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Shibusawa Eiichi
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    (March 16, 1840-November 11, 1931)
    Born in Chiarajima, Japan
    Founded the First Bank of Japan (1873), the Tokyo Stock Exchange (1878), the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and an estimated 500 stock companies
    Awarded titles of baron (1900) and viscount (1920)
    Known as 'the father of Japanese capitalism'
    As a member of the sonno joi ('expel the barbarians, revere the emperor') movement in his youth, he planned to set fires amid the foreign settlements in Yokohama. (The plan was never followed through.)
    He had a long-running feud with Mitsubishi founder Iwasaki Yataro.
    He was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (1926-27) for promoting Japanese-US relations without winning. (Although, given what happened to Japanese-US relations during the decade after his death, it may have been for the best.)
    He was sent as part of the Shogun's delegation to the Paris World Exposition (1867) and realized the need for Japanese industrial and economic development.
    As an official in the Ministry of Finance, he reformed the tax system and currency (1869-73).
    He insisted on running companies on strictly ethical lines: 'the harmony of morality and the economy.'
    After largely retiring from business (1916), he devoted himself to philanthropy, founding numerous hospitals and schools (including the first women's university in Japan).

Credit: C. Fishel

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