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From the 1880s to the 1930s, the textile industry in Japan employed over half of all workers, most of them in the three major branches of silk reeling, cotton spinning, and weaving. Because the branches were highly diverse-in scale, skill requirements, and technology-historians traditionally have analyzed them separately. However, the workforces of all three were drawn primarily from the same population: young, mostly rural women aged 10 to 25. Noting this commonality, Hunter argues that a consideration of the three branches of production together is long overdue: examining elements common to the different branches of textile production may, she asserts, permit the identification of gender-based factors that may have influenced the operation of the Japanese female labor market as a whole.