the outside. It is this circumstance that often explains
the violation of this provision. The enforcement of this provision
was deferred for one year from the date of its enactment. Also the
provisions under (a) do not apply to unregulated factories, but
those under (6) and (<?) apply to all factories.
Sanitation and Welfare Provisions

Regulation concerning sanitation and welfare work: Regula­
tions concerning sanitation are the most numerous in this ordinance.
Beginning with matters of physical hygiene, and extending to
problems of general welfare, they include:
(a) Regulations of the minimum height of the ceilings in bed­
rooms, dining rooms, and infirmaries. Seven feet, the minimum
specified, is comparatively low, even in Japanese houses. In reality,
however, many dormitories have ceilings lower than 7 feet. The law
requires that ceilings and outside doors be provided for Japanese
types of dormitory buildings.



(&) Earth floors for the dining room and kitchen are forbidden on
account of sanitary conditions and necessity for cleanliness. This
regulation, however, does not apply in unregulated factories.
(< There are regulations as to the minimum area per person in
bedrooms. This is the most important point in this whole body of
legislation. The minimum space stipulated is V/2 mats.1 Several
prefectures prescribe this minimum by local legislation, but in 1927
in 26 per cent or more than 1,500 of the dormitories in Japan, 37
per cent of the workers housed in dormitories were not afforded this
minimum space.
In Japanese houses the habit prevails of making beds whenever
they are needed by taking bedding from a closet and spreading it on
the floor. Therefore this minimum space is calculated from the space
for one mat for a bed and half a mat for aisle space between beds.
The ideal space for one person should be three mats and 3 square
feet for closet space. There are 2,462 dormitories containing sleep­
ing accommodations for 12,462 persons which have no provision for
closet space. The space for clogs (footwear), which the Japanese
remove upon entering the house, is not counted in these estimates of
floor space. These provisions did not take effect until three years
after the ordinance came into force, or until after July 1, 1930, but
they applied to both regulated and unregulated factories.
(d) Restrictions of the number of persons per bedroom: Formerly
Japanese factory dormitories in the silk-reeling industry often were
rooms of enormous size, as large as 405 tsubo, which accommodated
several hundred people. One case has been cited where 708 people
were accommodated in one room. Such conditions are relics of the
time when employees worked from 16 to 17 hours a day and when the
worker was looked upon as a machine. At the present time the
working-day is restricted to 12 hours or less. Therefore, workers
have spare time besides that devoted to work and to sleep and live as
well as sleep in the dormitories. For this reason some regulation of
space per person is more essential than it was formerly. It is in­
jurious to health to have so many people sleeping and living in one
room. Article 10 of the ordinance limits the number of persons per
room to 16. When the construction of the house makes the division
into small rooms impossible, the occupier of the factory, by permis­
sion of the local authorities, is permitted to use a larger room for a
larger number of persons. The names and number of persons in each
bedroom must be posted in appropriate places.
(e) Prohibition of use of one room for groups in relays arising
and going to bed at different hours: In the spinning industry the
shift system of labor prevailed, different shifts generally using the
same sleeping room. This system obviously prevented anyone’s sleep­
ing well, and also prevented cleanliness of the dormitories. It was
inevitable that this system should produce so-called century beds—
i. e., beds never properly made in a hundred years. Article 11 pro­
hibited the same bedroom being used to accommodate two or more
sets of workers, but made an exception of dormitories which did not
house women or persons under 16 years of age, provided the permis­
sion of the prefectural governor was obtained.
The area of one mat is 3 by 6 feet.



(/) Exclusive use of bedding and cleanliness of the same: Article
12 prescribes that it is the duty of the occupier of the factory to pro­
vide exclusive use of bedding for employees, as shortage of bedding
or common use of the bed is unsanitary and extremely injurious to
health. I f the occupier provides only one upper and one lower cover
and the girls are obliged to sleep together on account of cold, the
occupier is held to have violated the law. The worker may, however,
bring her own bedding from home.
Cleanliness of the bedding is absolutely necessary, but formerly
many dormitories did not provide white sheets for their beds, and
very few provided the small white pieces over the top of the quilt
that are sometimes substituted for sheets. Therefore this legislation
made compulsory the provision of sheets and the exposure of beds in
the sun and as frequent laundering as possible. The law does not
specify the frequency of laundering of sheets, but does designate a
minimum of one laundering a month and one each time that another
person occupies a bed.
(g) Prohibition of standing at meals and stipulations as to cleanli­
ness of tableware: Articles 13 and 14 prohibit the serving of meals
without seats being provided in the dining room, and stipulate the
provision of seats, chairs, benches, and other facilities for comfort­
able position while eating. These articles did not come into force for
two years from their enactment—that is, until July 1,1929—but then
applied to all factories.
(A) Articles 15 to 17, inclusive, require all workers accommodated
in dormitories and persons employed therein to be given a health
examination twice a year. They prohibit persons suffering from
diseases specified in article 8 of the regulations for the administration
of the factory acts (Legislative Series, 1926, Jap. 1, C; see Appendix
B, p. 76), which would exclude them from factory employment, from
being employed in or about a dormitory. Antispitting regulations
and the requirement to provide spittoons and to provide for their
proper disinfection are included in these articles.
Tne compulsory physical examinations are intended to disclose the
existence of dangerous and prohibited maladies. The employees are
quite ignorant in matters concerning their own health, and often a
woman employee continues to work without noticing that she is seri­
ously ill, or, knowing that she is, continues in spite of that fact.
Such cases are particularly frequent in tubercular or pretubercular
subjects. The factories which are particularly concerned with the
health of their workers see that the temperatures of workers are taken
each week. Most workers, however, are not greatly concerned as to
their own health, and occupiers may take advantage of this fact.
For this reason the law prescribes a physical examination twice a
year, which gives the occupier (as well as the worker) an opportunity
to know the facts, and if considerable sickness is revealed in one
dormitory, the occupier may voluntarily improve conditions. This
provision is enforced for both regulated and unregulated factories.
Compulsory provision of cuspidors for dormitories is stipulated
and expectoration prohibited elsewhere. These regulations were pri­
marily enforced by the police in all factories by article 2 of the
regulations under previous legislation for the prevention of tuber­
culosis, but since dormitory legislation has been enacted their en­
forcement has been transferred to the factory inspector.



( i ) Prevention of trachoma and disinfection of objects used by
patients suffering from contagious diseases: In dormitories the use
of common towels is prohibited; also the use of separate washbasins
by trachoma patients is required. Water used for the washing of
hands must be running water, in order to prevent the spread of
trachoma. The objects used by patients who have contagious diseases
must be disinfected, and the proper method of disinfection is pre­
scribed. Article 20 orders the provision of the number of toilets and
lavatories, according to the number of employees accommodated.
The number of toilets shall be equivalent to one for each 20 workers
arid if the local authorities do not find these facilities suitable, they
may require that they be changed. Failure on the part of the occu­
pier of the factory to comply with any requirement makes him liable
to punishment under article 20 of the factory act.
Freedom and Personal Rights of Residents

Regulations concerning the management of dormitories: It is
of vital importance that the liberties of workers who are living in
dormitories should be protected. There is hardly any place in the
world where such restrictions are placed upon the freedom of work­
ers as in Japanese factory dormitories. This limitation of freedom
is the greatest abuse of the dormitory system. As has been men­
tioned, the greater part of the woman workers are unmarried, and
most of them enter industry through the persuasion of agents or
are lured by other considerations, but after they have gone into
employment the hardships and monotony of the work result in dis­
satisfaction and a desire to return home.

On the other hand, the

employer, who has already spent a considerable amount of money for
outfitting and the advance payment of wages, etc., may resort to
various means to keep his employees at work, such as retaining their
luggage, and so on. The workers often, on their side, contrive to
have fake telegrams sent from home, telling of emergencies that
demand their presence there, or they simply run away. The employ­
ers, having grown wary of such deceptions, open the personal mail
of employees, do not allow visitors to see them without a third per­
son, representing the employer, being present, and forbid workers to
go outside the factory grounds. Recruiting agents of undesirable
character are ever ready to instigate and abet families of workers
to get them away from present employment in order that they may
obtain them for their factories. This situation tends to produce
many disciplinary measures which may violate the actual constitu­
tional rights of the employees which are secured to all Japanese by
the organic law of the land. Among these are inviolability of letters
and freedom of person.
Article 21 of the dormitory ordinance requires that notice of all
these regulations be transmitted to the local authorities of the dis­
tricts where factories are operated. The factory inspectors have the
direct responsibility of supervising the enforcement of these regula­
tions, and the law requires them to be posted in conspicuous places
in the factories.

C h apter 4.— d o rm ito ry system m Ja p a n e s e

f a c t o r ie s


Further Regulation Needed
This very brief resume of the dormitory ordinance shows that it
is only ameliorative in character and deals only with the greatest
abuses; there are many important elements in the situation which
are still untouched. Such matters include ventilation, sunlight oi*
artificial light in the dormitories, adequate bathing facilities, includ­
ing dressing rooms, and room for combing of hair and general mak­
ing of toilet. These and many other things are of practical import
and should be matters of compulsory requirement. Provision should
be made for proper, adequate, varied, and nutritious food, cleanli­
ness of dining room, and exclusion or extermination of house flies,
rats, cockroaches, etc., a matter of the utmost importance, as they
are spreaders of disease. It is desirable that sanitary water-closets
be provided, together with good drinking water and good sewerage
systems, matters which are covered by housing ordinances, under
the supervision of local authorities and local police. Another im­
portant matter is the provision of infirmaries in dormitories, which
should be required but are not included in this dormitory ordinance.
Larger concerns such as some of the spinning companies have pro­
vided excellent and well-equipped hospitals, which are indeed becom­
ing something of a vogue among manufacturers able to afford them.
These hospitals are one of the first points of interest about the fac­
tories shown to parents of the workers when they come from the
. country to visit their children. As has been said, the Kanegafuchi
Spinning Co., in a suburb of Tokyo, has a wonderfully up-to-date
hospital. When the writer visited it in 1929 there were three clinics,
one general, one surgical, and one maternity, and eight physicians on
the regular staff.
A final matter of importance which should be looked after
is the question of the moral influence of dormitory environment.
Matrons should have charge of the dormitories and of the
girl workers instead of men. Men should be excluded from the sole
management of the dormitories, as is so often the case at present.
For example, a foreman of a raw-silk reeling factory in Nagano
Prefecture has complete charge of the dormitory life of the girls,
as well as absolute control of their work in the f actories. It is quite
obvious that this situation would have dangerous potentialities from
the standpoint of morals. A custom of such long standing is not
to be changed in a day, but a gradual reform should without doubt
be introduced. Japanese factory dormitory legislation is only a
milestone on the road to real protection of the weaker party. There
should be real harmony between labor and capital, with a true reali­
zation of some equality of human rights based on social justice, and
not in any sense on charity or gratuitous giving, which would, as a
matter of course, supply the workers with the facilities for a health­
ful, a free, and a moral existence.1
7 The Bureau of Social Affairs (Factory Inspection Report, 1928, p. 102), says that de­
flailed specifications for the enforcement of the dormitory regulations require that dormi­
tories accommodating more than 100 girl workers must provide a system of supervision by
'matrons by July 14, 1929, and prefectural governments and local authorities are cooperat­
ing by helping in the selection of matrons. This report also states that Nagano Prefecture,
’for example, had appointed 213 matrons for 197 factories. The educational records of
these matrons indicate that more than half of them have had the equivalent of an Ameri<can high-school education; some are certified sewing teachers.

Chapter 5.—Maternity Protection and Welfare Work
Relation to International Standards of Maternity Protection
The protection of woman workers necessarily means the protection
of potential mothers, particularly protection before and after child­
birth, which thus becomes an important phase of protective labor
legislation. The factory legislation of 1911 provided for five weeks’
rest after childbirth and prohibited employment before the expira­
tion of that time, unless there was medical authority for allowing the
mother to go to work at the end of three weeks. The revised factory
act of 1923 extended this period of protection to include a period
before childbirth in order to conform to the international conven­
tion of the Washington conference of 1919, which provided that a
woman worker had the right to leave her work if she furnished a
statement from a physician that her confinement was expected within
six weeks. However, the Japanese factory legislation failed fully to
meet the standards of the convention by limiting the period to four
weeks instead of six. Another change is made by the provision that
the woman worker be given leave of absence upon her own state­
ment that she will be confined within four weeks, no medical cer­
tificate to that effect being required, the latter being practically im­
possible to obtain under conditions prevailing in Japan. After child­
birth she may not be employed for six weeks unless she has a medical
certificate permitting her to go to work at the end of four weeks. This
is in conformity with the convention of the Washington conference
of 1919. The 1919 convention provides that during the rest period
the employer should provide a sufficient sum of money for the wel­
fare of mother and child and that the amount of this sum is to be
determined by the various governments in accordance with the cost
of living. In Japan the expectant mother receives 20 yen (by later
amendment raised to 30 yen) at the time of her confinement from the
national health insurance funds, and also 4 weeks before the birth
of the child and 6 weeks afterwards (10 weeks in all) she is pro­
vided with an amount equivalent to 60 per cent of her regular wages.
The factory legislation provides that an expectant mother shall be
accommodated in a maternity hospital at the expense of her em­
ployers and shall receive 10 yen from them instead of the allow­
ance from the national health insurance. In addition to this she
is paid a wage, which varies according to the number of the
mother’s dependents. I f she has more than three, her allowance is
60 per cent of her daily wages, but if she has two or fewer dependents
it is only 40 per cent, and if she has no dependents she receives only
20 per cent. These provisions for childbirth protection are regard­
less of the marital status of the mother or the outcome of the con­
finement. Similar provision as for factories is made for maternity
protection for woman workers in mines under the mining acts.



