Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation/Information Resources Center


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Establishment of the Resource Center
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Establishment of the Resource Center
Proposed Resource Development
Shashi Database
Nishiki-e Database
Database of Entrepreneurs
Database of Expositions
Shibusawa Database
General Database on the History of Entrepreneurship
and more

The goal behind the establishment of the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship was to use the advanced information technology of today to realize Shibusawa Keizo’s (1896-1963) vision for a museum of Japanese business history.  First proposed in 1937, Keizo’s plan envisaged a museum of Japanese business history in commemoration of the life and achievements of his grandfather, the industrialist and philanthropist Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931).


Today, cultural institutions are shifting from their former emphasis on the “enlightenment of the masses” to an encouragement of public access and engagement. Showing great foresight, Shibusawa Keizo led the compilation of a variety of indexes of documents, artifacts, and other materials; and also created a new type of pictorial index.

The museum of business history envisioned by Shibusawa Keizo was to exhibit the trajectory of the national economy as it underwent the momentous changes of modernization, industrialization, and commercialization; as well as popular responses to these changes. Keizo’s vision for the museum stressed manufacturing traditions and focused on the encounter with foreign cultures, including the resulting acculturation and popular response, from the nineteenth century onwards. Special attention was to be paid to those who had lead the dramatic changes and helped pave the way for the new age.

Today we take up this vision for a business history museum because that history is as important to us now as it was more than sixty years ago when Keizo first proposed the museum and it will continue to be important for future generations. This background makes the Shibusawa Memorial Museum an eminently suitable site for the establishment of the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship, a facility that will improve the Museum’s ability to serve as both an information resource provider and an archive of historical documents and artifacts.

We stand at a turning point in human history.  For the sake of the survival of human civilization it is our urgent task to move away from ceaseless expansion and growth as the organizing principles of economy and society. We must move to build stable, sustainable systems of production and commerce on a global scale. At the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship, we believe that providing a wealth of resources to assist the reevaluation of economic development and manufacturing and to refocus the study of entrepreneurship on people rather than organizations or the state can provide the keys to the path to a better future.


First, the Center will develop and organize databases of the Shibusawa Museum's collections as well as documents and artifacts located elsewhere, maintaining a central information resource for research on the history of entrepreneurship in modern Japan. These databases will contain information about historical documents and other materials, the location of such materials, and research conducted on them. The databases will seek to contribute to research on, and the teaching and independent study of business history.

Second, the Center will improve and expand the Museum's collection of materials related to the transition from a pre-modern to a modern economy, the backdrop for the times in which Shibusawa Eiichi lived. New items collected will be in a variety of formats including: written and printed documents, visual and audio records, film and video images, artifacts, and others (both original and secondary sources).

This expanded and amplified collection will be made accessible through exhibitions both within the Shibusawa Museum and at other locations, and through databases and other resources made available on the Internet. In addition, the Center will actively support research, publishing, and the production of learning-promotion kits.

Along with the establishment of the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship, the Shibusawa Memorial Museum will expand the scope of its collections and refurbish its exhibits and facilities, making it a model for a new type of cultural facility that integrates the functions of a museum, archives, and library/information service provider.

October 27, 2003
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