Kyodo Unyu Kaisha (共同運輸会社)

Kyodo Unyu Kaisha (literary, a joint transportation company) was established in July 1882, with the merger of three transportation companies, Tokyo Fuhansen Kaisha, Hokkaido Unyu Kaisha and Echu Fuhansen Kaisha, and also with the investment from anti-Mitsubishi Zaibatsu powers such as Mitsui-zaibatsu.

At that time, Mitusbishi's marine transportation business 'Yubin Kisen Mitubishi Kaisha' (which was established with the merger of a government-owned marine transportation company 'Nipponkoku Yubin Jokisen Kaisha' and Mitsubishi Shokai) extended power by offering huge discounts and deprived western companies of Japan's navigation autonomy, but at the same time, they squeezed out other small-and-medium-sized shipping companies in Japan. With their monopoly position, 'Yubin Kisen Mitubishi Kaisha' was making huge profits by raising the fare.

However, Eichi SHIBUSAWA and Kaoru INOUE, who were not happy about the monopolization and tyranny of Mitsubishi, orchestrated to establish a marine transpiration company competitive with Mitusbushi, and establish Kydo Unyu Kaisha in July 1882, with the merger of three transportation companies, Tokyo Fuhansen Kaisha, Hokkaido Unyu Kaisha and Echu Fuhansen Kaisha (Echu Fuhansen Kaisha was not established as anti-Mitusbishi power but was planned by Mitusbishi). The company was highly influenced by the government: the company received the investment from the government on the premise that they will help with military transportation in case of emergency, and also Toshiyoshi ITO, a rear admeral, was assigned to be the president.

In the next year, January 1883, Kyodo Unyu started their business and Mitsubishi tried to compete with them by offering a 20 percent discount, and thus Kyodo Unyu offered a discount to compete with Mitusbishi. After that, they continued to exhaust themselves by out-discounting their comeptition for two years. The transportation time of Kyodo Unyu was shorter since they were using new British ships, however, Mitsubishi increased the speed of their ships without thinking about the cost of fuel, and thus the transportation time became competitive as well. Eventually, they started sailing at the same time to directly compete with each other, which caused accidental contacts and raised safety concerns.

The sales and shipping of both Kyodo Unyu and Mitusubishi were decimated.

The Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, Tsugumichi SAIGO, took the matter seriously and mediated the arrangement between the two companies, and the competition was once cooled down, however, eventually they started breaking the agreement. There was a concern that they would end up cutting each other's throats.

When the president of Mitusbishi, Yataro IWASAKI died in 1885, the government decided to mediate between two companies and replaced the president of Kyodo Unyu, Ito. The government merged the two companies and established Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line). The investment ratio of the new company was 60 percent and 50 percent, Kyodo and Mitusbishi. Also, Masazumi MORIOKA from Kyodo Unyu became the president of this new company, and thus the company seems to have been on the Kyodo Unyu side at the beginning, however, Mitusbishi employees gained power, causing Kyodo Unyu to disappear both notionally and substantially.

Later, the Shipping Department of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. became independent to create Mitsui Steamship Co., Ltd., which became the current Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.

[Original Japanese]