The chief motive underlying this protection is the protection of
the child. Hence the factory legislation stipulates that until one
year after the birth, i. e., during the nursing period of the baby, the
mother, if she requests it, shall be allowed two half-hour periods a
day for nursing besides her regular rest periods. Large factories
have day nurseries where nurses take care of the children of the
employees, and some factories have quarters near the house of the
gate watchman where the mothers may nurse the children.1
Welfare Work in Textile Industry
The rapid development of social ideals in recent years has em­
phasized the recognition of social justice, and the feeling as to pro­
vision for social welfare of the workers by employers has changed, it
being regarded now not as charity but as a matter of social duty
and of right. Therefore, such provision does not depend so much on
legislation as on voluntary efforts of employers to improve labor
conditions. This attitude has been strongly supported internation­
ally, and factory inspectors in Japan also encourage it among em­
ployers. This tendency has been viewed with satisfaction by those
who are interested in effecting industrial efficiency; harmony between
capital and labor, and improvement of the spiritual and physical
condition of the workers, and increasing the general welfare of the
workers and the public.
Facilities for Entertainment and Culture
The large and well-equipped factories have buildings with ade­
quate facilities for amusement, assembly, and similar purposes de­
voted to the benefit of. workers and their families. In the Shizuoka
Prefecture, for example, factory welfare work is divided into two
parts, entertainment and culture.2
The provisions for entertainment include various annual celebra­
tions of special occasions, amateur performances of dramas and
dances by workers with Japanese music, and monologues, moving
pictures, athletics, and social gatherings. Facilities are also provided
for a great variety of indoor and outdoor sports, such as billards,
pool, ping-pong, gramophones, radio, fencing, jujitsu, chess, and
baseball, football, tennis, archery, etc. The cultural activities include
books and periodicals, libraries and reading rooms, lectures, and
courses in art, domestic science, etc.
Most textile factories employ many young workers who have not
yet completed the elementary-school course. One of the cultural
provisions of welfare work is that the company send these young
people to local elementary schools or employ special teachers for
them so that they will have lessons equivalent to those given in
elementary schools, utilizing the leisure hours before and after work
in the factory. Sometimes companies establish girls’ schools of
secondary grade to give, in addition to certain cultural education,
practical courses designed for prospective brides, including such
1 International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1926, Jap. 1. See Factory act (amend­
ment), 1923, sec. 12, and Regulations for the administration of the factory act, arts. 9
and 9(1) ; Appendix A (p. 73) ; and Appendix B (p. 76).
aJapan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Factory Inspection Report, 1928, p. 94.



subjects as domestic science^ flower arrangement, sewing, etc. Be­
sides such training, companies arrange periodic lectures by special­
ists, for purposes of character cultivation. Some interesting sched­
ules of practical and cultural educational work in various factories
in Shizuoka Prefecture are given in the factory inspectors5reports.3
They show a wide range of subjects, with prizes and certificates
awarded for achievement in self-improvement.
Report on Welfare Work in Japanese Industries
The following extracts, translated but not published by the Inter­
national Labor Office in Geneva from section 18 of the Kyocho-Kai’s
tenth anniversary volume, Recent Social Movements (Tokyo, 1930),
will serve to conclude this brief reference to social-welfare work and
its present significance particularly in relation to legislative
wDuring the World War the industries in Japan experienced an
unprecedented boom and began to absorb suddenly a large number
of workers. It was at this juncture that the factory act and the
regulations concerning the employment and compensation of miners
were brought into force. This was in the year 1916. These laws
laid down the standard rules for regulating the employment and
labor conditions of workers. Employers began then to pay atten­
tion chiefly to the drawing together and keeping of workers required
in consequence of the expansion of industry. Humanitarian signifi­
cance was attached to these efforts, and thereafter welfare work of
various kinds began to be performed widely.
“ In the sphere of ‘ economic’ welfare it was the grant of the
6bonuses 5and 6allowances5of all kinds that began to be the feature
in this period. As it was feared that any increase of wages, bonuses,
or allowances would tend to provoke waste or dissipation among the
workers, some employers preferred to make the workers save up for
future purposes. In order, on the one hand, to bring about some
stability of livelihood and on the other to encourage a steady and
long service, those employers began to impose an obligatory saving
of certain fixed sums under such titles as ‘ security money,54money in
reserve fund,5etc.
“ In the sphere of 4intellectual5provisions serious endeavors were
made to train skilled workers in order to increase their productivity.
Industrial, mining, or engineering schools were set up. Now systems
of apprenticeship have been tried, and efforts made to promote tech­
nical training. Education of this sort was aimed principally to train
the young male workers. However, at the time the factory act was
put into force a fresh impetus was supplied by its enforcement to
the workers5education. The law required that in case a worker had
not completed an elementary-school education, being still of school
age, the employer should either send him to a public school till he
completed the course of an elementary school or else make other
provisions so that the worker shall receive at least an education
equivalent to what is given at the elementary school. Consequently,
in silk-reeling and cotton-spinning mills and in mechanical or tool*JpDan.

Bureau of Social Affairs.

Factory Inspection Report, 1928, p. 92.



making* factories where large numbers of young workers used to be
employed, though a certain proportion of the young workers was
sent to the public school, there were also many cases of employers
who made special provisions in their own factories for giving the
elementary-school education without sending the young workers off
to the public schools. The courses were given in the spare time
either before or after the regular working hours, and this enabled
other workers who had n ?t received much or adequate school educa­
tion to attend the courses if they desired it. Incidentally, this gave
rise to the 4
factory girl schools5and other continuation schools for
the purpose of supplementing education.
“As this was a period of unprecedented prosperity, the employers
eagerly strove with one another to set up spacious dining halls,
theaters, company dwelling houses for the employees, and to provide
other such measures as would at once arouse public attention easily
for publicity’s sake and give pleasure or contentment to the workers.
Factory orchestras, factory. dancing, cinema, and the like spread
enormously. In a number of factories and mines day nurseries were
started, with the service of trained nurses or caretakers to look after,
the children of the woman workers.
“ The World War precipitated the awakening of the workers and
the labor movement grew rapidly as a result. Moreover, owing to
the industrial depression after 1920, many factories and mills were
closed down and there was a general retrenchment of industries.
Labor disputes were an inevitable outcome of this situation, which
had driven the workers to take up a stand of self-defense. The wel­
fare work in this period, therefore, had to change its character.
Instead of a welfare for the sake of business or for merely drawing
together and keeping the workers, it began to lay more stress on
the personality of the worker.
“ This new trend could be witnessed in the wide diffusion in this
period of the systems of works committees, serving as organs for
the exchange of views between the employer and the workers in
factories and mines. It is needless to state that these systems
aroused the spirit of cooperation in the management of the work­
shops concerned and facilitated the carrying out of many an
important welfare plan. There were, at the same time, advanced
factories and mines where a portion of the profit would be laid apart
at each term of settlement under such names as 4Employees’ welfare
fund,’ 6Workers’ retirement relief and education fund,’ etc. By the
creation of such funds, permanent basis was laid for carrying out
the welfare work unaffected by the fluctuating business conditions.
“ The improvement of the factory installation and equipments has
been pushed ahead greatly anfter the war by the revision of the fac­
tory laws and regulations. On the side of the entrepreneurs, their
efforts have been directed more and more toward the heightening of
the workers’ efficiency and the improvement of the management
methods. Of late, they have begun further to lay out the plans for
the rationalization of industry.
“ The so-called safety-first movement, which was no other than a
movement for the prevention of accidents, was started toward
1916-17. The movement underwent many fluctuations, but it finally
has succeeded in eliciting the interest of all circles, especially after



the war. After the founding of the Industrial Welfare Association
and of the Japan Mine Owners’ Association in 1925 the two associa­
tions sponsored the spread of the safety movement. The so-called
safety week began to be observed as a result in factories and mines
widely all over the country since 1927, and thus the prevention of
industrial accidents Las at last become a popular movement in Japan.
“As a general tendency the welfare provisions in the past used to
aim at the person of the worker, no matter whether the motive of the
welfare work was to promote the interest of the business merely or to
give true benefit to the worker. The past provisions were to secure
the health, culture, or livelihood of the worker. This tendency, how­
ever, has changed more recently. It has come to be realized that in
order to attain the object of the former provisions and to secure the
welfare of the worker, it is necessary to change the environment and
more particularly to purify the home life of the worker in the first
instance. Consequently they have begun to teach the essence of home
life by organizing meetings or clubs of housewives or of families; they
are encouraging the spread of the knowledge and of the practice of
social and domestic hygiene through hospitals, clinics, health com­
mittees, meetings of the tenants of the company houses, etc.; they are
endeavoring to raise the standard of life of the workers by the organi­
zation of consumers’ cooperative societies, by the encouragement of
increasing by-products or by teaching or providing new kinds of
productive labor. All these are done taking into consideration the
actual conditions of the localities or of the trades of the workers con­
cerned, and more and more they organized so as to achieve the best
results through the two channels of the trades and the home life.
“ Workers’ education has spread enormously in every line. Sports
and athletic activities are being encouraged in factories and mines in
accordance with the general trend of popular interest, and necessary
provisions for them are being made.
“ Thus, in a word, the welfare provisions in Japanese factories or
mines, which used to be charitable acts or acts imposed upon the
workers or performed as a profitable investment by the employer in
the past, are rapidly becoming cooperative enterprises between the
employer and. worker, or even enterprises at the initiative of the
workers, stressing the importance of the workers’ personality. Once
they were sporadic, fragmentary, and only temporary. They are now
becoming more systematic and permanent.”
Workers’ Education Movement
The Oyama Mill of the Fuji Cotton Spinning Co. furnishes a good
illustration of model educational facilities for woman factory opera­
tives. The company has founded a girls’ school for workers who have
finished their elementary-school education and also gives continuation
school opportunities to male workers. For the cultivation of artistic
and aesthetic accomplishments, sewing and flower arrangement are
taught for two hours in the girls’ dormitory for those who wish to
learn. For the purpose of character and cultural training, the com­
pany sponsors meetings to which speakers are invited to address the
workers. The workers themselves also give educational programs,
or exercises similar to those presented by students in American public
schools. The company also sponsors a magazine, known as “ Fuji N q



Homare” (The Pride of Mount Fuji), which is distributed free
among the workers, and provides several other magazines for the use
of the factory force.
For entertainment, the company provides a large assembly room
and utilizes public holidays or occasions such as the company’s found­
ing days, or national ceremonial days, for festivities in the form of
plays, concerts, vaudeville shows, moving pictures^ etc., for the enter­
tainment of the workers. For the workers’ physical well-being, the
company encourages athletics and sports, such as hiking parties, out­
door field meets, and tennis tournaments. The company provides
very good tennis courts and little gardens and orchards, so that
flowers in all four seasons add to the beauty, comfort, and pleasure
of the environment. This mill is one of the best examples of care
for the workers’ welfare, but there are many small factories in the
same industry, employing fewer workers, which do very little in this
line. What they do falls largely in the field of entertainment and
recreation, rather than education or culture.
Generally speaking, the welfare work of the textile industries fol­
lows the lines just enumerated. Recently sports and various types of
athletics and physical training have attained a considerable vogue,
and play has become an important part in welfare work in the fac­
tories. For example, in Shizuoka Prefecture in the autumn of 1929,
at the fourteenth annual industrial conference, it was decided that
workers’ field meets should be held to determine championships in five
different athletic activities—baseball, tennis, basket ball, ping-pong,
and field sports. The prefecture was divided into three parts (west­
ern, eastern, and central divisions) for preliminary contests, and the
final contest for the prefecture banner was held in the central di­
vision. Participation therein on the part of the workers increases
harmony between them and their employers and is regarded as very
important in the cultivation of good will and efficiency.
The progressive factories have gradually established capital sum
for welfare work, educational funds, workers’ retirement funds, work­
men’s compensation funds, scholarship funds, social-welfare funds,
amounts being put aside each year from profits for such purposes, in
order that provision may be made in prosperous times to take care of
times of business depression. In some cases such funds have been
donated by presidents or trustees of the companies for memorial or
similar reasons.
Workers’ Welfare Societies
More potent than the democratic idea in industry has been the
tendency to establish means by which harmony between capital and
labor and the participation of labor in welfare work might be se­
cured. This tendency has been particularly strong and beneficial in
the establishment of welfare work among factory employees, their
participation being crystallized in workers’ welfare societies. Such
organizations originated in the Sumitomo Copper Works in Osaka in
1918 and 1919, when industry was greatly expanded by the World
War and many labor difficulties arose. The need was keenly felt for
autonomous welfare work to secure cooperation between workers and
employers and harmony between labor and capital. Following this
example, up to 1923 one such association after another was estab­



lished, some being organized exclusively among workers and some
including the company staffs. The national health insurance law,
enacted in 1927, put to new uses the workers’ mutual aid societies
where they existed, and new welfare societies were established for
that purpose.
Such organizations are found in relatively large numbers in the
textile industry in factories where the enterprises are conducted on
a large scale. The names of such associations vary, but nevertheless
tend to emphasize warm friendship, mutual love, true unity, and
similar phrases denoting mutual help and cooperation. The sources
from which funds are derived for their support are donations by
the presidents of the companies or the converted funds of old asso­
ciations like those just mentioned. The capital funds of such socie­
ties vary greatly in amount; the larger societies may have anywhere
from 150,000 to 300,000 yen in interest-bearing funds as endowment,
the income only being used for running expenses. Other associa­
tions are entirely supported by membership fees of from 5 to 20 sen
per member per month, together with company contributions, which
often equal the total contributions of the members.
While various types of administration are found, the officers of
these associations are usually the presidents or general managers of
the employing companies or managing directors of the mills, and the
vice presidents are either appointed by the presidents or elected by
an executive committee, which is the governing body. Usually half
of the members of this committee are appointed by the factory man­
agement and the other half elected by the members. In some cases
all of the officers are elected by popular vote.4 The work of such
organizations is usually divided into mutual aid, education, athletics,
health, hygiene, recreation, and purchasing or consumers’ sections.
Special sections are charged with duties pertaining to children of
school age, scholarships, visiting of homes, loans of money, personal
advice, and legal, medical, and technical counsel. I f the company has
a club house or assembly hall or a gymnasium, its management is
usually in the hands of such a society, so that the arrangements for
cultural improvement, recreation, and other activities may be facili­
tated. From this it may be seen that the workers are an active
factor in efforts that are made for their own welfare and well-being.
1930, sec. 18.

Recent Social Movements: Welfare Work in Japanese Industries.


Chapter 6.—Summary and Conclusions
Beginnings and Paternalistic Character of Factory Legislation
Modern factory industry in Japan,is less than 50 years old, and
its growth has been so rapid that the present Japanese labor legisla­
tion only partially and imperfectly meets the accepted standards of
factory legislation and of social justice as expressed in international
labor treaties or otherwise in force in the leading industrial nations
of the world. Japanese factory legislation has developed from dif­
ferent motives and with somewhat different results from that in
other countries. In the first place, it was drafted upon the initiative
of the Government and the general public was indifferent to the
questions involved. In the second place, it was conceived as neces­
sary more for the protection of the interests of the State than those
of the individual worker. There was no driving force, sentiment,
or motive, religious or humanitarian, which played a chief role in
its construction, as was the case in the early English factory legis­
lation under the leadership of the Earl of Shaftesbury and of the
Chartists. In the third place, Japanese factory legislation, prior
to its necessary adaptation to the requirements of the international
labor conventions, was strictly confined to protection for women
and children in industry.
When the early Meiji Government first decided as a matter of
national policy upon the industrialization of the country it made
great efforts toward the accomplishment of its program, even to the
extent of opening and operating factories on its own account and
engaging foreign experts in order to afford the best possible examples
to the nation at large. Thus the factory system of the Occident
was introduced and developed largely through the paternalistic
efforts of the Government. Particular effort was made to introduce
foreign industries, such as the manufacture of cotton textiles, cotton
spinning, weaving, etc. The textile industry has obviously played
a dominant role in the economic life of the nation, and the Japanese
production of silk has always been of great importance and con­
stitutes to-day 60 per cent of the world’s supply.
National Importance of Textile Industry
The national importance of this industry has always had a great
significance for Japanese woman and child workers because, as
has already been pointed out?more than half of the factory popula­
tion and 88 per cent of all industrial woman workers are engaged
in textile manufacture. Young women, mostly unmarried, and chil­
dren engaged in textile manufacture present an obvious problem.
Traditionally, Japanese women are strictly bound by the so-called
“ womanly virtues,” reverence and obedience to elders, and when



poor and ignorant parents are driven by necessity to place their
children in factories where their own authority passes intact to the
employer, the young workers make no complaint. This is especially
true where the system of contract labor prevails, and this tradition of
“ the womanly virtues ” is an additional means of keeping girls from
rebelling against any form of exploitation to which they may be
subjected. The lack of interest in the reform of prevailing condi­
tions was not due to ignorance on the part of the community. The
fact is, that such exploitation was well known, as girls often came
back from their terms of factory service wrecked in health and dying
of tuberculosis, but public opinion on the part of the country at large
was both unformulated and apathetic.
The deplorable conditions which existed in the textile factories
were fully revealed and formulated in 1901, when the Government
appointed a special commission of experts to investigate working
conditions in order to accumulate data for proposed factory legis­
lation. This commission prepared the monumental Report on Work­
ers’ Conditions, which was published by the Department of Agri­
culture and Commerce. The Government was now aware of the
actual situation and knew the necessity for enacting proper legisla­
tion, such as the abolition of night work and the shortening of work­
ing hours for both women and children. But when legislation
including these provisions was introduced in the Imperial Diet, it
immediately met with strong opposition from employers on account
of the proposal for the abolition of night work. The final result
of the contest was a compromise measure in which the real abolition
of night work would not take place until 15 years after the enforce­
ment of the act. This concession was demanded on the ground that
immediate enforcement of such a provision would cause a great
disturbance in national economy. The question which at once arises
is: Why, if night work was harmful enough to be abolished at the
end of 15 years, was it not harmful enough to be abolished at once ?
The real answer is that national economy, and not individual health,
was the principal point of consideration which defeated the Govern­
ment proposal, and the consequence was that the health and welfare
of women and children were sacrificed to economic demands.
Nevertheless, factory legislation was pushed forward by the Gov­
ernment, because it was clearly seen that State intervention was
necessary to remedy conditions which placed workers completely
under the domination of employers, and devoid of protective organ­
izations of their own. It was evidently hopeless to rely on indi­
vidual or spontaneous social initiative in such a case. Especially
in the case of girl workers, whose employment was temporary in
nature—for two or three years at the most—there was practically
little chance of any organized or united efforts among them, or any
consciousness of a common cause that would enable them to help
In such circumstances as these the Japanese Government showed
an intelligence and a discernment for which few, if any, parallels
may be found, in championing the cause of an oppressed class which
was quite unable to help itself and on behalf of which public opinion



