2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 22-39
Economic thought in pre-modern Japan was different from Western rationalism in that it did have a religious basis in the aspect of self-interest. Therefore, the Japanese society had to address tensions between public and individual interests, as pre-modern Japan had yet to understand the essence of institutionalisation as a deepening of the market, which included regionalisation and commerce. This paper will discuss Nakai Chikuzan （中井竹山, 1730-1804）, who not only entrusted the adjustment of the ‘interests of the whole nation’ （「万民ノ利」） and the public good to internal social morality through giri（「義利」） but also sought public welfare and institutional recognition for the stabilisation of local societies. His emphasis on public welfare and social stability was important for the time restriction problem in relation to the maintenance of the moral and cooperative community, as well as the formation of economic rationality as an internal mechanism to address people’s interests.