The Analects and the Arithmetic, Eiichi Shibusawa (1840-1931)

He had four faces: a noble expulsionist, a shogunate minister, a bureaucrat in the Meiji government, and a businessman. During his time as a businessman, he was involved in the establishment of about 500 companies, chambers of commerce and industry, and stock exchanges, and is therefore also known as the “father of Japanese capitalism. This book is not written by Shibusawa himself, but is a compilation of 90 items selected from his oral speeches and edited by theme.

The content of the book is that it is wrong to respect the government and the military, while at the same time despising the business world as being lowly because it deals with money. Both are noble jobs that make a country possible. There is nothing wrong with individuals pursuing their own interests and competing with each other. What is right and reasonable as indicated by the heavens (i.e., the Analects) and what corporations do in pursuit of profit (i.e., arithmetic) are in agreement. In other words, all corporate activities should contribute to the benefit of society at large.