Former Ikeda Branch of the Monopoly Bureau

Yesterday, I uploaded pop-up cards of buildings in Ikeda town (now Miyoshi city), Tokushima prefecture.
One of them is the former Ikeda Branch of the Monopoly Bureau in the photo.

In this article, I would like to write about this Ikeda Branch Office.

During the Edo period, leaf tobacco was protected and nurtured as one of the three major products of Awa, along with indigo and salt. The invention of the leaf chopping machine made mass production possible, and it was an important crop that supported the economy of mountain villages.

In 1896, a leaf tobacco monopoly law was promulgated, which came into effect in January the following year. The aim was to secure tax revenues from the monopoly of leaf tobacco to compensate for the shortfall in the national budget after the Sino-Japanese War.
In 1897, the Ikeda Leaf Tobacco Monopoly was established, with offices in Ikeda and Tsuji towns.

The law restricted the sale of leaf tobacco, but left the manufacture of chopped tobacco free, so manufacturers could receive supplies of leaf tobacco from the monopoly and manufacture and sell it as before.
As of 1902, there were 134 tobacco manufacturing plants with more than 10 employees in Tokushima Prefecture, 54 of which were located in Ikeda Town, making it the largest manufacturing area in the prefecture.

In 1903, the government raised taxes to finance the war effort, and decided to shift from a monopoly on leaf tobacco to a monopoly on its manufacture in order to raise tax revenues.
To this end, the Tobacco Monopoly Act was promulgated in April 1904 and came into force in July.

Article 1: The manufacture of tobacco is the exclusive province of the Government.
Article 2: No person may import tobacco except the Government itself or a person authorized by it.
Article 3: No person may cultivate tobacco unless he is authorized by the Government.

This law imposed penalties on cultivators and sellers, disposed of the leaf tobacco of private manufacturers, and bought up manufacturing machinery and factories.

The Ikeda Leaf Cigarette Sales Office (which had become the Ikeda Sales Branch Office in 1899) became the Ikeda Leaf Cigarette Storage Office in 1904. The following year, the Ikeda Tobacco Manufacturing Plant was established under the office.
The Ikawa, Sadamitsu and Tokushima factories also came under the jurisdiction of the Ikeda Tobacco Storage Office.

In 1909 (1909), the Ikeda leaf tobacco storage office was renamed the Ikeda Monopoly Branch Office, and in 1913, the factories within the branch office were also included in the Ikeda Senpai Branch Office in the form of a merger.

In 1914, Awa-Ikeda Station was opened, which also helped in the transportation of products.

A new factory was built in October 1920. I assume that the building on the pop-up card (hereafter referred to as the 'office’) was also built at this time, but I was unable to find out the year of completion. Perhaps it was built before the factory.

A photograph of the office building is quoted in the Ikeda Town History published in 1962.

The Ikeda Town History was published in 1962, but it contains a reprint of the Ikeda Town History (upper volume) published in 1926. This photograph is the one that appears as a frontispiece photograph in the book. If so, it was taken before 1926, in the Taisho era.

It looks as if the background has been deliberately painted, which gives an unnatural impression, but I wonder if it has been doctored in any way.
There are other photos and postcards that say they were taken in the Taisho era, so there is no doubt that the building existed in the Taisho era.

Moving on to the post-war period, in 1949 the building became the Ikeda branch of the Japan Monopoly Corporation.
There is an aerial photograph taken shortly before that, in 1947, which gives some idea of what the building looked like at the time.
From the shape of the roof, the building indicated by the arrow is probably the office.

It was not clear from the documents how long this office existed, but when I looked at the GSI’s Map and Aerial Photo Viewing Service, I found two aerial photos taken in the same year, which showed when it was demolished.

This one was taken on 9 May 1968.

This one was taken on 1 November 1968.

The building that existed in May was demolished during this period, as it was cleared in November.
This office was apparently the Ikeda sub-branch building before demolition, but the sub-branch moved to a new government building elsewhere in 1965.

In addition, the plant was subsequently rebuilt as this photo. This is an aerial photo from 1975.

The tobacco factory was closed in 1990 and tobacco production in Ikeda Town came to an end.
The factory was then used as the Shikoku JTS Denso Ikeda factory, but was closed in 2003 and the site is now a shopping centre.

“Ikeda Town History" (Ikeda Town/1962) * including 1926 version
“Ikeda Town HIstory vol. 1 “(Ikeda Town/1983).

Historical material

Posted by Sakyo K.