chapter  10
2 Pages

per cent, quite independent of the actual earnings,

and disregarding the accumulation of reserves. And when dividends could or were not paid out because business was bad, the con­ servative and timid capital suppliers often demanded scrapping of the enterprise, an attitude Shibusawa did not tire of chiding. Though companies, even large-scale ones, were established in

The first major attempt at creating a business community was made by Shibusawa in 1876 with the foundation of the Takuzen Kai, an association of bankers of national banks; the chief pur­ pose was to educate these inexperienced men and discuss banking policies. But the most important step came, actually, as a result of the initiative of Okuma and Inoue, these two highly economicminded government officials, who persuaded Shibusawa to es­ tablish a Western-style chamber of commerce. With some initial government subsidy, chambers of commerce were established in Tokyo and Osaka, with Shibusawa and Godai respectively as presidents and chief leaders. Topmost in the minds of Okuma and Inoue had been the idea to make the businessmen clamour for the revision of the unequal treaties. But the problems which these initial chambers of commerce faced were staggering and yet the members were few. Initially the Tokyo chamber had only fortyfour members of whom no more than five were industrialists, the others represented trade, banking (including pawnbrokers) and transport, some twenty represented joint stock companies. It is clear that the work was done, in both Tokyo and Osaka, by two or three leaders. It is interesting that in this democratic institution Iwasaki Yataro, the archetype of one-man entrepreneur, did not feel at home and soon quit. In 1882 the first form was changed and, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Trade, chambers of commerce were systematically established on regional bases, with representatives of the areas' men of finance, trade and industry, to serve as advisory organs for government policy. But the business­ men were not quite happy with this role as errand boys for the ministry's needs and decided to have a self-governing body func­ tioning for their own needs. This led then to the formation of the 1890s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, modelled after the French and German types. Members were then elected freely on the basis of the business community's needs, with certain amounts of taxable income as a condition.