Tokyo Chamber of Commerce, Marunouchi, Tokyo, c. 1910.

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The west end of Marunouchi “Londontown”, across from the Imperial Palace plaza at Babasaki, Marunouchi, Tokyo, c. 1920. The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce is at right, designed by Dr. Yorinaka Tsumagi and completed in 1899. The round rotunda building at left was the first headquarters of the Meiji Life Insurance Co. Tokyo’s Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1890 by Baron Shibusawa Eiichi, considered to be Japan’s “Father of Capitalism”. Shibusawa had previously founded Japan’s first modern bank and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and was also the founder of or a substantial investor in hundreds of other companies including Sapporo Breweries, N.Y.K. Lines, Tokyu Corporation, Tokyo Gas, and the Imperial Hotel.

See also:
Kobe Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Kobe, c. 1930.
Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB), c. 1920.
“The interior of the Kyoto Commercial Museum”, Kyoto, c. 1920.

“[The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce] of business men was officially organized in the 23rd year of Meiji (1890), but in substance, there existed an institution of its kind during the Bakufu period [pre-1868]. [I]n the 5th year of Meiji (1872), at the suggestion of the government, the Tokyo Repairing Association [Tokyo Eizen kwaigi-sho] was formed and attended to the repairing of roads and bridges and held in custody public funds. It was afterwards called the Tokyo Council Hall [Tokyo kaigi-sho], which was the public organ of the people, but it was dissolved in the 9th year of Meiji (1876), and again in the following year, the necessity for the exchange of views among business men gave rise to the establishment of a chamber of commerce.

“Baron Eiichi Shibusawa and others established an association known as the Shōho kwaigi-sho (The Association of Commercial Conference), and under the presidency of Baron Shibusawa, the association made representations to the government concerning defects in our business arrangements, but in the 15th year (1882), it was closed owing to the creation of the agricultural and industrial advisory organs.

“… [I]n the 16th year of Meiji (1883), an association called the Tokyo shoko-kwai was established with Baron Shibusawa as the president and with prominent business men as members, but still the system was regarded imperfect compared with the Chambers of Commerce in other countries of the world. So, in the 23rd year of Meiji (1890), the regulations concerning the Chambers of Commerce were issued, according to which Chambers of Commerce were to be legal persons, and their organization was modeled aſter those of European countries and modified to suit the prevailing customs and manners of the people.

“In Tokyo, under the promotion of about thirty members, the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce was organized, and ever since, with various modifications, revised regulations were issued in the 35th year of Meiji (1902), and at present, there are fifty-five Chambers of Commerce throughout the country with 1,600 members.”

Japan and America: In Commemoration of the Visit of Japanese Representative Business Men to America at the Invitation of the American Chambers of Commerce on the Pacific Slope, edited by Kotaro Michizuki, Ex-M.P., August 1909

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