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Economic Change and Intellectual Innovation in Tokugawa Japan

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

Abstract

To understand the origins of Shibusawa Eiichi’s vision of Confucian capitalism, this chapter focuses on intellectual responses to economic change in the late Tokugawa period. Changing economic realities created new avenues of social mobility, as intellectuals adjusted ideologies to address the ambitions of the upwardly mobile among the peasant and merchant classes. Shibusawa’s experience in his family’s farming and commercial enterprises combined with his samurai-style Confucian education prepared him extraordinarily well to act as a mediator between samurai bureaucrats and commoners. Traveling to Europe in 1867, Shibusawa attributed advancements in European technology to the commercial classes’ high social status. Returning to Japan, he became committed to establishing capitalist joint-stock companies guided by a Confucian ethic of public service.

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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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