《88》The Dawn of Early Modern Hakata and Hakata Merchants (Part 12)

《88》The Dawn of Early Modern Hakata and Hakata Merchants (Part 12)

《88》The Dawn of Early Modern Hakata and Hakata Merchants (Part 12).... Shimai Soshitsu and the Legacy of a wealthy merchant

 - As a political merchant who was close to Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, the rulers of the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Shimai Soshitsu ran a wide range of businesses, including finance, trade, and shipping. One of the items he left behind is the "Shimai Family Testament" of 17 articles. These letters are highly valued as extremely important historical documents that shed light on the life and consciousness of merchants in the early modern period.

 - However, when one looks at the will, one is surprised to find that it contains specific and detailed instructions for a rigorous and careful lifestyle, which one would never have imagined from Soshitsu's easygoing and openhearted way of life.

 - For example, one should be polite and courteous to others, have no religious beliefs before the age of 50, never bet on anything, and not be extravagant in any way that is inappropriate for one's status.

 - What is interesting is that he writes, "When rice is expensive, not only the servants but also the master and his wife should take the initiative to eat zosui (rice porridge)". This is the spirit of the Hakata merchants.

 *The photo shows a landscape of autumn leaves reminiscent of the twilight of life. /



 - 安土桃山時代の天下人(信長、秀吉)に近い政商として、金融、貿易、海運など幅広い事業を営んだ島井宗室が残したもののひとつに、17ヶ条の「島井家遺言状」があります。近世初頭の商人の生活と意識をさぐるために極めて重要な史料として珍重されているものです。

 - しかしこの遺言状を見ると、およそ宗室の豪放闊達な生き方からは想像もできない、厳格で慎重な生活上の注意事項が具体的かつ事細かに書き残されていることに驚きを感じます。

 - 例えば、人に対してはあくまで律儀で慇懃でなければならない。また50歳までは信仰を持つな、一切の賭けごとをしてはならない、身分不相応な贅沢はするな、といった実に細々としたことを列挙しています。

 - 面白いのは、「米が高いときは使用人だけでなく主人夫婦も率先して雑炊を食べろ」と書いていることです。これぞ博多商人の気概を見る想いがしますね。