Ishida Baigan (1685-1744), who sought to develop a set of business ethics for merchants, asserted “to obtain business profits fairly is the proper practice of merchant living, ” and that this was legitimate because “merchants are vassals (social servants) of the street.” Then, he stressed that the merchants ought to establish their own viewpoint about the social meaning of commercial transactions. Furthermore, asking what the true meaning of a transaction should be, he maintained that “true merchants are those who satisfy their customers as well as themselves, ” -in other words, the transactions had to benefit both parties in buying and selling. Merchants, therefore, must respect their customers' interest. Thus, Baigan said that merchants had to cultivate the mind of the people in the realm. On the other hand, the thought of Baigan is characterized as “a philosophy of frugality, ” which he developed from his experience in a merchant house. This way of living was named “shimatsu” which implied the maintenance of a ballance between beginning and end. While shimatsu means economic rationalism in business philosophy, Baigan, having conceived the idea of frugality in a higher sense, recognized it as the basis of all moral virtues, and identified it as honesty. He said that one could lead a frugal life naturally when he was honest, and that he could recover the genuine honesty which was innated to every one whenever he put frugality into practice. Behind such a thought was the idea of “mottai-nai”, a sort of national sentiment. This word implies literally the loss of appearance or manner proper to its nature, that is intolerable because it is contrary to the blessing offered by an invisible God. Then, Baigan explained, in brief, that frugality was “to abide by a law of existence.” In such a thought, frugality is nothing but rationalization itself.
The unprecedented boom of the Japanese shipbuilding industry during World War I was accompanied by a serious difficulty in procuring raw materials. The domestic iron and steel industry had not yet developed enough to supply the local demand. In addition, England and America put into effect an embargo on iron and steel in 1916 and 1917 respectively. The Japanese shipbuilding industry, favored with a great deal of orders from abroad, tried to overcome the shortage of raw materials, first by contracting with the U.S. Government for a supply of iron and steel in return for an equivalent amount of ships, constructed at Japanese shipbuilding yards. But eventually some of the shipbuilding firms, such an Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Asano, implemented a more long-ranged project for securing raw material; that is, ventures into iron and steel production themselves. In this paper the author has elucidated the procurement policy of Asano Shipyard, established by Soichiro Asano, president of the Toyo Steam-ship Navigation Co.
The Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535 is the most important document for analysing the economic conditions of the monasteries in England on the eve of their dissolution. The information contained in this material, however, does not tell us the whole story. Especially, coal-mining, which was an important activity of the monasteries in northern England during this period, is almost entirely neglected in this document. Therefore, the author has investigated the economic conditions of Durham Cathedral Priory at the time of its dissolution through its own documents, and has thrown some light on the coal-mining operations in this priory. The details of its management have been elucidated from the 14th century through the first half of the 16th century.