Shashi Database: Shibusawa Ei'ichi Memorial Foundation Project Status and Future Prospects
The Shashi Index Database is a core project of the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship, Shibusawa Ei’ichi Memorial Foundation. It aims to make shashi, or published volumes of company history, more accessible and usable.
Shibusawa Ei’ichi (1840-1931) was one of the builders of the modern Japanese economy and society. In 1867 he went to the Paris Universal Exposition, where he observed and experienced many aspects of contemporary European culture and of the new economic and social systems. After he came back to Japan and began pushing forward to build a new society, he established and helped to organize almost 500 companies. Our Resource Center aims to create resources for research on Shibusawa Ei’ich’s activities and on the Japanese economic and social history in his era.
Shashi provide a rich and uniquely detailed overview of the company, as more than 14,000 shashi titles have been published thus far in Japan. It is, however, very difficult to access the contents of each shashi volume, because shashi is typically gray literature that is hard to locate. Whenever shashi is available, we can usually only find an index of 1% of the published volumes.
Our Shashi Index Database contains a table of contents, appendixes, chronological tables, and indexes for each volume of shashi. This database has already accumulated more than 340,000 items from 144 shashi titles. For instance, if you search this database with the keyword “Hakurankai” (exposition), you will find more than 100 items from various companies’ shashi, e.g., Oji Paper Company, Sapporo Brewery, Tokyo Gas Company, and Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Search results include the Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), the Bruxelles Universal Exposition (1958), and the National Industrial Exhibition at Ueno Park in Tokyo (1890). We have already started to extract the items from the companies that were established by Shibusawa Ei’ichi, thereafter we will expand our efforts to include other companies’ shashi.
The purpose of this paper is to present the kind of things you can find in shashi by using our Shashi Index Database. We believe that this will be a useful database for anybody doing research, not only on the Japanese economy but also on Japanese history, culture, and society.