was quite unstirred. The Japanese Government acted upon its own
initiative long before its policies could possibly have been forced by
an intelligent public opinion outside o f the Government.
Influence of the International Labor Organization
Japan has participated eagerly in the progress of modern times
and when the treaty of Versailles established the International Labor
Organization, the Japanese Government entered into its activities
in every possible way. Since the first International Labor Con­
ference in Washington in 1919, Japan has up to June, 1931, ratified
11 conventions, and has adhered to the Bern (1906) white phos­
phorous convention, as recommended by the Washington conference.
These relate to the following topics: Unemployment; minimum age
for industrial workers; minimum age for seamen; employment for
seamen; minimum age for agricultural workers; minimum age
for trimmers and stokers; medical examination of young persons at
sea; workmen’s compensation for occupational diseases; inspection
of emigrants on board ship; equality of treatment of national and
foreign workers: weight of packages transported by vessels: and
white phosphorus.
With the inauguration of the International Labor Office the need
was keenly felt in Japan for an office to take charge of labor admin­
istration, and resulted in the establishment of the Bureau of Social
Affairs, which furnishes the chief motive power for the better­
ment of conditions and which serves as a sort of clearing house
on all labor questions. The Bureau of Social Affairs, under the
Minister of Home Affairs, first undertook to prepare drafts for the
revision of existing factory legislation and to assist the Government
as a central organ or labor authority for its administration. It has
served as a leader in many reforms necessary to bring Japanese
legislation into harmony with international labor standards. It has
played an important part in support of legislation providing for the
abolition of night work, the shortening of working hours, maternity
protection, and compensation for accidents and other measures which
are mentioned in chapter 1. Thus much of the protective legislation
has been stimulated by the Government through special agencies like
the Bureau of Social Affairs in order to follow world public opinion,
to conform to the standards of the international labor conventions,
to improve industrial conditions, and to increase the welfare of the
working classes.
There is a very real traditional feeling on the part of the whole
people, who regard the Emperor with great reverence and respect
as the “ National Father.” This sentiment still plays an important
role in dealing with modern social problems in Japan, and the pater­
nalism of the Government, particularly in social and welfare projects,
is the best illustration. Many modern social service institutions are
foreshadowed in acts of the Emperors of Japan as ancient as those
of Empress Komyo in the eighth century. A document entitled “ The
request of one hundred pounds of cinnamon for the dispensary,”
from the Imperial Repository, dated 751 A. D., is still kept intact.
The fact that reform has been undertaken along governmental lines



rather than along those of individual or class initiative only shows
that Japan is effecting social reform in a way that is consistent with
her historical methods of procedure and which she has maintained
unbroken in the 2,500 years of her history and civilization.
Future of Protective Labor Legislation in Japan
With regard to the future of Japanese protective labor legislation,
the first task which confronts the country is the perfecting of present
legislation and bringing it into conformity with international stand­
ards. The following changes are necessary and desirable:
1 As to the application of factory legislation, protection of work­
ers should not be confined to any class of factories but should be
extended to include all factories. In short, there must be no distinc­
tion between “ regulated” and “ unregulated” factories. All fac­
tories should be regulated. Some of the most difficult tasks
of the factory inspectors, who each year complain bitterly of
them, are imposed by the fact that there are so many unregulated
factories in proportion to the regulated factories, particularly in the
weaving industry. A study made by the prefectural governments
shows that there are more than twenty times as many unregulated as
regulated factories in existence to-day.1 This creates great difficulties
in enforcing factory legislation in the case of the regulated factories
themselves. Long working hours, night work, poor food, small pay,
and unsanitary conditions prevail among unregulated factories, and
to bring these under control is the most urgent obligation that faces
the Government, in order that it may extend the application of pro­
tective legislation to all factories. Further, due protection should
be given women other than factory workers, i. e., those in business
and merchandising.
2. Working hours should be further curtailed, and a weekly rest
day should be enforced.
3. Child labor in factories should be totally abolished, particularly
in occupations which are dangerous or injurious to health. Some
provision must be made—at present there is none—for children in
commercial, business, and other nonindustrial occupations.
I f the Government is not able to abolish child labor entirely, some
means must be found to support children until they are able to finish
their elementary education, and no child should be obliged to avail
himself of that provision in the compulsory education ordinances
which exempts him from attending school or allows him to postpone
his schooling on account of poverty.
4. Present provisions for workmen’s compensation for industrial
accidents and occupational diseases should be made more adequate.
At present a worker totally and permanently disabled receives wages
for only 540 days, or about a year and a half, whereas he should
receive some kind of provision for the rest of his life. Industrial acci­
dents show an annual increase in spite of the efforts that are made for
safety and for safety equipment. I f workmen’s compensation can not
be expanded to take care of this situation, then Japan must find other
means or new forms of social insurance. National health insurance

Social Reform, March, 1930.

(Article by J. Kitaoka.)



takes care of disabled workers to an extent not attained in the
present workmen’s compensation law.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Government takes the lead does not
mean that public opinion is not in accord with the Government.
The charter oath which the Emperor took when he resumed the throne
in 1868 stated: “All governmental affairs shall be decided by public
discussion,” and touched the question of paternalism closely m the
next sentence, “ Both rulers and ruled shall be united for the advance­
ment of the national interest.” The Government of Japan does
express the will of the people of Japan, and whether initiative in
legislation comes from one side or the other is of less moment than it
might be in an occidental country.
5 The International Labor Conferences, meeting annually since
1919, have so influenced the Japanese Government that after the
sixth conference labor unions were fully recognized by the Govern­
ment as representative of labor, but there must be some adequate
labor-union bill enacted by the Government which will aid in the
normal development of labor unions. The development of protective
unions among woman workers is necessary and should be encouraged
in every way.
6. Because Japan’s social and economic situation is in many re­
spects unique or “ special,” she must continue to develop protective
measures for her labor and industrial population through legislation
adapted to her own conditions. Such measures should be more,
rather than less, protective for Japanese women and children, because
of their greater need, than the standards of Japanese international
commitments require or the legislation and practice of her strongest
foreign competitors suggest.
Responsibility rests largely in women’s hands for the improve­
ment of the less fortunate class of women and children. There are
more than a score of women’s organizations in Japan which seek to
improve the social position and influence of women. The movement
for the emancipation of women from century-old traditions has swept
the Island Empire for more than a score of years. Yet surprisingly
little progress has been made in some directions and the goal is still
far from being reached. However hard women may work, without
the support of public opinion and the consequent changed attitude of
individual men and women toward the social position of women in
general, the result in a matter like protective-labor legislation will
be slow in realization and perhaps discouraging at best.
Japanese women will come more and more to know the cost in
patient and persistent effort which the success of their sisters in
western countries has entailed, and the more paternalistic Govern­
ment of Japan will sooner or later recognize the necessity of the
cooperation of women in all its important tasks of social ameliora­
Public opinion must be aroused and informed systematically and
continuously by the various organizations of educated and “ privi­
leged ” women if protective labor legislation is to succeed in safe­
guarding the greatest asset of Japanese industry, which is the health
and welfare of Japanese women and children. It is also the greatest
asset of the nation and of its future culture and civilization.

Appendix A.—Amended Factory A ct4
ACT NO. 46 OF MARCH 28, 1911, AS AMENDED MARCH 29, 1923, BY ACT
NO. 33, AND MARCH 27, 1929, BY ACT NO. 21
1. This act shall apply to factories:
1. Where 10 or more workers are regularly employed.
2. Where the work is of a dangerous nature or injurious to health.
Factories to which it seems unnecessary for this act to apply may be ex­
empted by imperial decree.
A rticle

A rt. 2. [Repealed.]
A rt. 3. The occupier of a factory shall not employ young persons under 16

years of age or women for more than 11 hours a day.
The minister concerned may extend by not more than 2 hours the daily
period of employment contemplated in the preceding paragraph, according to
the nature of the work in each instance, for a term of not more than 15 years
after the coming into force of this act.
Where any person is employed in different factories, the period of employ­
ment shall be reckoned as a whole for the purpose of applying the provisions
of the two preceding paragraphs.

A rt. 4. The occupier of a factory shall not employ a young person under 16
years of age or a woman between the hours of 10 p. m. and 5 p. m., provided
that such persons may be employed until 11 p. m. with the sanction of the
administrative authorities.

5. [Repealed.]
6. [Repealed.]
A r t . 7. The occupier of a factory shall grant at least 2 rest days a month,
and a break of not less than 30 minutes during the period of employment if
the said period exceeds 6 hours a day, or not less than 1 hour if the period
of employment exceeds 10 hours a day, to persons under 16 years of age and
The break mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be granted to all the
workers at the same time, except where any other arrangement is sanctioned
by the administrative authorities.
If a break of more than one hour is granted in summer, the occupier of a
factory, with the sanction of the administrative authorities, may prolong the
period of employment by the excess of the break over one hour, provided that
the prolongation of the period of employment shall not exceed one hour.
A rt. 8. In emergencies resulting from a natural calamity, actual or threat­
ening, the minister concerned may suspend the application of the provisions of
articles 3 and 4 and of the preceding article, in respect of the processes and
districts specified by him.
In exceptional cases resulting from unavoidable circumstances, the occupier
of a factory, with the sanction of the administrative authorities, may extend
the period of employment during a specified period irrespective of the pro­
visions of article 3, employ women over 16 years of age irrespective of the
provisions of article 4, or suspend the rest days prescribed in the preceding
article, provided that in emergencies, in order to prevent the loss of raw
A rt .
A rt .

1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930,
p. 1. See also International Labor Office, Legislative Series, 1923, Jap. 1, and Legislative
Series, 1929, Jap. 1, Geneva; United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor
Review, August, 1923, p. 187 (translation of act from United States consular report of

May 12, 1923).




materials or substances liable to decompose or deteriorate rapidly, the sanction
of the administrative authorities shall not be necessary for a period not exceed­
ing four consecutive days or seven days in one month.
To deal with exceptional cases of pressure of work, the occupier of a factory
may extend the period of employment for not more than seven days in a month
by not more than two hours a day, if he in advance informs the administrative
authorities of this overtime on each occasion.
In the case of industries involving a pressure of work in special seasons, the
occupier of a factory may extend the hours of work for a specified period by
not more than one hour, provided that he has procured an authorization in
advance from the administrative authority for the said period; nevertheless,
overtime shall not be worked on more than a proportionate number of days of
the 120 days in a year for the said period. In such cases the provisions of the
preceding paragraph shall not apply during the term for which this authoriza­
tion has been granted to the occupier.
A rt. 9. The occupier of a factory shall not allow persons under 16 years of
age and women to clean, oil, examine, or repair the dangerous parts of any
machinery or transmission apparatus in motion, or to put on or take off the
driving belts or ropes of any machinery or transmission apparatus in motion,
nor to perform any other dangerous work.
A kt. 10. The occupier of a factory shall not employ young persons under 16
years of age in work involving the handling of poisons, powerful drugs, or
other injurious substances, or explosive, inflammable or combustible substances,
nor in work in places where dust or powder or injurious gas is generated in
considerable quantities, nor in any other work in dangerous or unhealthy places.
A rt. 11. The minister concerned shall specify in detail the processes to which
the two preceding articles shall apply.
The provisions of the preceding article may be extended to women of not
less than 16 years of age, under the conditions laid down by the minister
A rt. 12. The minister concerned may issue regulations restricting or pro­
hibiting the employment of sick persons, or of women before and after child­
birth or while they are nursing their children.
A rt. 13. If the administrative authorities hold that a factory, its annexes,
or equipment thereof, is likely to prove dangerous or detrimental to health,
morality, or other public interests, they may order the occupier of such factory,
in accordance with regulations to be issued by order, to take such measures as
may be necessary to prevent or reduce the dangers in question, and, if necessary,
they may also prohibit entirely or in part the use of the factory, annexes, or
equipment in question.
In the case specified in the preceding paragraph, the administrative authori­
ties may issue the necessary order to workers and apprentices concerning the
measures to be taken by the occupier of a factory.
A rt. 14. The competent official may inspect a factory or its annexes, or
medically examine any worker or apprentice suspected of a disease which
entails prohibition of employment or is infectious; in such cases he shall carry
official credentials.
A rt. 15. Where any worker is injured, falls ill, or dies, in connection with his
employment, the occupier of a factory shall pay compensation to him or his
family or any person dependent upon his income at the time of his death, in
accordance with the regulations to be issued by imperial decree.
Art. 16. Workers and apprentices or persons intending to be employed as
such, and occupiers of factories, or their legal representatives or factory
managers, may procure certificates free of charge from the person in charge
of census registration or his substitute, concerning the registration of the
workers, apprentices, or persons wishing to be employed.
A rt. 17. Matters respecting the engagement and dismissal of workers, the
supervision of employment agencies, and apprenticeship, shall be regulated by
imperial decree.
A rt. 18. The occupier of a factory may appoint a factory manager who shall

have full authority in all the affairs of the factory.
If the occupier of a factory does not live within the area to which this
applies, he shall appoint a factory manager.
The approval of the administrative authority shall be necessary for
appointment of a factory manager; nevertheless, this requirement shall
apply if the director of the body corporate, the managing partner of
company, the member of the firm representing the company, a director or




managing partner of the firm, or any cither person representing the body
corporate in question or its director, in accordance with any law or order, is
selected as factory manager.
Art. 19. The factory manager contemplated in the preceding article shall
represent the occupier of the factory as regards the application of this act and
the orders in pursuance thereof. Nevertheless, this provision shall not apply
in the case mentioned in article 15.
Where the occupier of a factory is under age or has not full legal responsibility
in respect of business, or has been adjudged incompetent, or is a body corporate,
and where there is no factory manager, the provisions of the preceding para­
graph shall apply to the legal representative of the said occupier of a factory,
or to the director or managing partner of the firm, or to the member of the firm
representing the company, its director or managing partner, or to' any other
person representing the body corporate in accordance with any law or order.
Art. 20. The occupier of a factory or his representative under the preceding
article shall be liable to’ a fine not exceeding 1,000 yen if he contravenes the
provisions of this act or the orders thereunder, or fails to comply with the
instructions issued in pursuance of these provisions.
A rt. 21. Any person who without reasonable cause refuses, prevents, or
evades inspection by a competent official, or fails to answer questions put to
him by such official, or makes false statements or prevents the medical exam­
ination of a worker or apprentice, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding 500 yen.
Art. 22. The occupier of a factory or his representative within the meaning of
article 19 shall, moreover, be liable for contraventions of this act and the
orders in pursuance of the same, or the instructions issued thereunder, which
are committed by his representative, the head or a member of his family, a
member of his household, salaried employee, or any other person employed by
him, even if the contravention was not committed in pursuance of his instruc­
tions. Nevertheless, this provision shall not apply if he has taken proper care
with regard to the management of his factory.
The occupier of a factory or his representative within the meaning of article
19 shall, moreover, be liable even where he alleges ignorance of the age of a
worker; nevertheless, this provision shall not apply if no blame attaches to
the occupier of a factory or his representative within the meaning of article 19
or the person concerned with the workers.
Art. 23. Any person who does not assent to the measures taken by the
administrative authority in pursuance of this act may appeal against the
same; any person who believes that his rights are infringed contrary to law
may institute administrative proceedings.

