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From Tokugawa To Meiji: The Economic Thought Of A Local Entrepreneur In The Early Meiji Era

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Chapter Summary

A study of the life and career of the rural entrepreneur Itō Yōzō can shed important light on the transition from the Tokugawa period to the Meiji period. This chapter examines the intersection between Yōzō's socioeconomic thought and his business activities. It sheds light on some of the intangible but important causes of economic growth early in the Meiji period. Specifically, the author argues that Yōzō blended indigenous ideas and practices with new ideas and practices imported from abroad to reconcile three realms: the individual, the household, and the broader society. To enhance our understanding of the early Meiji era, we need to examine local entrepreneurs and other economic agents who actually did the day-to-day work of managing economic enterprises. The chapter is a preliminary attempt to fill in our picture of the Meiji era from the ground up.

Keywords: economic thought; Itō Yōzō; local entrepreneurs; Meiji Era; Tokugawa period



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