Holme, Ringer & Company

The Rise and Fall of a British Enterprise in Japan, 1868-1940

Established in the Nagasaki Foreign Settlement in 1868, Holme, Ringer & Co. led foreign business in western Japan up to the eve of the Second World War, engaging not only in the commodities trade and shipping and insurance agencies, but also trawl fishing and Norwegian-style whaling, hotel management, and the introduction of modern technologies such as waterworks, telephones, mechanised flour milling and large-scale petroleum storage. Gathering information from a wide range of sources, the author provides the first detailed description of these activities in Nagasaki and Shimonoseki while shedding light on the remarkable story of Frederick Ringer and his descendants, a British family that contributed to the development of modern Japan but ultimately found it impossible to stay.

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Brian Burke-Gaffney, Ph.D. (2007), Nagasaki Institute of Applied Science, is professor of social history at that university. He is the author of several works in both Japanese and English, including Nagasaki: The British Experience, 1854-1945, (Global Oriental, 2009).
Readers interested in modern Japan, particularly the business and social history of the former foreign settlements and the activities of British residents in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.