Introduction: Shibusawa Eiichi and the Idea of Confucian Capitalism

  • John H. Sagers
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


This chapter introduces Shibusawa Eiichi (1840–1931) and his vision of Confucian capitalism. Shibusawa, one of the most important leaders in Japan’s industrial revolution during the Meiji era, helped to launch nearly 500 business enterprises and was known for combining Confucian ethics and modern management in capitalist organizations. This chapter surveys rising global concerns about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how Chinese Confucian and Legalist philosophical traditions viewed the respective merits of moral education and legal incentives as motivations for ethical leadership. It also examines scholarly views of Confucianism as both supporting and stifling capitalist development. It concludes that Shibusawa formulated his vision of Confucian capitalism as a means to bring both Confucian ethical considerations and modern efficiency to management decisions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Sagers
    • 1
  1. 1.Linfield CollegeMcMinnvilleUSA

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