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Shibusawa Eiichi

Shibusawa Eiichi (Picture 1)

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Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931), a great industrialist in the Meiji and Taisho periods of Japan. He has titles such as "Father of Japanese Enterprises", "King of Japanese Finance", "Leader of Japanese Modern Economy", "Father of Japanese Capitalism", and "Father of Japanese Modern Business Industry". Shibusawa Eiichi also became the one who took "The Analects" as the first management philosophy. His book "The Analects of Confucius and Abacus" summed up his own successful experience by not only talking about the tricks of careful calculation and making money, but also the Confucian way of loyalty and forgiveness. He believes that his job is to improve the morality of businessmen through the "Analects of Confucius", so that the businessmen can understand the truth of "getting it right."

Shibusawa Eiichi had studied Sinology and sword since he was a child, but the Meiji Restoration changed his destiny. In 1867, he attended the Universal Exposition held in Paris, France as a member of the Japanese delegation, and then traveled in Europe for nearly two years. At that time, the industrial development and economic system in Europe left a deep impression on him, which laid the foundation for his future activities. After returning to China, he was hired by the Meiji New Government to serve in the Ministry of Finance, and he was promoted to Minister of Finance. He directly participated in the brewing and formulation of almost all major policies such as the reform of the currency system of the new government, the abolition of the feudal clan and the issuance of public bonds. A long trip to Europe (January 1867-November 1868) had a significant impact on Shibusawa Eiichi. Europe in the 1860s was an era when capitalist industrialization was advancing with leaps and bounds. The Universal Exposition in France naturally became a big showcase for Western economic prosperity. Displayed here are the most advanced industrial products in the world at that time, from steam locomotives, industrial lathes, textile machines to teaching and medical equipment, all of which make Seuzawa feel extremely novel and wide-open.

Shibusawa Eiichi was born in a wealthy farmer family in Saitama Prefecture. In the early years, he participated in the movement of exalting the king to fight against the barbarians. Because of his shrewdness and ability, he was reused by Tokugawa Keihi. In 1867, he visited Europe with the younger brother of the shogun, Tokugawa Keiki. When he returned home, the Tokugawa shogunate had fallen. In 1868, Shibusawa Eiichi founded Japan's first bank and trading company. In 1869, he took office in the province of Tibet and actively participated in currency and tax reforms. In 1873, he resigned due to political disagreement and served as the president of Japan's First National Bank. Ten years later, he founded the Osaka Textile Company and established his dominance in the Japanese industry. Since then, his capital has penetrated into railways, ships, fisheries, printing, steel, and gas. He retired in 1916 and devoted himself to social welfare undertakings until his death at the age of 91.

Shibusawa Eiichi has an extraordinary performance throughout his life, participating in the founding of more than 500 corporate organizations, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange. These companies spread across Japan's most important industrial sectors at the time, such as banking, insurance, mining, railways, machinery, printing, textiles, wine making, and chemicals, and many of them are still listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. More importantly, he is passionate about the introduction of Western economic systems and the innovation of corporate forms. He founded Japan's first modern bank and joint-stock company (the First National Bank), and took the lead in initiating and founding modern economic organizations. In terms of industrial thinking, he integrated the Confucian spirit from China with the economic ethics imitating Europe and the United States, laying the foundation of Japanese business thinking.

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