History

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In early Meiji reformation, the nation turned their attention mostly to “shokusan kogyo” (encouragement of industries). For years, the government put their effort to support and encourage industrialization. However, many Japanese failed to keep their business running because the lack of experiences and acknowledgements. Fortunately, there were still some entrepreneurs who made a great influence in the industry, such as Shibuzawa Eiichi (1840-1931) - president of many companies, Iwasaki Yataro (1834-85) - Mitusbishi’s founder, and Nakamigawa Hikojiro – Mitsui’s president (1854-1901). Although there are myths about how they got such a remarkable success in their business, through the documents in Lu’s book, one can learn more about these men and how they run their business. The author of the first document “Reasons for becoming a Businessman” is Shibuzawa Eichii, whose parents are farmers. Apart from his background, Shibuzawa was highly educated than other farmer’s kids as he learned writing and reading from his parents. As he grew up, he adopted Confucian ideas and implement them to his business’s management. This was shown clearly in Lu’s document, which comes from Shibuzawa autobiography. According to Shibuzawa, there was no one actually interested in business, but government issues. It was sadder when government services were the first choice for many people when they looked for job. Shibuzawa thought this might be what remains from the feudal Tokugawa era, when everything was ruled by status, and merchant was regarded as the lowest class in the social system. Adopting Confucius “social harmony” ideology, in which encourage everyone to accept his or her social roles so he or she will be more responsible and righteous on what he or she is doing, Shibuzawa strongly believed that “a rigid class structure should be tolerated”. He recommended the government to put right man for the right job, and give entrepreneurs the social standing that they deserve. However,...
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