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Mitsui

Mitsui was one of the first of the zaibatsu, or family-run corporate conglomerates, of Japan.  Founded before Japan's modern era by Mitsui Takatoshi, initially as a producer of miso (bean paste), the family business expanded into pawn and kimono shops, introducing new business techniques that proved highly profitable. On 1 July 1876 the conglomerate moved into the modern world by founding Japan's first private bank.  Like the other zaibatsu, Mitsui benefited from favorable tax policies and government subsidies during the Meiji era, which were intended to promote the modernization of Japan.

During the Pacific War, Mitsui diversified into shipbuilding with its yard at Tamano. The yard specialized in construction of diesel vessels, including escort vessels of the Etorofu and Ukuru classes and landing craft depot ships of the Mayasan Maru class. The company has also been accused of involvement in the distribution of opium in north China during the war years (Hastings 2007).

References
Hastings (2007)



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