Open Access

Telegraph communication networks used by the Japanese pharmaceutical industry in 1901

Miscellanea Geographica's Cover Image
Miscellanea Geographica
Thematic Issue: History and space: challenges, methods, applications. Editors: Piotr Werner, Izabela Gołębiowska, Izabela Karsznia


This article examines how the communication network of the Japanese pharmaceutical industry operated around the turn of the century to create spatial interactions across the national medicine market during a period of intense industrialization.

In 1901, pharmaceutical wholesalers in Osaka compiled The Telegraph Codebook of Pharmacies in Japan to facilitate national trade in medicine, although its use was restricted to only the 177 pharmacies that joined the Pharmaceutical Telegraph Communication Alliance. This alliance had close ties with wholesalers in Osaka and comprised national-level qualified chemists. The use of this communication network by telegraph enabled the integration and progression of the Japanese pharmaceutical market in the early 20th century; however, pharmacies also began to build different and layered communication networks that corresponded to their respective business styles. Findings indicate that pharmacies used different communication networks of different spatial scales, thereby operating regional specialization and national integration networks simultaneously.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Geosciences, Geography, other