A rt. 24. The minister concerned may extend the provisions of articles 3, 4,
7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, and from 18 to 23, inclusive, to factories which do not
come under article 1 but in which motor power is used, provided that in cases
where the provisions of article 3 are applied the daily period of employment
prescribed in the same article may be extended by not more than one hour for
a period not exceeding two years from the coming into operation of the said
A rt. 25. This act and orders in pursuance thereof shall apply to State and
public factories, except as regards the provisions relating to factory managers
and penalties.
As regards State factories, the competent authorities shall have the same
powers as are granted to the administrative authorities in accordance with
this act and the orders in pursuance thereof.

Supplementary provisions to Act No. S3, 1928
The date for the enforcement of this act shall be fixed by imperial decree.2
For three years from the enforcement of this act the words “ fifteen years ”
shall be substituted for the words “ sixteen years.”
The provisions of article 4 shall not apply for three years from the date of
the enforcement of this act in places where workers are employed in two or
more alternating shifts.
If persons under 15 years of age and women are employed under the pro­
visions of the preceding paragraph, they shall be granted a rest day at least
four times a month, and their hours of work shall be changed at least once
every 10 days.
2 The original act was enforced as from September 1, 1916, and Act No. 33 as from
July 1, 1926.



Appendix B.—Ordinances Under Factory Act
Imperial Decree for Enforcement of Factory A ct 1
BER 1, 1922, BY IMPERIAL DECREE NO. 471; JUNE 5, 1926, BY
NO. 202)
Chapter 1.— General rules
A rticle 1. Factories which are engaged exclusively in work of the following
nature are exempted from the application of the factory act, this rule not
applying, however, to factories employing prime movers, specified by the
Minister of Home Affairs:
The manufacture of—
1. Agar-agar,2 " koori-konnyaku,” 8 “ koori-tofu,” 4 “ yuba,” 6 “ men-rui,” * or
of “ fu.” 7
2. Basket trunks, hanging bamboo screens, bamboo cages and baskets, ribs of
Japanese umbrellas, or of other articles made of wicker, rattan, bamboo,
bamboo sheath, wood shavings (chips), vines, stalks, or straw;
3. Chip braids or straw braids;
4. Hats and other articles made of “ atan,” 8Panama leaf, or other substances
of similar nature;
5. Folding fans, flat fans, Japanese umbrellas, or Japanese or Chinese
6. Toys, or artificial flowers, made chiefly of paper, thread, cotton, bamboo,
or woven tissue;
7. Pattern paper, paper box, “ motoyui ” or “ mizuhiki ” ; 9
8. Hand-made wearing apparel, “ tabi,” 1 or other tailorings;
9. Hand-made cord;
10. Embroidery, lace, batten lace, or drawn work.
A rt. 2. Factories which come under the mining law shall be exempted from
the application of the factory act.
A rt. 3. Factories which engage in work of the following nature shall come
within the purview of article 1, paragraph 1, item 2 of the factory act:

1. Manufacture of poisonous medicines or substances.
2. Taxidermy.
3. Manufacture of measuring instruments in which mercury is used.
4. Manufacture of vacuum flasks by means of mercury pump.
5. Manufacture of files where lead is used.
6. Manufacture of enameled iron wares or chemical compound for enameling.
7. Manufacture of paints, pigments, printing ink or colors for water-color
or oil painting.
8. Works where sulphur dioxide, chlorine, or hydrogen gas is used.
9. Kefining of sulphur.
10. Heat treatment of metals with potassium cyanide or nitrates.
11. Manufacture of factis.1
12. Refining of fatty oils.
13. Manufacture of boiled oils.
14. Manufacture of imitation leather, or water-proofed paper or cloth, where
drying oil or inflammable solvent is used.
15. Manufacture of rubber goods where inflammable solvent is used.
16. Cementing of rubber goods using rubber cement or inflammable solvent.
17. Extraction of oils by means of inflammable solvent.
1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930, p.
See also International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1926, Jap. 1. Geneva.
2Japanese isinglass, made from seaweed.
8A kind of food made of the root of hydrosome.
4A kind of congealed bean jelly.
6A kind of bean curd.
• Various kinds of wheat or buckwheat vermicelli.
TA kind of baked gluten.
8Formosa grass.
9 “ Motoyui ” is waxed paper string used for women’s hair dressing; “ mizuhiki ” is
waxed paper string used for tying up presents.
1 Japanese socks.
1 Rubber substitute.




Manufacture of ethe’real oils by means of inflammable solvent.
Printing of rice-straw mat (yas6-yen).
Manufacture of imitation pearls where inflammable solvent is used.
Dry cleaning by means of inflammable solvent (except cleaning by merely
22. Manufacture of gum plasters.
23. Manufacture of tannic acid,
24. Manufacture of compound dyestuffs or their intermediates.
25. Manufacture of celluloid; heat treating or sawing of celluloid goods
26. Manufacture of nitrcellulose.
27. Manufacture of paper goods with collodion.
28. Manufacture of ether.
29. Manufacture or denaturation of alcohol.
30. Manufacture of viscose.
31. Distilling or refining of turpentine oil.
32. Distilling, refining, or canning of mineral oils.
33. Refining of asphalt.
34. Manufacture of asphaltic felts or papers for building.
35. Manufacture of matches.
36. Manufacture or handling of gunpowder, explosives, fuses, cartridges, fire­
37. Smelting or refining of metals.
38. Electric or gas welding or cutting.
39. Manufacture of compressed or liquified gases.
40. Ice making by means of compressed or liquified gases.
41. Woodworking by power-driven sawing machines.
42. Electrical plant (generating station, transformation house, switch station).
43. Manufacture of electric lamps.
44. Manufacture, etching, sand blasting, or powdering of glass.
45. Dry grinding or polishing of metals, bones, horns or shells.
46. Manufacture of metallic powders or foils by power.
47. Powdering of ores, rocks, sands, shells, or bones by power.
48. Manufacture of electric carbons.
49. Manufacture of coal gas or cokes.
50. Manufacture of carbides.
51. Manufacture of lime.
52. Manufacture of felts, or of imitation woolen clothes (fukitsuke) by
means of blasting.
53. Raising or garneting of woven, knitted woolen or worsted goods.
54. Manufacture of cotton lap.
55. Hackling of hemp, jute, flax, ramie, etc.
56. Sorting of old cotton, cotton scrap, old hemp, waste papers, waste cotton
thread, waste wool, and rags.
57. Manufacture of bone or blood charcoal.
58. Fur dressing, tanning, or glue making.
59. Refining of hairs or feathers.
60. Other work specified by the Minister of Home Affairs.
Chapter II.—Compensation to workers or their dependents
A rt. 4. In case a worker is injured or falls ill or dies in connection with
his employment, the occupier of a factory shall pay compensation, in pursuance
of the provisions of this chapter, provided that in case the person entitled to
the compensation is awarded a compensation for the same cause, in virtue of the
provisions of the civil code, the occupier may subtract from the compensation
he pays such amount as is equivalent to the compensation awarded.

The discharge of the worker shall not alter the obligations of compensation
provided by the preceding paragraph, unless it be specially provided otherwise.
A rt. 5. When a worker is injured or falls ill, the occupier of a factory shall,
at his own expense, cause the operative to be medically treated, or shall bear
expenses necessary for medical treatment.

A rt. 6. The occupier of a factory shall pay a monetary benefit amounting
at least to 60 per cent of the daily wage, during the time the latter receives no
wage while absent from work for medical treatment. When such benefit con­
tinues for 180 days or more, the occupier may reduce its amount to 40 per cent
of the wages.



A rt. 7. In case the injury or illness occasions to the worker such permanent
physical or mental disability as is prescribed below, the occupier of a factory
shall pay to him a lump sum according to the following scale:
1. Helplessly maimed for life—not less than 540 days’ wages.
2. Disabled for work for life—not less than 360 days’ wages.
3. Disabled for the former work, made hopeless of recovering former health,
or disfigured in the features in the case of a woman—not less than 180 days’
4. Irrecoverably maimed but able to engage in the former work—not less
than 40 days’ wages.
A bt. 7 (II). In case the worker is injured or falls ill owing to his serious
fault, and this is so acknowledged by the administrative authorities, the
occupier of a factory may be exempted from obligation to pay compensation for
temporary and permanent disability stipulated in the preceding two articles.
A rt. 8. In the case of the death of a worker the occupier of a factory shall
pay to the surviving relative or the dependents of the deceased worker an
amount equivalent to his wages for not less than 360 days.
A rt. 9. In case of the death of a worker, the occupier of a factory shall pay
funeral expenses equivalent in amount to at least 30 days’ wages of the deceased
worker (or not less than 30 yen) to the bereaved family or the dependents of
the deceased who take charge of the funeral.
A rt. 10. The recipient of allowances to the surviving dependent shall be the
spouse of the deceased worker.
In the absence of a spouse, the allowances shall go to the nearest relative in
direct consanguinal order, the descendant having the precedence in case the
descendant and ascendant are in the same degree of relationship, provided that
such recipient was in the same family as the worker at the time of his death.
Art . 11. The precedence of relatives in the same degree of consanguinity,
prescribed in paragraph 2 of the preceding article, shall be as follows:
1. The successor to the deceased worker or the head of his family has prece­
dence over all others.
2. A male has precedence over a female.
3. Among males or females in the direct order of descent, the legitimate child
has precedence over all others, and among a legitimate child, a registrally
recognized illegitimate and unrecognized illegitimate child, the legitimate or
registrally recognized illegitimate child, even of the feminine sex, to have
precedence over the illegitimate child.
4. Among persons in the same order of precedence in the two preceding
paragraphs, the senior in age has precedence over other persons of the same
A rt . 12. In case there is no person to come under the provisions of article 10,
the allowances shall go to one of the following persons, provided that should,
there be a will left by the deceased worker or a previous notice made by him
to the occupier of a factory specifying one of the following persons, such will
or notice shall be respected:
1. The successor to the deceased worker or the head of his family.
2. A brother or a sister who was living in the same house with the worker at
the time of his death.
3. A person who was subsisting on the earnings of the worker at the time of
his death.
A rt. 13. The benefit provided for in article 6 shall be paid not less than
once a month, the same applying also to payment to the beneficiary according to
article 5.
The benefit for the maimed shall be paid soon after the cure, the benefit for
the deceased’s dependents and funeral benefit shall be paid soon after the death,
provided that the benefit for the maimed or that for the deceased’s dependents
may be paid in separate amounts, with the approval of the administrative
A rt. 13 (II). In case the worker receives medical benefit under the health
insurance act1 (except in the case of article 48, paragraph 1, item 2), the
compensation by article 5 is not obligatory; the same applies also to the
compensation by article 6, where the worker receives benefit during the dis­
ablement period under the health insurance act.
“ Act of Apr. 22, 1922.

International Labor Office.

Legislative Series, 1922, Jap. 3.



In case the funeral benefit is paid under the health insurance act, the
corresponding benefit by this act may not be obligatory.
In case the worker receives no insurance benefit owing to article 62, para­
graphs 1 and 2, article 64, or article 65 paragraph 2 of the health insurance
act, the corresponding benefit by this act is not obligatory.
A rt. 14. In case a worker who receives compensation by article 5, or medical
treatment by the health insurance act, fails to recover from the injury or
illness in three years from the date of his first medical treatment, the occupier
of a factory may discontinue the compensation prescribed in the present chapter,
after giving a lump-sum compensation equivalent to the worker’s wages fot 540
A rt. 15. The occupier of a factory may refuse to extend compensation pre­
scribed in the present chapter, under any of the following circumstances:
1. When allowances are claimed after one year of the discharge of the
worker. It is provided, however, that this rule does not apply to a claim
which is made in consequence of an injury or illness owing to which the
worker had formerly been in receipt of compensations or insurance benefits.
The same rule also applies in the case of a claim made in consequence of an
injury or illness which occasioned a claim for compensation or insurance benefit
before or within one year after discharge.
2. When an injury or illness which had healed under medical treatment
received by compensation or the health insurance act returns after the worker’s
A rt. 16. The amount of wages to form the basis for the calculation of the
relief benefits and funeral expenses shall be as specified below:
1. With regard to the worker insured under the health insurance act, the
daily amount of the basic remuneration fixed for him in accordance with that
2. With regard to the worker not insured under the health insurance act, the
quotient obtained by dividing the total amount of his wages for a period of
three months (if he has been engaged for less than three months, the period
of his engagement) by the number of days during that period—i. e. in case of
sickness, for the three months immediately preceding the day on which the
sickness began according to the diagnosis, or if the exact day on which the
sickness began is not clear, the three months immediately preceding the seven
days before the diagnosis; and in case of injury or instant death, the three
months immediately preceding the day of such occurrence; (if there is a fixed
day for closing the wages account for each given period, the three months taken
shall be the period of three months immediately preceding the last day on
which the account was closed) ; provided that the quotient calculated in the
manner described above shall not be less than 60 per cent of the total amount
of the wages during the period in question divided by the number of days for
which the worker received wages.
If the period mentioned in item 2 of the preceding paragraph includes the
following period, the days and earning in that period shall be excluded from
the days and total earnings above mentioned:
1. Days of rest owing to injury or illness caused in connection with employ­
2. Days of rest before and after childbirth prescribed by the Minister of
Home Affairs.
3. Probation period.
4. Unusual rest days given for the employer’s convenience.
Among the total earnings mentioned in paragraph 1, item 2, the bonus and
unusual allowance stipulated by the Minister of Home Affairs shall not be
If it is impossible to calculate the base wage for compensation according to
the preceding three paragraphs, the base wage shall be the amount fixed by
compensation rules,1 provided that if the compensation rules have no such
provision the administrative authority shall fix it.
A rt. 17. In case the occupier of a factory supplies food and other articles,
their cost shall be reckoned into the amount to be figured out in accordance
with item 1 or 2 of the preceding article, provided that as regards the benefit
for temporary disablement, if the employer continues to supply the food and
other articles during disablement, the cost shall not be reckoned into the amount.
1 See article 19.



A rt. 18. The local governor may, in exercise of his official powers or in
response to a petition, institute inquiries into the cause or causes of a worker’s
injury, disease or death, or into the extent of physical injury or other matters
pertaining to the compensation provided for in article 7, or offer to mediate.

When deemed necessary in the case of the preceding paragraph, a medical
diagnosis or post-mortem examination may be ordered.
A rt. 19. The occupier of a factory shall draw up rules determining the
amount, the procedure, and other necessary matters pertaining to the compensa­
tion, and send a copy of the same to the local governor, this applying also to
any alteration which is made in the rules.
When deemed necessary the local governor may order an amendment of the
rules of compensation.

A rt. 20. Separate rules are provided for compensation to workers in Gov­
ernment factories.1
C h ap ter

III.—Engagement and discharge of workers

A rt . 21. The occupier of a factory shall make and keep a name list of workers
in each workshop or factory.
Matters to be entered in the list of workers shall be determined by the Min­
ister of Home Affairs.
A rt. 22. The worker’s wages shall be paid not less than once a month in the
country’s currency.
A rt. 23. When a lawful claimant makes a claim in the event of the death or
discharge of a worker, or under circumstances specified by the Minister of
Home Affairs, the employer shall pay the wages without delay.

All savings of the worker, kept in custody in the form of a reserve fund, a
trust fund, or under any other name whatsoever, shall, under circumstances
provided for in the preceding paragraph, be paid without delay.

A rt . 24. In engaging a worker the occupier of a factory shall not make a
contract which contravenes the two preceding articles, or fixes in advance either
the sum payable to the occupier for breach of contract or the amount of
indemnity for damage; provided that this rule shall not apply to cases where
the local governor’s permission is obtained to a previously drawn up method
to carry out the following arrangement:
1. Where the workers are made themselves to lay by their own savings or
where a part of their wages is, for their own benefit, paid in other kind.
2. The occupier of a factory may hold back that portion of a worker’s sav­
ings which is contributed by the occupier, when the worker is dismissed for
violating the contract of engagement or in consequence of acts for which the
worker is held responsible.

