By John H. Sagers (auth.)
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Additional resources for Origins of Japanese Wealth and Power: Reconciling Confucianism and Capitalism, 1830–1885
The strength of Satsuma’s feudal institutions had important implications for the economic ideology that developed there. Economic expansion and development of natural resources would have to be justified by their contributions to the sovereign’s interests in maintaining order. The samurai elite, rather than commoners, would have to take the initiative in advocating policy changes if proposals were to have any chance for adoption. Reforms would be conceived as new methods for managing the realm’s resources to improve the domain state’s wealth and power both at home and relative to other domains in the Tokugawa system.
From 1635, every person was listed in a population registry. Men and women had to carry a small wooded tablet listing their names and religious affiliation. These measures were also used against the Buddhist Ikkf sect that held the authority of its teaching above temporal rulers. 22 In sum, Satsuma in the early eighteenth century was perhaps the last place we would expect to produce leaders who might embrace modern capitalism. It had a relatively large hereditary elite that jealously guarded its privileges, however meager in many cases, against upstarts from other classes.
In the spring of 1769, Kuniyama Sonshi prepared a primer entitled “The Way of the Gentleman” (kundf) on the Confucian ethics of ruling the domain. It held up not only the ancient Chinese sages, but also the Shimazu ancestors Tadayoshi and Yoshihiro as moral exemplars who had brought order to their realms. The work extolled the virtues of performing one’s duty in the Confucian five personal relationships of ruler–subject, husband–wife, father–son, older–younger brother, and friend-friend. 25 From long ago, men without learning who deserve the title of wise ruler have been few.