Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Koko (Takako) Sanpei
Koko (Takako) Sanpei (1903–78) Koko (Takako) Sanpei was born in Fukushima in 1903. She graduated from Tokyo Woman’s Christian University in 1928 and then studied in the Department of Economics at Waseda University from 1928 until 1931. In 1931, she became a researcher (an economic historian) in Takahashi Institute for Economic Research, which was run by the inﬂuential economic journalist, Kamekichi Takahashi. Sanpei left the Institute in 1939 and joined the Japan Institute of Labor Science in 1940. She did ﬁeldwork in rural villages and factories with the aim of improving working conditions. After World War II, Sanpei became a member of the Employment Security Council at the Tokyo Prefectural Labor Ofﬁce in 1948, and a member of the Minimum Wage Council at the Ministry of Labor in 1952. Sanpei not only published several scholarly books on Japanese economic history, but also a couple of enlightening books for working women to improve their social status in the male-dominated Japanese society. Sanpei published her ﬁrst book, The Historical Development of the Cotton Spinning Industry in Japan, in 1941. This was known as the ﬁrst masterpiece produced by a Japanese woman in the ﬁeld of Japanese economic history and gained a high reputation. Sanpei uncovered the fact that women were the main workforce in Japan’s cotton-spinning industry, which was the key sector in Japan’s early capitalist economy. In other words, Japanese women participated in the workforce in the process of modernization and played a large part in light industries,...
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