A rt. 25. When the occupier of a factory keeps in custody the worker’s sav­
ings, he shall previously determine a reliable method for the purpose, for
which he shall obtain the sanction of the local governor.
A rt. 26. [Repealed.]
A rt. 27. When a minor or a woman worker is discharged to suit the em­

ployer’s convenience, or when a worker, who is receiving compensation in
pursuance of the provisions of articles 5 or 6, or medical attendance or its cost
under the health insurance act in respect of injury or sickness arising out of
employment, or who comes under item 1 or 2 of article 7, is discharged, and is
to return home within 15 days after his or her discharge, the occupier shall
bear for him or her the necessary traveling expenses. The same rule applies to
a worker who returns home within 15 days after his or her allowances are
stopped in virtue of the provisions of article 14.
The provisions of article 18 apply correspondingly to the traveling expenses
in the preceding paragraph.
A rt. 27 (II). If the occupier of a factory wants to discharge a worker, he
shall give 14 days’ previous notice, or an allowance equivalent to 14 days’
wages, except when the discharge is carried out because it became impossible
to continue business owing to a natural calamity, and when it is unavoidable
to discharge the worker for a reason for which he is responsible.
The following period shall not be reckoned in the period of previous notice
mentioned in the preceding paragraph :
1. Rest period owing to injury or disease in connection with employment,
provided it does not exceed two months.
u See ante, p. 77.



2. Rest period before and after childbirth prescribed by the Minister of
Home Affairs.
3. Unusual rest days given for the employer’s convenience, unless wages are
paid during rest days.
The preceding two paragraphs shall not apply to a worker on probation
period unless he is employed longer than 14 days (21 days with the approval
of the local governor).
Articles 16 and 17 shall be applied correspondingly to the wage of paragraph
1; article 18 shall be applied to paragraph 3.
A rt. 27 (III). If the worker, when he is discharged, demands a certificate
regarding the period of employment, kind of work, and wage, the occupier of a
factory shall give it without delay.
A rt. 27 (IV). The occupier of a factory employing more than 50 workers
shall draw up rules of employment without delay, and notify the local governor.
This shall also apply when any revisions are made.
The rules of employment shall stipulate the following items:
1. Times of commencing and finishing work, rest intervals, rest days, and
alteration of shifts if the workers are employed on shifts.
2. Wages, method of their calculation, and date of payment.
3. Cost of food and other expenses to be borne by the worker.
4. Sanctions, if there are any rules relating to such.
5. Discharge.
The local governor may order the amendment of the rules of employment if
he deems it necessary.
Chapter IV.—Apprentices
A rt. 28. When an apprentice is taken into a factory he shall be subject to
the following conditions:
1. That the aspirant shall take up work with the object of acquiring a
knowledge and ability necessary for a definite occupation.
2. That he shall receive a training under the direction and care of a responsi­
ble trainer.
3. That he shall always be under definite supervision in regard to his moral
4. That he shall be employed subject to regulations sanctioned by the local
A rt. 29. In order to apply for the sanction mentioned in item 4 of the pre­
ceding article, the occupier of a factory shall furnish the following particulars:
1. The number of apprentices.

2. The age of apprentices.
3. The qualification of the trainer.
4. The course and period of training.
5. The method and the hours per day of work.
6. Matters pertaining to holidays and rest periods.
7. The method of supervision concerning moral culture.
8. The method of granting allowances.
9. Regulations to be provided in accordance with the provisions of article 30.
10. The terms of apprenticeship contract.
A rt. 30. In case the apprentice is a minor or a female, means shall be pro­
vided to avoid danger or to prevent injury to health in pursuance of the spirit
of the provisions of the factory act pertaining to workers under 16 years of age
and female workers.
A rt. 31. The local governor may order a necessary corrective measure, when
he thinks that the occupier of a factory is failing to observe item 4 of article
28, or is not able to fulfill requirements for the training of apprentices, or he
may cancel the sanction provided for item 4 of article 28.
A rt. 32. In case the requirements of article 28 are not fully met, the factory
act and the present provisions relating to workers shall be applied even though
the occupier of a factory may call his workers apprentices. The same rule
applies to an apprentice respecting whom the sanction provided for in item 4
of article 28 is canceled.
C h apter V.—Penalties
A rt. 33. Any person who causes the occupier of a factory unjustifiably to
escape in whole or in part the obligation of compensation, payment of wages,
returning savings, or the obligation provided in artiGle 27, paragraph 1, or who



causes the discharge of a worker in contravention of article 27 (II), shall be
liable to a fine not exceeding 200 yen; provided that this rule shall not apply
when the occupier of a factory or a person who takes his place is punishable
in accordance with the provisions of article 22 of the factory act.
Arts. 34-36. [Repealed.]
Supplementary provision
This decree shall come into force on and after June 1, 1929.“
Departmental Regulation for Enforcement of Factory A ct1
LATION NO. 16 OF MAY 18, 1929)
A rticle 1. Prime movers coming under article 1 of the decree for the enforce­
ment of the factory act1 include the steam engine, steam turbine, gas engine,
oJ engine, water turbine, Pel ton wheel and electric motor.
A rt. 2. The appUcation for permission according to articles 4 and 7 of the
factory act shall be made to the local governor, the same applying also to the
application for the permission or the approval, or the report according to
article 8 of the same act.
A rt. 3. With regard to silk filatures using machines, spinning factories and

silk weaving for exportation, where specified by the announcement of the local
governor, the occupier of a factory may extend the day’s work for persons
under 16 years of age or for women to 12 hours, until August 31, 1931. This
provision does not apply when the workers are employed by shifts.

A rt. 4. When the occupier of a factory prolongs the period of employment,
or employs women over 16 years of age, or abolishes rest days without the
sanction of the administrative authority under the proviso of article 8 para­
graph 2 of the factory act, he shall report to the local governor without delay.
A rt. 5. The kinds of work covered by article 9 of the factory act shall be

as follows:
1. The work of cleaning, oiling, examining, or repairing the flywheel, crank,
connecting rod, cross head, piston rod of prime movers, electric and other
machinery, or of the power-transmission equipment, the commutator of electric
generators, roller, the sharp cutters, toothed wheel, pulley shaft, couplings or
like dangerous parts while in motion.
2. The work of putting the belts or ropes on or off the machines or the
power-transmission equipment in motion by a dangerous method.
3. The work of stoking the boiler or of opening or shutting the feed water
valve or the stop valve or of handling the safety valve.
4. The work of handling the electric generator, motor, transformer, or
rheostat of the generator, or of switching the high-pressure lines.
5. The work of feeding the sewing machine.
6. Work to be executed near a dangerous toothed-wheel, pulley, flywheel, belts
or ropes, which are not protected by a fence or any other contrivances to prevent
dangers, or any other things of like nature.
7. Work to be executed on shaft way or scaffold with no fencing around
or not otherwise protected, or any place of like nature.
A rt. 6. The kinds of work covered by article 10 of the factory act shall be
as follows:

1. The work of handling arsenic, mercury, or their compounds, white phos­
phorus, phosphorus sulphide, hydrocyanic acid, kalium cyanide, hydrofluoric
acid, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, carbolic acid,
and other like poisonous and dangerous substances.
2. The work of handling metallic kalium or natrium, natrium peroxide, ether,
petroleum benzene, alcohol, carbon bisulphide, or other like ignitable or inflam­
mable substances.
1 The original decree came into effect as from September 1, 1916, and Decree No. 153 a*
from July 1, 1926.
1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930,
p. 28.
1 See ante, p. 76.



8. The work of handling compressed or liquified gases.
4. Work at a place where gunpowder, explosives, fuses, cartridges or fireworks
are handled.
5. Work at a place which is charged considerably with dusts and particles
of metals, ores, earth, stones, bones, horns, rags, animal wool or hair, cotton,
hemp, straw, etc.
6. Work at a place which is charged with the dusts, vapors, or gases of arsenic,
mercury, white phosphorus, lead, hyrocyanic acid, fluor, aniline, chrome,
chlorine, or their compounds, or other like noxious substances, or with acid
7. The work of handling large quantities of substances at a high temperature,
or work in a place at a high temperature where metals, ores, earth, stones, etc.,
are smelted, melted or roasted, or work in a drying chamber of high tempera­
ture or in any other like places.
A rt. 7. The provisions of article 10 of the factory act are applicable to female
persons of 16 or more years of age in connection with work covered by
items 5 and 6 of the preceding article.
A rt. 8. The occupier of a factory shall not employ persons who are afflicted
with the following diseases, provided that this rule shall not apply when
preventive measures against the infection are taken for persons afflicted with
diseases enumerated in item 4 or 5:
1. Insanity.
2. Leprosy, tuberculosis, laryngeal tuberculosis.
3. Erysipelas, recurrent fever, measles, epidemical cerebrospinal meningitis,
and other like acute feverous diseases.
4. Syphilis, itch, and other infectious skin diseases.
5. Conjunctivitis, blennorrhea, trachoma (of a strongly infectious type),
and other like infectious eye diseases.
The occupier of a factory shall not employ persons who are afflicted with
pleurisy, heart disease, beri-beri, arthritis, tendovaginitis, acute disease of
urogenital organ or other illness, of which there is a fear of its being aggravated
by work.
The occupier of a factory shall not employ persons who have undergone an
epidemic or a serious illness and do not recover former health, even after the
disappearance of symptoms of the disease, it being provided, however, that
this rule does not apply to persons who are put to work of a nature which the
doctor pronounces to be harmless.
A rt. 9. The occupier of a factory shall not employ a woman for four weeks,
before childbirth if she requests rest days during that period.

The occupier of a factory shall not employ a woman within six weeks after
childbirth, it being provided that this rule does not apply to cases in which,
four weeks after childbirth, the woman, upon her request, is put to work of a
nature which the doctor pronounces to be harmless.
A rt. 9 (II). The woman who is nursing her child within one year after its
birth may request nursing time, twice a day, each within the limit of 30 minutes,
during the working hours. In this case the occupier of a factory shall not
employ her during the nursing time.
A rt . 10. The local governor may order the occupier of a factory to restrict
or prohibit the work of a sick person or a woman after childbirth under
circumstances other than those which are provided for in the preceding two
A rt . 11. The official credential provided for in article 14 of the factory act
shall be in accordance with Form No. 1.
Art. 12. The occupier of a factory shall take proper measures to make known
among the workers the rule of employment.
The occupier of a factory shall put up, at a place easily seen in the workshop,
particulars pertaining to the opening and closing hours of work, rest periods,
and rest days.
A rt. 12 (II). The occupier of a factory shall stipulate the rate and method
of calculation of wages to workers, previous to work.
A rt. 13. The occupier of a factory shall state in writing, in easy terms, the
main points of compensation to be extended to workers, and cause them to be
generally known among the workers.
A rt. 14. When any worker, in the course of work, or in a workshop or in
an accessory building, gets injured, falls ill, or dies, the occupier of a factory
shall, without delay, cause the case to be diagnosed or examined by a physician.



Abt. 14 (II). In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 16
of the decree for the enforcement of the factory act the following items
shall not be included in the total amount of wages under paragraph 1 item 2 of
that article:
1. Bonus for the period longer than three months.
2. Bonus or allowance for invention, good conduct, and other special act.
A rt. 15. In case there is no contract or usage in regard to figuring out the

amount mentioned in paragraph 1 of article 16 of the decree for the enforce­
ment of the factory act, or to calculating the allowances of article 17 of the
same decree, one clay’s wage or allowance shall be obtained by dividing the
sum into 360 equal parts where the agreement is by the year, or into 30 equal
parts where the agreement is by the month.
Art. 16. Entries in the workers’ name list shall be in accordance with Form
No. 2.
A rt. 17. The papers used for the workers’ name list shall be preserved for
five years after the death or discharge of the worker.
Art. 18. When the occupier of a factory transfers a worker from one work­
shop into another or from a workshop to outside of it, thus effecting a change
of his post, such change shall be regarded as a case of engagement or discharge
in making entries in the workers’ name list.
A rt. 19. Papers relating to the engagement, discharge, and compensation of
workers shall be kept in each workshop.
The papers in the preceding paragraph shall be preserved in the case of
those relating to engagement or discharge, for three years after the discharge
or death of the worker, and in the case of those relating to compensation for
three years after the termination of the compensation.
Art. 20. The circumstances in which the occupier of a factory is to pay
wages or to return the worker’s savings, in accordance with the provisions of
article 23 of the decree for the enforcement of the factory act shall be as
1. When the worker goes home for a continuous period of over one month.
2. When the worker requires money for the service of a marriage or a
3. When the local governor determines by specific order.
A rt. 21. When the occupier of a factory applies for the approval of a fac­
tory manager he has appointed, he shall present an application paper to the
local governor together with a curriculum vitae of the appointed.
A rt. 22. The occupier of a factory shall without delay notify the local
governor each time the following event takes place:

1. When he has appointed a factory manager in accordance with the proviso
of article 18 paragraph 3 of the factory act.
2. When the factory manager dies or is discharged.
3. When papers to be preserved in accordance with article 17, or paragraph
2 of article 19, are destroyed or damaged.
A rt. 23. [Repealed.]
Art. 24. The occupier of a factory which regularly employs 50 or more
workers shall compile a bulletin every month, in accordance with Form No. 3,
and present it to the local governor by the twentieth of the following month,
covering all cases of illness, injury, or death of workers.
Art. 25. When a worker, in the course of employment, or in a factory or its
annexes, gets injured, suffocated, or acutely poisoned, and dies, or it is antici­
pated it will be necessary for him to be absent for treatment at least three
days, the occupier of a factory shall without delay notify the case to the
local governor by Form No. 4. The same rule applies with regard to a
worker who was absent for three days or more although it was anticipated
he would be cured in less than three days.
Art. 26. When the following accidents happen in a factory or its annexes,
the occupier shall notify the case to the local governor, without delay, by
Form No. 5:
1. Fire or explosion.
2. Explosion of engine or any high-pressure case.
3. Explosion of flywheel or high-speed machine.
4. Breaking of chains or rope of crane or elevator, or beam or pillar of
5. Falling down of factory, its annexes, chimney, or elevated vats.
6. Other accidents causing injury to five or more men.



Art. 27. The provisions of articles 3, 4, 7, 8, 14, and from 18 to 23, inclusive,
of the factory act, and articles 2, 4,11, paragraph 2 of article 12, articles 21 and
22 of the present regulations, shall apply to factories not coming under article
1 of the factory act but which are engaged in weaving or the manufacture of
yarn by the use of power-driven machinery.
The occupier of the factory mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall
compile a register containing the names, addresses, dates of birth of workers
of 16 years of age or over employed therein, and keep it in the factory, provided
that such register may be combined with the register required under article 3
of the minimum age for industrial employment act.
Supplementary provisions to Regulation No, 16, 1929
This regulation shall come into force on September 1, 1929“
The occupier of a factory specified in paragraph 1 of article 27 may prolong
the daily working hours of persons under 16 years of age and women to 12
hours for two years from date of coming into force of this regulation.
[Forms Nos. 1-5, appearing in the original, are not included here.]
1. If a worker, a miner or any other employed person is injured, falls ill,
or is killed in the performance of his or her work, the Government shall grant
monetary relief (Fujo-Kin) in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance.
If the party entitled to the monetary relief is awarded damages for the
same cause in virtue of the provisions of another law, an amount equal to the
damages awarded shall be subtracted from the amount of the monetary relief.
The dismissal of the worker shall not affect [the obligation of the Govern­
ment in respect of] the payment of the monetary relief.
2. Monetary relief shall be divided into six classes, viz, the medical treat­
ment allowance (Ryoji-ryo), absence allowance (Kyugyd-fujoryo) , disable­
ment allowance (Shogai-fujoryo), final allowance (Uchifciri-fujoryd), sur­
vivors’ allowance (Izoku-fujoryo) and funeral allowance (Sosai-ryo). The
allowances shall be granted as specified in the appendix, according to the
following classification:
(i) The medical treatment allowance shall be granted to those who are
injured or taken ill and need medical treatment but do not receive medical
treatment at the expense of the Government.
(ii) The absence allowance shall be granted to those who are unable to work
on account of medical treatment and consequently unable to earn wages.
(iii) The disablement allowance shall be granted to those who are left with
physical disability after recovery from their sickness or injury.
(iv) The final allowance shall be granted to those who fail to recover from
the injury or sickness in three years from the beginning of the medical
(v) The survivors’ allowance shall be granted to the surviving family of the
deceased person or to any other person who was maintained by the earnings of
the worker at the time of his or her death.
(vi) The funeral allowance shall be granted to the surviving family of the
deceased person who conducts the funeral, or to any other person who was
maintained by the earnings of the worker at the time of his or her death and
who conducts the funeral service. In default of a surviving member of the
household to conduct the funeral service, the allowance may be granted to the
person who conducts it.
(vii) The absence or disablement allowance shall not be granted in case of
injury or sickness resulting from a serious fault of the worker.
If a final allowance is granted, no other monetary relief in accordance with
this ordinance shall be given thereafter.
“ The original regulation was in force as from September 1, 1916, and Regulation No.
13 as from July 1, 1926.
1 The original ordinance for the relief of State workers was promulgated in November,
1918, and put into operation on January 1, 1919. The term “ State workers ” is used for
* Yo-nin ” which literally means “ employed man.” This free rendering is used because
this ordinance applies solely to the workers employed in the State-owned factories and
mines, having been issued in accordance with the provision of section 20 of the imperial
decree for the administration of the factory act (see ante, p. 77).




