FIRSOVA V.S. The Formation of the Indian Entrepreneurial Community in Japan in the End of 19th – Early 20th Centuries


Varvara Sergeevna Firsova

Candidate for a Degree, Department of Ethnography of South and Southwest Asia,

Peter the Great’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), RAS;

Junior Researcher,

Library of RAS, Department of Literature on Asian and African Countries

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Universitetskaya Emb., 3, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

Abstract. The present article is based on Western, Japanese and field-work materials of the author who describes the main stages of formation of the Indian entrepreneurial diaspora in Japan in the period from the late 19th century until the beginning of the World War II. Indian entrepreneurs, being the representatives of trade and usury communities, Sindhis and Parsis in particular, started to arrive here in 1870s under British protection. Their main occupation was the export of Japanese textile which was the main export item of Japan in the mentioned period. Indians maintained the export of the textile goods, silk and cotton, in different countries all over the world through their strong entrepreneurial networks. The majority of Indian firms in Japan were Sindhis firms, and Sindhis network was especially prominent. Indian firms especially prospered in 1920-1930s, when their share of Japanese textile export constituted about 70 %. Thanks to strong ethnic loyalties, Indians in Japan could not only prosper but also successfully adapt to closed Japanese society. The article considers the pattern of settlement of Indians in Japan, and emphasizes two stages of Indian community formation in the pre-War period. The first one lasted from 1870s till 1923 year, when the community was formed basically in Yokohama. And the second stage after Great Kanto Earthquake lasted from 1923 till 1939, when it was constituted mainly in Kobe, which in present days remains the centre of Indian entrepreneurial community in Japan.

Key words: Indian diaspora, Japan, entrepreneurial diaspora, Sindhis community, ethnic entrepreneurial network.

Лицензия Creative Commons

The Formation of the Indian Entrepreneurial Community in Japan in the End of 19th – Early 20th Centuries by Firsova V.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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