Dbq Mechanization of India and Japans Cotton Industry

Trevor Olds DBQ During the period of time from the 1880s to the 1930s, Japan and India both were beginning to mechanize their cotton industries. Both of these countries had similar recruitment techniques, but differed when it came to who the workers were and where they came from, and the working conditions they had in the mill. Documents 1, 2, and 6 all show the increased usage of machines in Japanese and Indian cotton factories.
The chart in Document 1 that details the production of cotton yarn and cloth in India shows how India utilized more machines to create more yarn and cloth in 1914 than in 1884. The chart shows how machine spun yarn was surpassing the amount of hand-woven yarn, as well as how the amount of machine-made cloth is quickly catching the amount of hand-woven cloth, which shows the mechanization of India’s cotton industry. This document is reliable because it is data collected from British colonial officials who would have no benefit of altering the data in any way.
The Indian economist Radhakamal Mukerjee who wrote “The Foundation of Indian Economics” (1916) in Document 6 talks of how handloom cloth weavers cannot compete with the machines in the factories and are rapidly declining. This shows India’s step towards a more mechanized cloth industry. The document is not completely reliable because as an economist, the author may have overemphasized the decline of India’s handloom weavers to show economic growth. Comparable to India’s increased production of machine spun yarn is Japan’s outlined by the chart in document 2.

Japan’s incredulous increase in machine spun yarn from five million pounds in 1884 to 666 in 1914 dwarfs India’s growth that was 151 million pounds in 1884 to only 652 in 1914. Document two may not be completely reliable because the data may have been altered to make Japan’s Industry is improving just a bit faster than India’s. Though Japan and India were similar in their implementation of machines in the cotton industry, Documents 7, 8, and 10 show that the workers in these factories are different.
Documents 8 and 10 are pictures of an Indian and a Japanese textile mill. The photo of a Japanese cotton mill in document 8 is not reliable because it is from an official company history, that means that the company could only be showing the nicer part of the factory where the labor environment is not that bad. The same goes for the picture of an Indian textile mill in document 10. Moving on the Indian textile mill in Document 10 shows all male workers, indicating that many more men worked in Indian textile mills than women did.
However, in contrast to India, the Japanese mill in Document 8 shows quite a few women with several men here and there, which indicates that Japan was different from India and had more women workers than men. The comparative chart of female workers in Japan and India in Document 7 shows that less than a quarter of Indian textile laborers were female and that over three-fourths were women in Japan, which is directly opposite in Japan and India.
The chart also shows how the percentage of female workers goes down while the equivalent Japanese percentage rises slightly. This shows the difference of workers between Indian and Japanese textile mills. Document 7 is not very reliable though considering the chart was taken from a dissertation of which we have no knowledge of the author. Document 4 is a written source pertaining to the high percentage of female workers in Japanese mills. This document explains the reason for the increased number of women working in textile factories.
The reason is that since the farmers are so poor the money made by their daughters is often more than the farmer’s annual income and that they virtually provide for the family. Of course, since the document is written by a Buddhist priest the document is not completely reliable, his idea would be that these girls in the factories are the families’ salvation, so he pays no attention to the negative aspects of the girls leaving home because Buddhism places individual meditation and salvation over family bonds.
A useful document would be a journal entry by one of these girls talking about how they felt about being sent away to work in the textile mills and how her absence would affect the family. Even though the people that worked for the mills were of different nationalities, the systems that textile mills used in India and Japan were similar. Documents 4, 5, and 9 talk about how workers were taken from peasant families. Document 5 talks about how the “cheap” workers came from rural farming communities.
In Japan, the person who leaves their family is no longer a financial load for the family, which explains why families sent workers to the mills. Document 4 basically explains the same ideas, but adds the factor of extra income that can come from the workers in Japan that supports the family. Document 9 states that the Indian mills also sent people from rural farming communities. Most of the workers are peasants from agricultural villages and earn low wages, resembling the systems of the Japanese mills.
Documents 3 and 9 show one of the most important differences between the countries: their respective working conditions. The story of the Japanese mill worker in Document 3 talks of long working hours, no heat, and little food. There are also low wages, with the possibility of no pay for the first year. When the high amount of sick people at the factory who no one will go near is added, we learn that the working conditions in the Japanese mills were terrible.
This document also shows the truth because it is a personal recollection from a female worker in one of the mills. People also had to sleep together at the factory. This last fact by itself is directly contrasted by document 9 because the huts Indian workers lived in when working in the factories. Indian workers lived in their own hut and only worked at one factory for two years, as opposed to the Japanese worker who is only likely to get paid starting their second year. This shows that the Indian workers had better living conditions than the Japanese workers.
Since the Indian document is written by a commissioner and not a worker, the author could have altered the information that was presented affecting the reliability of the document because of his bias. Two extra documents that would be helpful would be an account from an Indian worker and a report from a Japanese official to provide an all-around comparison of the countries. In conclusion, the mechanization of the textile industry saw a great rise from 1880 to the 1930s in both Japan and India, who both found the majority of their workers from farming peasants to work in the mills.
Japan used mainly female workers with worse working conditions than Indian workers, who were mostly male. An additional document would be a comparison of machines used in India over this time compared to those used in Japan to determine the importance of mechanization in the textile industry of the two countries comparatively to properly examine the similarities and differences of the mechanization of the cotton industry in Japan and India.

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