The Teachings of Spiritual Merchant Baigan Ishida

Business Essentials and Wisdom for Life

by Masayoshi Yamaoka


220 pages / August 2014 / 1,700 yen(w/o tax)

An influence on the well-known lecturer Kazuo Inamori.
What Ishida Baigan teachings have suddenly made their way into the spotlight?


In the Edo period, there was a “spiritual merchant” who explained the essence of management and advocated economic morality 250 years prior to Peter Drucker and 200 years before Max Weber! This was a time in Japan’s history when a rigorous class system was put into place and a merchant earning large profits wasn’t considered at all dishonorable. Ishida Baigan explained that there is a certain “morality” involved in this. His “merchant morality” teachings, which placed an immense amount of importance on “qualities everyone should possess”, including integrity, diligence, frugality, and independence, became widely known and before long spread throughout Japan. His ideology developed into a popularized, Edo-period blend of Buddhist, Shinto, and Confucian ethical teachings known as Sekimon-Shingaku.

Ishida Baigan explains “the proper way to seek profit” as one important personal philosophy, which has also been advocated by Kazuo Inamori, known for his concept of “Management Charisma”. Baigan was also the “father of Japanese-style management”, and this long-awaited publication details all of his most important teachings clearly, made especially for every merchant and manager of the modern era.

From the table of contents

Prologue There once was a “spiritual merchant” who preached the road to riches
Chapter 1 Integrity will bring fortune
Chapter 2 Diligence will bring tranquility
Chapter 3 Frugality will bring peace
Chapter 4 Independence makes the best use of your strength
Chapter 5 Live naturally and in agreement with the universe
Chapter 6 A one-hundred-year enterprise will strengthen Japan
Epilogue Let’s go back to the ways of Baigan, Japan!

From the editor

The teachings of Ishida Baigan were often adopted and lectured on by Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera and advocate for “merchant morality”. While Ishida Baigan is a name we know from history textbooks, we tend not to look any further than the picture of his statue or learn in great detail about the man. However, with a little investigating, we can find that Baigan’s teachings were appropriate for the societal conditions of his time, spanned all social ranks, and had a massive effect, expanding on deep ideologies such as human discourse and cosmology.

Becoming acquainted with Masayoshi Yamaoka, who’s been researching Ishida Baigan for 25 years, learning in great detail about the over 300-year-old teachings of Ishida Baigan, and the chance to share this great wisdom with the masses, has brought me immense gratification.


Masayoshi Yamaoka

Born in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, in 1947, Masayoshi Yamaoka graduated from Chuo University in Tokyo. Upon graduation, he worked as a business management instructor at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he had the opportunity to interact with over 10,000 business administrators. He is currently active as a management consultant, providing a new outlook on management under the motto “Management makes the best use of people. People make the best use of management.”

Along with being a representative of Partner Consultants, a specially licensed social insurance consultant, and a public health engineering manager, Masayoshi Yamaoka has been researching about the pioneer of Japanese-style business management Ishida Baigan for 25 years and is working hard to spread his “merchant morality” and Sekimon-Shingaku ideologies. Also, intrigued by the concept of the one-hundred-year enterprise (business longevity), he is conducting investigative research on the secret to dynamic business growth.