3. The amounts of the disablement allowance, the final allowance, the sur­
vivors’ allowance and the funeral allowance shall be fixed within the limit of
the amounts specified in the appendix, taking into consideration the cause of
the injury or death, the extent of the physical disability, the duration of the
worker’s service and other circumstances.
4. The medical treatment or disablement allowance shall be paid at least
once a month.
The disablement allowance shall be granted without delay on the recovery of
the worker from the sickness or injury, and the survivors’ allowance and the
funeral allowance without delay on the death of the worker.
5. In case of the aggravation of the physical disability owing to the recur­
rence of the sickness or injury, the amount of the disablement allowance shall
be reassessed, and the sum already paid as the disablement allowance shall be
subtracted from the amount thereof.
6. The provisions of sections 10-12 of the ordinance for the administration
of the factory act shall apply in respect of the recipient of the survivors’
allowance, mutatis mutandis.
When the worker is entitled to receive medical attendance or the cost of the
same in virtue of the provisions of the health insurance act2 (except the pro­
vision of No. (2) of the first paragraph of section 48) the medical treatment
allowance shall not be granted during this period. The same rule shall apply
to the absence allowance when the worker is entitled to receive sick benefit or
accident benefit in virtue of the health insurance act.
If either funeral benefit or the expense of the funeral is to be granted for
the death of a worker in virtue of the health insurance act, the funeral allow­
ance shall not be granted. Nevertheless, this shall not apply to any excess of
the amount of the funeral allowance over that of either the funeral benefit
or the expense of the funeral.
If insurance benefit is withheld in accordance with the provisions of the
first paragraph of section 62 (except No. (2)) or the second paragraph thereof,
section 64 or section 65 (second paragraph), the medical treatment, absence or
funeral allowance shall not be granted, in accordance with the rule laid down
in the two preceding paragraphs.
7. In case of recurrence of an old injury or sickness after the person has been
dismissed, monetary relief shall not be granted.

8. Monetary relief in accordance with this ordinance shall not be claimed
after the lapse of one year from the dismissal of the worker. Nevertheless,
this rule shall not apply to a claim for monetary relief in respect of an injury
or sickness on account of which a claim for the grant of insurance benefit in
accordance with the health insurance act or for relief was made before dis­
missal or within one year thereafter.
9. The provisions of section 16, paragraphs 1-3 of the ordinance for the
administration of the factory act2 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the method
of ascertaining the amount of the wages which is to be taken as the basis for
the calculation of the monetary relief.
If it is found difficult to calculate the amount according to the preceding
paragraph, the competent Government authority shall decide the amount.
10. This ordinance shall not apply to workers who are members of mutual
relief associations which receive allowances from the Government.
Additional provisions
This ordinance shall come into operation on July 1, 1926. As regards the
relief of a person who has been injured or fallen ill during the performance of
work and is receiving medical treatment at the expense of the Government,
or who is receiving monetary relief in accordance with the former provisions,
and who continues to receive either medical treatment at the expense of the
Government or monetary relief, this ordinance shall apply from the date of its
coming into operation. The same rule shall apply to the relief of a person who
receives monetary relief on account of the recurrence, after this ordinance
comes into operation, of an injury or sickness which had disappeared during
receipt of monetary relief or medical treatment at the expense of the Govern­
ment before the coming into operation of this ordinance.
2 International Labor Office.
2 See ante, p. 79.

Legislative Series, 1922 (Jap. 3).


A p p e n d ix .— Relief


allowance (new scale)



Allowance for medical treatment................................................... . Actual cost thereof.
Absence allowance for inability to work:
Less than 180 days..................................................................... 60 per cent of daily wages.
180 days or more........................................................................ 40 per cent of daily wages.
Disablement allowance:
Helpless for life......................................................................... . Not less than 540 nor more than 700
days’ wages.
Disabled for life......................................................................... Not less than 360 nor more than 500
days’ wages.
Disabled for former work, if there is no hope of recovering Not less than 180 nor more than 300
days’ wages.
former health, or, in the case of a woman, if her features are
Irremediably maimed, but able to engage in former work.... Not less than 40 nor more than 150 days’
Final allowance............................................................................. . Not less than 540 nor more than 700
days’ wages.
Survivors’ allowance........................................................................ Not less than 360 nor more than 600
days’ wages.
Funeral allowance......... — ............................................................ . Not less than 20 nor more than 40 days’
wages (minimum 20 yen).

Appendix C.—Minimum Age for Industrial Employment A ct1
ACT NO. 34 OF MARCH 29, 1923
A r t ic l e 1. The term “ industry ” for the purposes of this act shall include the
following undertakings:
1. .Mining work, alluvial mining work, quarrying work, or any other work
for the extraction of minerals from the earth.
2. Undertakings in which articles are manufactured, altered, cleaned, repaired,
ornamented, finished, adapted for sale, broken up, or demolished, or in which
materials are transformed (including shipbuilding and the generation or trans­
formation and transmission of electricity or motive power of any kind).
3. Construction and building work, or any other work in the erection, mainte­
nance, repair, alteration, or demolition of buildings, as well as preparation for
any such work or structure or laying the foundations thereof.
4. The transportation of passengers or goods by road, railway, tramway, or
inland waterway, excluding such transportation as is mainly done by man
5. The handling of goods at docks, quays, wharves, or warehouses.
A r t . 2. Persons under 14 years of age shall not be employed in industry,
provided that this provision shall not apply to persons over 12 years of age who
have finished the course at an elementary school.
The provision of the preceding paragraph shall not apply to undertakings
where only members of the same family are employed, or to the employment of
children in industrial schools (technical schools) with the approval of the
administrative authorities.
A r t . 3. In cases where children under 16 years of age are employed in indus­
try, the employer shall compile a register containing their names, addresses,
dates of birth and details of school career, and keep it at the work place, pro­
vided that this provision shall not apply in cases where such registers are
provided according to the regulations under the factory act,2 or according to
tke mining act.
Art. 4. Any competent official may inspect the work place or its annexes, for
which purpose he shall be provided with official credentials.
Art. 5. Any person engaged in industry or intending to engage therein, or
any employer, may request the person in charge of the census registration or
his substitute to supply a certificate respecting the registration of any person
engaged in industry or intending to engage therein.
Art. 6. Any person who contravenes the provisions of article 2 shall be
liable to a fine not exceeding 1,000 yen.

1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930, p.
64. See also International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1923, Jap. 2. Geneva.
* See ante, p. 85,



Art, 7 . Any person who contravenes the provisions of article 3, or without
reasonable cause refuses, prevents, or evades inspection by a competent
official, or fails to answer his questions or makes false statements, shall be liable
to a fine not exceeding 500 yen.
Abt. 8. In cases where the employer is a minor not possessing the same legal
capacity as an adult in respect of his business, incompetent to act, or a body
corporate, the penal provisions which would apply to the employer shall apply
to the legal agents of such persons or the person who represents the body cor­
porate according to the relevant act and orders.
A rt. 9. I f a contravention of the provisions of this act is committed by the
employer’s agent, the head or a member of his family, a person living in his
household, one of his employees, or any other person engaged in his business, the
employer shall not be exempt from penalty on the ground that the contravention
was not committed by his order.
A rt. 10. The provisions relating to the employer under this act shall apply

to the occupier of the factory, or to the manager if appointed, in the case of
factories coming under the factory act, and to the mine owner, or the mine
manager if appointed, in the case of mining undertakings.
A rt. 11. This act with the exception of the penal provisions, shall also apply
in cases where State, a Prefecture, a city, town, or village, or any similar body,
is the employer.
Supplementary provisions

The date of the coming into force of this act shall be determined by imperial
order. [It was fixed on July 1, 1926.]
In cases where persons over 12 years of age at the time of the coming into
force of the present act continue in employment, the provisions of article 2
shall not apply to them.

Appendix D.—Departmental Regulation on Accident Preven­
tion and Hygiene in Factories1

JUNE 20,1929

A rticle 1. This regulation shall apply to factories coming under article 1 of
the factory act.
Art. 2. Dangerous parts of a prime mover or a power transmission apparatus
shall be adequately fenced or covered.
A rt. 3. N o outside projecting metal fittings shall be used in the fastening of
the belts of power transmission apparatus, provided that this rule shall not
apply to those metal fasteners the exposed surface of which forms an arc and
which are not dangerous.

The provision of the preceding paragraph shall not apply to belts which are
not liable to cause contact with workers on account of being adequately fenced
or covered or because of their position, and which are not touched by hands, or
to belts which by reason of their weak motive power or slow motion do not
constitute a danger to workers.
A rt. 4. Heads of set screws, bolts, nuts, keys, and the like, attached to the
revolving parts of a coupling, collar, clutch, pulley, and the like, used for power
transmission, shall not be protruding, provided that this rule shall not apply
to those parts the exposed surface of which forms an arc and which are not
dangeroius, to those parts which are adequately covered, or to those parts which
while in motion are not liable to cause contact with workers performing their
duties (including cleaning, oiling, inspecting, repairing, etc.) or with persons
passing near them.
A rt. 5. In case a loose pulley is used, a belt-shifting apparatus shall be
provided, except in cases where the nature of the work does not permit of this
being done or, where, on account of the nature of the work, accidents are not
liable to be caused without a belt-shifting apparatus.
The belt-shifting apparatus mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be
fitted with appliances in such a manner as to prevent the accidental shifting of
a belt to the fixed pulley.
1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930, p.
40, See also International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1929, Jap. 4. Geneva.



A rt. 6. In case where the distance between a pulley and an adjacent wheel,
or between a pulley and a bearing, coupling, and the like, is so narrow that it is
liable to cause danger when a transmission belt falls into this narrow space,
or in case where a belt must occasionally be thrown off a pulley while the shafts
are in motion, a suitable belt perch shall be provided.
A rt . 7. If a power-transmission apparatus is dangerous to approach for oil­
ing, a safe lubricating device must be used.
A rt. 8. Appliances shall be provided in all workrooms so that a prime mover
or power-transmission apparatus can be stopped quickly in case of emergency,
provided that this rule shall not apply in cases where the prime-mover room
is directly accessible from the workroom or where an emergency signal is
provided which communicates with the prime-mover room which is constantly
A r t . 9. When a prime mover or a power-transmission apparatus is set in
motion, a signal shall be given to all workers concerned (this always includes
apprentices) in a manner previously agreed upon.
If a prime mover, a power-transmission apparatus, or other machinery is
liable to cause danger by being started by persons other than those engaged in
cleaning, oiling, inspecting, repairing, or any other similar duties, while the
motion of the machine is suspended for the performance of such duties, a suit­
able appliance or arrangement shall be provided to prevent such danger.
Art. 10. Dangerous parts of machinery driven by motive power shall be
protected by fencing or covering or other appliance to prevent the possibility
of accidents, unless conditions do not permit of this being done.
A rt. 11. Each of the following parts of machines shall be so arranged that
they can not be opened unless their motion is suspended:
(1) In the case of cotton-spinning machines, the fan doors of exhaust
openers, beater covers, and dust doors of scutchers, front plates of the cylinders
of carding machines (except when vacuum cleaners are used) and the gear
cover of the head stock of a drawing machine or of the speed frame.
(2) In the case of silk-spinning machines, the cylinder cover of filling
(3) Any other parts similar in nature to those mentioned in the two pre­
ceding paragraphs.
A rt . 12. All machinery driven by motive power shall be fitted in each case
with a device by which it can be stopped quickly, provided that this rule shall
not apply to group-driven machinery provided with a common shut-off contriv­
ance, or to machinery not liable to constitute a danger.

A rt. 13. Rollers which are used for kneading adhesive substances and which
are liable to cause accidents, shall be equipped with a device enabling the
person affected by the accident to stop the motion of the roller in case of emer­
A rt . 14. Persons who, on account of handling the moving prime mover, powertransmission apparatus, or any other machinery driven by motive power, or
who on account of performing duties in the vicinity of such machinery, is exposed
to the risk of accident by having hair or clothing caught by the machinery, shall
be obliged to be provided with a head covering or working suit which will
effectively prevent such accident.
Persons, while performing their duties, shall be required to put on or wear
a head covering or working suit, as prescribed in the preceding paragraph.
A rt . 15. The opening, reservoir, shaftway, staircase, or any other place into
which persons are liable to fall and meet with accidents, shall be guarded with
a fence, railing, covering, or any other appliance to prevent effectively the
possibility of accident, unless the nature of the work does not permit this to be
A rt. 16. Portable ladders used in work shall be safely footed to prevent the
possibility of slipping ofr turning sideways, provided that this rule shall not
apply in cases where they are not likely to constitute a source of accident on
account of the condition of the floor or for some other reason.
Art. 17. Gangways between machines, and between machines and other
equipment, shall be at least 2.6 shaku2 wide, excepting those which were in
existence prior to the coming into operation of this regulation, provided that
this rule shall not apply in cases where, if the conditions do not permit of this
being done, other arrangements are sanctioned by the local governor (in the
*1 shaku=0.994194 foot.



case of the Tokyo Prefecture the local governor shall always be the inspectorgeneral of the metropolitan police).
Abt. 18. Proper signs shall be put up in dangerous places.
A rt. 19. No worker shall remove or render ineffective, without due cause,
any safety devices.
Art. 20. The local governor may issue any necessary orders concerning
measures to be taken for the prevention of accidents in respect of workrooms
in which explosive, combustible, or inflammable substances are manufactured
or handled, or in respect of warehouses, store yards, reservoirs, and other
containers, in which these substances are stored.
Art. 21. In places where explosive, combustible, or inflammable substances
are manufactured, handled, or stored, places where gas, vapor, or dust is
generated and is liable to cause explosions, or any other places where exists
a serious danger of fire, no fire or naked lights must be used, except in cases
where it is indispensable for the performance of work, provided that this rule
shall not apply to the use of safety lamps, incandescent electric lamps, or any
other apparatus which is not dangerous.
In such places as are mentioned in the preceding paragraph, signs shall be
posted to indicate the prohibition of smoking or the use of naked lights or fire
other than that which is indispensable for the performance of work in those
A rt. 22. Rags, waste paper, and the like, which have absorbed or have been
soiled with oil, printing ink, or any substances of a like nature, shall be placed
in fireproof containers provided for the purpose, or shall be disposed of in other
suitable ways.
Art. 23. The workrooms in which explosive, combustible, or inflammable
substances are manufactured or handled, or those in which 50 or more persons
are regularly employed, shall be provided with two or more suitable exits to
ensure that in the event of fire or other emergency the persons employed therein
may have easy access to safe places.
In case where 10 or more persons are regularly employed on the first or
higher floors, two or more staircases properly distributed and leading clearly
to a safe place outside of the building shall be provided on each floor.
In case where 50 or more persons are regularly employed on the first or
higher floors, the staircases mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be
required to fulfill the following conditions:
(1) The width of a stair shall be 7 sun8 or more, and the rise shall be less
than 7 sun.
(2) The staircase must be placed at an angle of less than 40 degrees from
the floor.
(3) The staircase, in case it exceeds 12 shaku in height, shall be provided
with a landing for every 12 shaku or less.
(4) The inside width of the stairs shall be at least 3.5 shaku.
(5) No circular turns shall be used in the stairway.
( 6 ) Railings of a height at least 2.7 shaku shall be provided along the sides
of the staircase.
(7) There shall be no obstacle lower than 5.7 shaku from each step.
The provisions mentioned in the three preceding paragraphs shall not apply
in cases where they are unnecessary on account of the nature of the work,
construction, equipment, etc., of the building, or in cases where regarding a
building which was constructed before the coming into operation of this regu­
lation, the conditions do not permit of their being done, provided that this is
sanctioned by the local governor.
Art. 24. The local governor may issue any necessary order regarding the
arrangement or construction of gangways, staircases, and exits of a workroom,
to prepare for fire or other emergencies.
Art. 25. Exits provided under article 23, and those provided by order under
the preceding article, and the gangways and staircases leading to these exits,
which are not habitually used, shall be suitably indicated as such and shall
be kept clear so as to enable persons to escape by them at any time.
Art. 26. In places in which gas, vapor, or dust is generated and causes
harm to health or danger of explosion, its exhaustion, confinement, or some
other suitable arrangement shall be provided to avoid such danger or harm.
*1 sun=1.196 inches.



