Shibusawa Eiichi, Dai Ichi Bank, and the Spirit of Japanese Capitalism, 1860-1930

John Sagers


Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931) has been called the “father of Japanese capitalism” and was associated with nearly five hundred business enterprises in his lifetime. From his main position as head of Dai Ichi Bank, Shibusawa was a strong advocate for business interests when the Japanese government was generally preoccupied with military concerns. He also consistently argued that business leaders should look to Confucian principle for moral guidance if they were to maintain the public's trust. Through an analysis of Shibusawa's public statements and his legacy in subsequent historical scholarship, particularly Dai Ichi Bank's 1957 official company history, we see that appeals for strong civilian initiative guided by both moral principle and economic rationality have long been an important theme in modern Japanese economic and business history.


Shibusawa Eiichi; Dai Ichi Bank; Japan; Capitalism; Confucianism

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Copyright (c) 2014 John Sagers

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