Samurai-Archives

Mitsui Hachiroemon

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Wooden store sign for the Echigo-ya, run by the successive heads of the Mitsui family. Replica on display at National Museum of Japanese History
A view of one of the rooms in the home of the 11th Mitsui Hachirôemon, now located at the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum
  • Japanese: 三井八郎右衛門 (Mitsui Hachirouemon)

Mitsui Hachirôemon was a name passed down between heads of the Edo period currency exchange & dry goods wholesaling business Echigo-ya, which later developed into the Mitsui zaibatsu corporation. The Echigo-ya was also an official purveyor (goyô shônin) to the shogunate.

Heads of the business came from eleven different households, who shared property/ownership between them, with each company head taking on the name Mitsui Hachirôemon in turn. They included:

  • Takahira, second head of the Kita family, credited with establishing the family codes and records of family history
  • Takatomi, first head of the Isarago family, credited with establishing the organization/policies of the shop
  • Takaharu, first head of the Shinmachi family, credited with combining the family codes and business records
  • Takafusa, third head of the Kita family, credited with compiling the chônin kôken roku
  • Takakata, second head of the Shinmachi family
  • Takami, fourth head of the Kita family
  • Takayo, third head of the Shinmachi family
  • Takanori, third head of the Isarago family
  • Takakiyo, fifth head of the Kita family
  • Takasuke, sixth head of the Kita family
  • Takaga, fifth head of the Shinmachi family
  • Takamasu, sixth head of the Shinmachi family
  • Takafuku, eighth head of the Kita family, credited with the revival of the business around the time of the Meiji Restoration
  • Takarô, ninth head of the Kita family
  • Takamune, tenth head of the Kita family, credited with establishing the business as a zaibatsu in the modern sense
  • Takakimi, eleventh head of the Kita family

A home belonging to the 11th Mitsui Hachirôemon, Mitsui Takakimi, stands today in the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Originally built in the Nishi-azabu neighborhood of Minato-ku, Tokyo, in 1952, it incorporates a guest room and dining room built on Aburanokôji in Kyoto in 1897 and then relocated to Tokyo; the storehouse attached to the house also dates to the early Meiji period - specifically, 1874. Fusuma (sliding door) paintings in the home were completed in the Meiji period by artists of the Maruyama-Shijô school.

References

  • Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum, English language brochure/pamphlet (2010), p6.
  • "Mitsui Hachirôemon," Sekai daihyakka jiten 世界大百科事典, Hitachi Solutions, 2012.
  • Plaque on-site at Mitsui Hachirôemon Residence, Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum.
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