A rt. 27. Admittance except on business shall be prohibited to the following
places, and notices to that effect shall be posted thereto:
(1) Places in which explosive, combustible, or inflammable substances are
manufactured, handled, or stored.
(2) Places in which poisonous medicines or substances, or any other injurious
substances are manufactured or handled.
(3) Places in which gas, vapor, or dust is generated and is injurious to
(4) Places in which substances of high temperature are handled in large
No person shall enter without permission the places to which admittance is
prohibited under the preceding paragraph.
In respect of work carried on in places mentioned in the first paragraph of
this article, the local governor may prohibit the undertaking of any other kind
of work, or may order any other necessary measures.
A rt . 28. Suitable protective equipment shall be provided for the use of
workers engaged in work involving danger of attack from flying objects,
such as in the case of grinding metals by machinery, or in the case of bottling
beverages containing carbonic acid, in the case of the manufacture or handling
of substances of high temperature, or poisonous medicines or substances, in
work exposing them to harmful rays, in work in places where large quantities
of dust, or injurious gas, vapor, or dust is generated, and in any other work
which is dangerous or harmful to health.
Any worker employed in these works shall be required to use the protective
equipment mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
A rt. 29. In factories where gas, vapor, or dust which is harmful to health is
generated, a proper dining place shall be provided for the use of workers
concerned, provided that this rule shall not apply in cases where these workers
do not take meals within the factory.
In factories in which poisonous medicines or substances or any other inju­
rious substances are handled, or in which dust is generated in large quantities,
or in any other factories in which the nature of the work soils the body,
proper washing accommodation with the necessary appliances shall be provided.
In such factories mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs or in those in
which substances of high temperature are handled, the local governor, If
deemed necessary, may order the supply of drinking water, the establishment
of a dining place, cloakrooms, gargling accommodation, or bathrooms.

A rt. 30. When thread must be drawn through the shuttle of a weaving
machine by suction, mechanical devices for performing this operation shall
be provided.

No worker shall suck the threads with the lips through the shuttle.
31. The local governor, if deemed necessary for the purposes of safety
or hygiene, may order the enlargement of the window space or the provision
of lighting facilities, or such other arrangements as may be required in a
factory or annexes thereof for the purpose of light and ventilation.
A rt .

A rt. 32. First-aid equipment and materials which are necessary for the
immediate treatment of injured persons shall be provided in each factory,
provided that this rule shall not apply in cases where there is no danger of
injury arising from the nature of the work.

The place where first-aid equipment and materials are kept, and the method
of their operation, shall be made known thoroughly to all employees.
A rt. 33. The dining place, kitchen, and table ware shall be kept always
No persons who are afflicted with the diseases mentioned in the first para­
graph of article 8 of the departmental regulation for the enforcement of the
factory act, shall be employed in dining places or kitchens.
A rt. 34. A cloakroom and bathroom, separate in each case for men and
women, shall be provided.

Art. 35. If the local governor holds that a factory, its annexes, or its equip­
ment thereof is liable to be a source of accident or detrimental to health, moral
welfare, or other public interests, he may order the occupier of such factory to
take measures, other than those prescribed in the preceding sections, as may
be necessary to prevent or remove such dangers.
A rt. 36. Any person contravening the requirements of article 19 or who
smokes or employs naked lights or fire without due cause in the places specified
in article 21, shall be liable to a fine.



This regulation shall come into operation on September 1, 1929.
The provisions of article 16, the first paragraph of article 28, and article 30,
shall not apply for one year from the coming into operation of this regulation;
the provisions of article 8, the first, second, and third paragraphs of article 23,
the second paragraph of article 29, and article 34, shall not apply for one year
from the coming into operation of this regulation to those factories or equip­
ments constructed prior to its coming into force, and the provisions of article 2,
the first paragraph of article 3; articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 26, and
the first paragraph of article 29, shall not apply for two years from the coming
into operation of the regulation to those factories or equipments constructed
prior to its coming into force.
Persons desirous of receiving permission as specified in the fourth paragraph
of article 23 regarding factories established prior to the coming into operation
of this regulation, shall apply for such permission within four months after the
coming into operation of this regulation.

Appendix E.—Ordinance on Recruiting of Workers1
DECEMBER 29, 1924
A rtic le 1. “ Recruiting employer” (b o s M -s h u ) in this ordinance shall mean
the person why will be the employer of the recruited worker, and “ recruiting
agent ( boshn-jiljislia) the person who undertakes the recruiting of workers
either on account of the recruiting employer or in order to employ them on his
own account.
Art. 2. This ordinance shall apply to the recruiting of factory operatives,
miners, or navvies (dokd-fu) and other laborers, except in the following cases:

(i) When the person recruited does not need to change his residence in order
to perform the work.
( i i ) W h e n re c ru its a r e p ro cu red sim p ly b y a d v e rtis e m e n t an d th e r e c r u itin g
is conducted o n ly a t th e p la c e w h e re th e w o rk is to be p e rfo rm e d .

(iii) When the recruiting is conducted in accordance with the emigrant pro­
tection act.
Art. 3. The recruiting employer, prior to commencing the recruiting, shall
submit to the local governor having jurisdiction over the place where the
persons recruited are to perform work a particulars card ( shllgyd-annai) or the
draft contract of employment containing the following information:

(i) The name and address of the recruiting employer; in the case of a body
corporate, its title, the address of its headquarters and the name of its repre­
(ii) The name and address of the place where the persons recruited are to
perform work.
(iii) In the case of an undertaking of short duration, the date of the
commencement and termination of the work.
(iv) The kind of work to be performed by the persons recruited.
(v) Particulars of working hours, rest periods, holidays, and night work.
(vi) Particulars of wages.
(vii) Particulars of sleeping quarters, boarding expenses, traveling expenses,
(viii) Particulars of penalties (if any).
(ix) Particulars of the period of engagement and notice to leave.
(x) Particulars of compensation and relief in case of accident, sickness, or
If the recruiting employer has, in addition to the particulars card or draft
contract of employment mentioned in the preceding paragraph, any other docu­
ment for distribution in connection with the recruiting, it shall be submitted,
and the provsions of the preceding paragraph shall apply, mutatis mutandis.
When any alteration is made in the particulars card or draft contract of
employment or any other document submitted in accordance with the provisions
of the two preceding paragraphs, it shall be reported without delay.
1 Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930, p.
67. See also International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1924, Jap. 3. Geneva.



A rt. 4. A person who intends to undertake the recruiting of workers shall
procure a permit from the local governor having jurisdiction over the place
where he resides; for this purpose he shall submit the following information,
together with two copies of his photograph and the signature of the recruiting
employer in addition to his own:

(i) The name and address of the recruiting employer; in the case of a body
corporate, its title, the address of its headquarters, and the name of its
(ii) The domicile, residence, name, profession or trade, and date of birth of
the recruiting agent.
(iii) Curriculum vitae of the recruiting agent.
(iv) The recruiting period.
(v) The recruiting territory.
(vi) The name and address of the place where the persons recruited are to
perform work, and the nature of the undertaking.
The recruiting period shall not be more than three years.
When a person who has received a permit in accordance with the provisions
of the first paragraph intends to’ undertake recruiting on behalf of an additional
recruiting employer, he shall apply for a permit in accordance with the pro­
visions of the first paragraph; for this purpose he shall attach to the application
an affidavit of the consent of the original recruiting employer.
Abt. 5. When the governor has granted a permit in accordance with the
provisions of the preceding article, he shall issue a recruiting agent’s license
in accordance with Form No. 1 [appended to original text].
When a recruiting agent destroys, loses, or damages his license, he shall
apply for another.
When any change occurs in the particulars entered on the recruiting agent’s
license, the recruiting agent shall apply for the correction of such particulars
without delay.
The applications mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs shall be made
to the governor by whom the permit was granted, and two’ photographs of the
recruiting agent shall be attached to the application.
Abt. 6. The recruiting agent shall show his license when requested to do so
either by the person recruited or by the applicant for engagement, or by the
guardian of such persons.
A rt. 7. In the following cases the recruiting employer shall without delay
notify the governor by whom the permit mentioned in article 4 was granted:

(i) When the recruiting employer has given up his undertaking.
(ii) When the recruiting employer has relieved his recruiting agent of the
commission for recruitjng.
A r t . 8. I n th e fo llo w in g cases th e re c r u itin g a g e n t s h a ll re tu rn h is licen se
w ith o u t d e la y to th e g o v e rn o r b y w h o m th e p e rm it w a s g r a n te d :

(i) When he has ceased to undertake recruiting.
(ii) When the recruiting period has terminated.
(iii) When his permit has been canceled.
(iv) In any of the cases mentioned in the preceding article.
When a recruiting agent dies, the person required to make the report in
virtue of article 117 of the census register act (Koseki-Hd) shall without delay
submit a report to that effect to the governor by whom the permit was granted,
attaching thereto the recruiting agent’s license.
A rt. 9. When the recruiting agent intends to commence the recruiting, he
shall report the following particulars to the police authority within whose
jurisdiction the place of recruiting is situated, attaching thereto the particulars
card, draft contract of employment, and other documents to be distributed in
connection with the recruiting, as provided in article 3:

(i) The name and address of the recruiting agent.
(ii) His place of residence during the recruiting and the address of his office
(if any).
(iii) The recruiting period within the jurisdiction of the police authority
(iv) The number of workers of each sex whom it is intended to recruit
within the jurisdiction of the police authority concerned.
(v) The assembling place of the persons recruited (if any).
If any alteration is made in any of the above items or in the documents
attached to the report in accordance with the provisions of the preceding
paragraph, it shall be reported without delay.



Art. 10. The recruiting agent shall give the particulars card, or the draft
contract of employment mentioned in article 3, to every applicant for engage­
ment, and shall courteously explain to him the import of it.
A r t . 11. The recruiting agent shall make a list of the names of the persons
recruited, in accordance with Form No. 2, and shall either carry it about during
the recruiting or keep it at his residence or office as reported in accordance
with the provisions of article 9.
A rt. 12. The recruiting agent shall not:

(i) Cede or lend his license to others, or commission others to undertake
(ii) Conceal facts, make exaggerated or false statements, or resort to illegal
measures in connection with recruiting.
(iii) Force engagement upon any person.
(iv) Commit acts which are prejudicial to morality against any woman who
is recruited or is a candidate for engagement.
(v) Entice or cause to become intoxicated any person who is recruited or is
a candidate for engagement.
(vi) Unreasonably prevent any person who is recruited from going out or
communicating with or seeing other people, or otherwise restrict the liberty of
a recruited person or maltreat him.
(vii) Unreasonably demand custody of the property of a recruited person, or
refuse to return his property after having had custody of it.
(viii) Refer a recruited person to any other employer than the recruiting
employer mentioned in the recruiting agent’s license.
(ix) Receive money or goods on any pretext whatever, as fees, recompense,
etc., from a recruited person or a person in charge of a recruited person.
(x) Conceal the whereabouts of a recruited person or make a false statement
concerning the same when questioned by any official concerned, or by the
person in charge of the said recruited person.
A rt. 13. A recruiting agent shall not recruit a minor, a person adjudged
incompentent or a quasi-incompetent person without the consent of his legal
representative, guardian or trustee, nor a wife without the consent of her
husband. Nevertheless, if such consent can not be obtained owing to unavoid­
able circumstances, this rule shall not apply when the consent of the person in
charge of the person concerned has been obtained.
Art. 14. When a recruiting agent intends to depart, taking with him the
recruited persons, he shall submit a report containing the following information
to the police authority within whose jurisdiction the recruiting place is located,
at least three days prior to his departure:
(i) The names, addresses, and dates of birth of the recruited persons.
(ii) A schedule of the journey from the time of departure to that of arrival
at the place where the work is to be performed.
If any change in the preceding particulars takes place, it shall be reported
without delay.
A rt. 15. When a recruiting agent intends to spend the night with recruited
persons elsewhere than on a train, steamer or other means of transportation,
he shall give notice in advance of the following particulars to the police author­
ity within whose jurisdiction the place of overnight sojourn is situated:
(i) The place of overnight sojourn.
(ii) The number of recruited persons of each sex.
(iii) The day and hour of arrival at and departure from the place of over­
night sojourn.
A rt. 16. In any of the following cases, when the recruited person so requests,
the necessary measures for returning him to his home shall be taken, by the
recruiting agent if the request is made before the arrival of the recruited
person at the place where work is to be performed and by the recruiting em­
ployer if it is made after his arrival:
(i) When the facts differ considerably from the entries either on the particu­
lars card or in the draft contract of employment.
(ii) When either the recruiting employer, the recruiting agent, or the super­
intendent of the place where the work is performed has maltreated or insulted
the recruited person.
(iii) When the recruited person is refused engagement after a test or a
physical examination or for the convenience of the recruiting employer.
(iv) When it has become necessary for the recruited person to return home
owing to reasons beyond his own control.



A r t . 17. A n y o ffic ia l con cern ed m a y o rd e r a re c ru itin g a g e n t t o p rod u ce h is
licen se, th e lis t o f n am es o f re c ru ite d persons, an d o th er d ocum en ts in connec­
tio n w it h th e re c ru itin g .
A rt. 18. When the governor who has granted the permit considers the re­

cruiting agent unsuitable, he may cancel the permit granted to him.

When the governor within whose jurisdiction the recruiting is taking place
considers the recruiting agent unsuitable, he may order him to cease recruiting.
A rt. 19. The recruiting employer shall make a report concerning the re­
cruiting of workers, in accordance with Form No. 3, covering the period from
January 1 to December 31, inclusive, to the local governor having jurisdic­
tion over the place where the persons recruited are to perform work, not later
than February 15 of the following year.
A r t . 20. A recruiting employer or recruiting agent shall be punished either
by detention or by a fine if he commits any of the following actions:
(i) If he enters false particulars on the particulars card or in the draft
contract of employment or other documents for distribution in connection
with recruiting which are submitted in accordance with the provisions of
article 3.
(ii) If he distributes in connection with recruiting a particulars card, draft
contract of employment or any other document which has not been submitted
in accordance with the provisions of article 3.
(iii) I f he contravenes the provisions of article 3, paragraph 3 of article 5,
or articles 7, 9-16, or 19.

(iv) If he fails to make the requisite entries in the register of recruited
persons or records false information in it.
(v) If he disobeys the order mentioned in article 17.
(vi) If he conducts recruiting during the suspension of recruiting prescribed
in paragraph 2 of article 18.
A rt. 21. A person who conducts or causes others to conduct the recruiting

of workers without procuring the permit mentioned in article 7, or beyond the
scope of the entries on the recruiting agent’s license, shall be punished by
detention or a fine.

