Robert Oxnam :: The
Tokugawa period was also famous for its burgeoning economic growth and for
the rapid development of cities.
Carol Gluck :: A third area in which one talks
about the importance of the Tokugawa changes, these hidden changes that are
going on even when they're not supposed to, is in the economic realm. Tremendous
commercialization. The penetration of the money economy. The urbanization
— and towns are so important to commerce — the what some scholars
now like to call "proto-industrialization," "proto-capitalism," — all
these "protos," which
is just by way of saying that there were a lot of changes that became capitalism
and industrialization, all that later, that seemed to be starting in the
Robert Oxnam :: The capital of Edo, later Tokyo,
swelled to almost a million in the eighteenth century and was quite possibly
the largest city in the world at the time. Urbanization brought the rapid
increase of a merchant class.
Carol Gluck :: There are no merchant princes
in Japanese history in the Tokugawa period, which is an interesting thought.
It would have to be something like a merchant feudal lord, or a merchant
samurai, and that kind of coupling is not possible in Japanese history. It
did not happen. What you have instead, in terms of this rise of what became
the truly wealthy and prosperous and influential merchants, is simple beginnings
and consistent prospering across the centuries.
The best example is a man who wrote in 1616:
A great peace is at hand. The shogun rules firmly
and with justice at Edo. No more shall we have to live by the sword. I
have seen that great profit can be made honorably. I shall brew sake and
soy sauce, and we shall prosper.
Carol Gluck :: And the man who wrote that,
his name was Mitsui Takatoshi [1622-1694], and he was the founder of what
became the Mitsui empire.