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Confucian Banking: The Community Granary (Shasō) In Rhetoric And Practice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows the significance of the shasō for the Tokugawa economy. It explores two Tokugawa proposals for shasō: one from Okayama, which cited Nakai Chikuzan's writings and treated the shasō primarily as a bank, and one from the famous statesman Saigō Takamori, which treated the shasō primarily as a relief granary. The ideal auditor would be an independent Confucian scholar. The writings of Zhu provided the justification for a Tokugawa financial institution, the community granary, a reserve storehouse that provided famine relief to farmers and offered commercial loans and underwrote both public and private development projects. The first shasō in Japan was founded in Aizu in 1654 at the behest of the daimyo, Hoshina Masayuki. The significance of the shasō in Japanese economic history lies in how it legitimized discussions of lending and credit within state-sponsored orthodoxy. Discussions of the shasō helped to legitimize money-lending in unexpected intellectual circles.

Keywords: Aizu; community granary; Confucian; Japan; Nakai Chikuzan; Okayama; Saigō Takamori; shasō; Tokugawa; Zhu



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