A r t . 22. For the purposes of this ordinance, the factory manager mentioned
in article 18 of the factory act,2 or the mining agent (Kdgyo-Dairi-Nm)
mentioned in article 54 of the detailed regulations for the administration of
the mining act, shall be deemed to be the recruiting employer. Nevertheless,
this shall not apply to the entry of the particulars mentioned in paragraph
1, item 1, of article 3, paragraph 1 of article 4 and Form No. 1.
A r t . 23. If the recruiting employer is either a minor or a person adjudged
incompetent, without the same legal capacity as an adult in respect of the
conduct of the business, or if the recruiting employer is a body corporate, the
penalties provided in this ordinance shall apply to the legally appointed agent
or to the representative of the body corporate as the case may be.
A rt. 24. If a contravention of the provisions of this ordinance respecting
the recruiting employer is committed by such employer’s agent, the head of his
household, a member of his family, an inmate of his household, one of his
employees or any other person engaged in his business, the recruiting employer
shall not be exempt from the penalty on the ground that the contravention
was not committed by his order.

Supplementary provisions
A rt. 25.
A r t . 26.

This ordinance shall come into operation on March 1, 1925.

In Tokyo Prefecture, “ governor ” for the purposes of this ordinance
shall mean the inspector general of the metropolitan police.
In the case of mines and alluvial workings, “ the local governor having
jurisdiction over the place where the persons recruited are to perform work,”
as mentioned in articles 3 and 19, shall mean the chief of the mines inspection
bureau having jurisdiction over the place where the work is performed.
A rt 27. I f the place where the recruited person performs the work or the
residence of the recruiting agent is outside the territory where this ordinance
is enforceable, the reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of
articles 3 and 19 and the application for the permit mentioned in article 4 shall
be made to the local governor having the jurisdiction over the main place
of recruiting
2See ante, p. 74.



Aar. 28. Every person who, at the time when this ordinance comes into
operation, has already received a permit to conduct recruiting, in the form of
a prefectual order concerning the control of the recruiting of workers, shall be
deemed to have received the permit mentioned in article 4 of this ordinance
for a period of two months, operative only within the jurisdiction of the gov­
ernor who has given the said permit
Form No. 1: Recruiting agent’s license (art. 5).
Form No. 2: Register of persons recruited (art. 11).
Form No. 3: Recruiting employer’s report on recruiting of workers (art. 19)

Appendix F.—Departmental Regulation on Dormitories
Attached to Factories1
A r t i c l e 1. This regulation shall apply to dormitories attached to factories
coming under article 1 of the factory act.
A u t . 2. Sleeping rooms shall be accommodated in a building separated from
any of the workshops specified below, in order to avoid danger to health or
public safety, provided that this requirement may be exempted by sanction of
the local governor (in the case of Tokyo Prefecture the local governor shall
always be the inspector general of the metropolitan police) in cases where
equipment for removing, preventing, or escaping from danger, is provided:
(1) Workshops where explosives, combustibles, or inflammable substances or
large quantities of ignitable substances are handled.
(2) Workshops where cupola furnaces are used.
(3) Workshops where gas, vapor, or dust is generated and is harmful to
If the local governor holds that the sleeping rooms mentioned in the preced­
ing paragraph are liable to cause danger to public safety or are detrimental to
the health of persons accommodated therein, he may order the provision of
equipment for removing, preventing or escaping from such danger, and if
necessary, the suspension of the use of the whole or part of such rooms.
A rt . 3. No sleeping rooms shall be constructed on the second or higher floors,*
except in cases where the exterior walls, floors, rooofs, staircases, and pillars of
the building are constructed of fireproof material, in conformity with the re­
quirements specified in article 1 of the departmental regulation for the enforce­
ment of the act concerning the construction of buildings in cities, or by the
sanction of the local governor in respect of dormitories existing at the time of
the coming into force of this regulation.
Art. 3 (II). In cases where 15 or more workers (workers shall always
include apprentices) are regularly accommodated on the first or higher floors,*
two or more staircases properly distributed and leading clearly to a safe place
outside of the building shall be provided on each floor, except in cases where
dormitories in which less than 50 workers are regularly accommodated on the
first or higher floors are provided with slopes finclines] or other suitable safety
equipment which have been sanctioned by the local governor.
In cases where 50 or more workers are regularly accommodated on the first or
higher floors* the staircases mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be
required to fulfill the following conditions, provided that the requirement pro­
vided in items 5 and 8 shall not apply to staircases constructed on the exterior
walls of the building:
(1) The width of a stair shall be 7 sun or more, and the rise shall be less
than 7 sun.
(2) The staircase must be placed at an angle of less than 40° from the floor.
(3) The staircase, in case it exceeds 12 shaku in height, shall be provided
with a landing for every 12 shaku or less.

1Japan. Bureau of Social Affairs. Labor Protection Laws in Japan. Tokyo, 1930, p.
56. See also International Labor Office. Legislative Series, 1923, Jap. 1. Geneva.
* Ground floor is not counted as a story.



(4) The length of the landing shall be 3.5 shaku or more.
(5) The staircase shall be boarded at its back.
(6) No’ circular turns shall be used in the stairway.
(7) Railings of a height of at least 2.7 shaku shall be provided along the
sides of the staircase.
(8) The inside width of the stair shall be at least 3.5 shaku.
(9) There shall be no obstacle lower than 5.7 shaku from each step.
The provisions mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs shall not apply
in cases where conditions do not permit of their being carried out regarding
a building erected before the coming into operation of this regulation, to which
the sanction of the local governor has been given.
Abt. 3 (III). Staircases and gangways and exits leading to staircases, which
are not habitually used, shall be suitably indicated as such and shall be kept
clear so as to’ enable persons to escape by them at any time.
Art. 4. Doors leading from the corridors of dormitories into the outer air
shall either open outwards or be sliding doors.
Dormitories shall be so arranged as to enable persons accommodated therein
to pass out easily into safety.
Art. 5. The ceilings of sleeping rooms, dining rooms, sick rooms, and other
rooms intended for the accommodation of workers, shall be at least 7 shaku in
height, except in respect of dormitories existing at the time of the coming into
operation of this regulation, and sanctioned by the local governor.
A r t . 6. Ceilings in sleeping rooms and sick rooms shall be so constructed that*
no framework of the roofs shall be uncovered, except by sanction of the local
governor in respect of dormitories in existence at the time of the coming into
operation of this regulation and the roof framework of which is uncovered
for the purpose of keeping away rats.
Art. 7. The windows of sleeping rooms or sick rooms opening on the outer air
shall be furnished at least with wooden sliding doors and paper sliding doors
or else glass sliding doors with curtains. The same shall apply to the windows
of corridors opening on the outer air in cases where no doors, paper sliding
doors, walls or any other partitions of similar nature, separating sleeping rooms
or sick rooms from corridors, are furnished.
In cases where only paper sliding doors separating sleeping rooms or sick
rooms from corridors are furnished, the windows of the corridors opening on
the outer air shall be furnished with either wooden sliding doors or glass
sliding doors.
A r t . 8. B a r th flo o rs (e x c e p tin g ston e p a v e d flo o rs and cem en t fa c e d flo o r s )
sh all n o t b e a llo w e d in d in in g ro o m s an d k itchen s.
A r t . 9. In any sleeping room an area of at least 0.75 tsubo8 (exclusive of the

area occupied by wardrobes and alcoves) shall be allowed to each person
accommodated therein, except by sanction of the local governor in the case of
temporary necessity.
A r t . 10. More than 16 persons shall not be accommodated in one sleeping
room, except by the sanction of the local governor in respect of dormitories
which are in existence at the time of the coming into operaton of this regula­
tion, and the construction of which is such as to make it unsuitable to partition
off the rooms into smaller ones.
A notice shall be posted at the entrance of the sleeping room, stating the
names of persons accommodated therein and the accommodating capacity of
the room.
Art. 11. The same sleeping room shall not be shared by two or more groups
of workers whose time of retiring differs owing to their employment on shifts,
except with the sanction of the local governor in cases where no young persons
under 16 years of age and women are accommodated.
A r t . 12. Dormitories shall be provided with the necessary bedding f o r th e
workers accommodated therein, enabling each person to have the exclusive use
o f such bedding.
At least the one end of the quilt shall be covered with a white cloth, and
sheets shall also be provided.
Bedding shall always be kept clean and shall occasionally be aired in the sun,
and the white cloth covering the ends of the quilt and the sheets shall occa­
sionally be washed.
Art. 13. Dining rooms shall be furnished with necessary benches or chairs,
except in cases where diners sit on mats to take their meals.
•1 tsubo=3,95369 square yards.



A rt . 14. Tableware used in dormitories shall always be kept clean and shall
occasionally be disinfected.
A rt . 15. No persons who are afflicted with any of the diseases mentioned in
the first paragraph of article 8 of the departmental regulation for the enforce­
ment of the factory act,4 shall be employed in dormitories.

A rt. 16. Workers accommodated in dormitories and persons employed therein
shall undergo medical examination at least twice a year.

The record of the results of the medical examination mentioned in the pre­
ceding paragraph shall be kept for three years from the time of such exami­
A rt. 17. A proper number of spittoons containing liquid shall be distributed
in dormitories.

Used spittoons shall not be emptied until their contents have been disin­
No spitting shall be allowed in dormitories except into the spittoons.
A rt. 18. No towels for public use shall be provided in dormitories.

No healthy persons shall be allowed to use a washbowl used by persons
afflicted with trachoma.
Running water for washing purposes shall be provided in dormitories.
A rt. 19. The bedding and other articles used by persons afflicted with the
diseases enumerated in items 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the first paragraph of article 8
of the departmental regulation for the enforcement of the factory act (excepting
epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis) shall not be allowed to be used by other
persons unless disinfected. The same shall apply to sleeping rooms occupied
by persons afflicted with the diseases enumerated in item 2 of the first para­
graph of the same article.
Disinfection, to be performed in compliance with the requirements provided
in the preceding paragraph and in the second paragraph of article 17 of this
regulation, shall be performed by methods prescribed in chapter 5 6 of the
departmental regulation for the enforcement of the act concerning the preven­
tion of infectious diseases, provided that a solution of carbonic acid and hydro­
chloric acid (a solution of carbonic acid prepared for use at the time of the
prevention of epidemics 5 per cent, hydrochloric acid 1 per cent, and water 94
per cent) shall be used in cases where medical substances are used for the
disinfection of spittoons.
A rt. 20. Properly constructed and furnished lavatories and washing basins
shall be provided in dormitories in sufficient number in proportion to the num­
ber of workers accommodated.

If the local governor considers that the lavatories or washing facilities
mentioned in the preceding paragraph are improper or insufficient in number,
lie may order their alteration or increase in number within a definite period
of time specified by him.

A rt. 21. I f rules have been drawn up concerning the supervision of dormi­
tories, such rules shall without delay be notified to the local governor.

The local governor may, if necessary, order the alteration of the rules men­
tioned in the preceding paragraph.
A rt. 22. This regulation and the rules concerning the supervision of dormi­
tories shall be posted up in a conspicuous place.
A rt. 23. The provisions of articles 2, 3, the first paragraph of article 4,
articles 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 16 of this regulation, shall not apply to dormitories
where less than 10 workers are regularly accommodated.

This regulation shall come into operation on July 1, 1927.
The provisions of articles 4 and 13 shall not apply for one year; the provisions
of articles 2, 7, 8, and 12 shall not apply for two years; and the provisions of
articles 6, 9, 10, and 11 shall not apply for three years, from the coming into
operation of this regulation.
The application for sanction of the local governor in accordance with articles
3 or 5 shall be made within two months from the date on which this regulation
comes into operation.
4See ante, p. 83.
8This section deals with the measures to he taken by the authorities (notices, medical
investigations) whenever they become aware of a case of epidemic disease.



Supplementary provisions to Regulation No. 86
This regulation shall come into operation on September 1, 1929.
The provisions of article 3 (II) shall not apply for two years from the
coming into operation of this regulation.

Appendix G.—Bibliography
The following are the chief books, reports, and documents (official and
unofficial) used in the preparation of this study, with indications, in a few
instances, of other source material. These are arranged in two lists: (1)
Materials available only in the Japanese language, though sometimes published
with English titles as is the case with important articles in the Kyocho-Kai
monthly (Social Reform) ; (2) materials available in English translation or
only in the English language.

Nippon Rodo Undo Hattatsu-Shi (A History of the Labor Movement in
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B o s e k i R odo F u j i n C h o s a .

See Department of Home Affairs. Bureau of Social Affairs. Central Em­
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D e p a b t m e n t of A g r ic u l t u r e a n d C o m m e r c e .

Seishi Senshoku Kojo ni Okeru Kishikusha no Genkyo (Existing Condi­
tions of Dormitories in Textile Factories). Tokyo, 1924. 152 pp.
----- Special Factory Investigation Commission, 1900.
Menshi Boseki Shokko Jijo (Condition of Cotton-Spinning Workers).
Tokyo. 1903.
------------ Kiito Shokko Jijo (Condition of Raw-Silk Workers). Tokyo, 1903.
D e p a b t m e n t of E d u c a t io n .

Genko Monbu Horei (Compilation of Educational Legislation, in force,
1927), 2 vols. Tokyo, 1927.
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Kanai-Kogyo ni Okeru Rodo Jijo (Labor Conditions in Domestic or Native
Industry). Tokyo, 1927. 244 pp.
------------ Kojo Ho-Ki (Factory Law and Regulations). Tokyo, 1926.
------------Kojo Kantoku Nenpo (Annual Report of Factory Inspection), 1927,
1928. Tokyo.
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Sangyo Fukuri Kyokai, 1929. 153 pp.
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of Social Affairs). Tokyo, 1928. 214 pp.
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Boseki Rodo Fujin Chosa (Condition of Woman Workers in Cotton Spin­
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J a p a n e s e C o t t o n S p in n in g A s s o c ia t io n .

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Friendly societies in Japanese cotton mills.
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K atsu ra, T .

Working conditions in Japanese textile industries as revealed in employ­
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522 pp.
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Japanese labor laws in force on July 1, 1926.
Social Reform (Kyocho-Kai monthly), October, 1926, pp. 233-240.
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Social Reform (Kyocho-Kai monthly), July, 1929, p. 96.
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Social reform (Kyocho-Kai monthly), May and June, 1927.
----- On revision of the factory law.
Journal of the Association of Political and Social Science, Imperial Uni­
versity of Tokyo, Tokyo, October, 1926, and February, 1927.
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cotton mills.
Social Reform (Kyocho-Kai monthly), March, 1930.
K y o c h o - K a i ( A s s o c ia t io n for H a r m o n io u s C o o p e r a t io n ) .

Shakai Seisaku Jiho (Social Reform), Tokyo and Osaka, September, 1920,
to date.
Monthly journal with English supplement.

----- Saikin no Shakai Undo (Recent Social Movements). Tokyo, 1930, 1422
pp., and appendix.
Anniversary volume. The first 10 years of Kyocho-Kai.

The Diet and social agitation at the promulgation of the Japanese factory
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1929, pp. 61-70.

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N a g a i, T .

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O h a r a S h a k a i- J ig y o K e n k y u j o

( O h a r a I n s t i t u t e f o r S o c ia l R e s e a r c h ) .

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Kojo-Ho Ron (A Treatise on Factory Legislation). Tokyo, 1917. 1152 pp.


S a n g y o F u k u r i K y o k a i ( I n d u s t r i a l W e l f a r e S o c ie t y ) .

Sangyo Fukuri, Tokyo, 1928, 1929.
Monthly journal of the society, which was established by the Bureau of Social
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Kowa (Lectures on Labor Problems). Tokyo, 1929.
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Its Constitution. How It Cares for Its Employees and Workers. Japan,
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The Industry and Trade of Japan. London, P. S. King & Son, 1926.
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