Mitsui Takatoshi

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Mitsui Takatoshi (三井 高利, 1622 – May 29, 1694) was the founder of what emerged as the Mitsui zaibatsu. The second son of Mitsui Sokubei, a grocer and pawnbroker of Matsuzaka (松阪市), in Mie, he showed a remarkably precocious talent for business from an early age. He moved to Edo at 14 years of age, where he was later joined by his brothers Toshigutsu, and Shigetoshi, where he managed to rapidly multiply his capital by first opening a clothes store (gofukuya (呉服屋)), then developing a textile retail business. A fall-out with his jealous brothers forced him to return to Matsuzaka at the age of 28, where he remained for two decades. He returned to Edo on his elder brother Toshigutsu's death in 1673. He then established a gofukuya in Nihonbashi (日本橋) the following year, which was to become, later, the head company of the famous Mitsukoshi retail shopping chain. He subsequently started a money exchange, with a new system for inter-city loans, and died at the age of 73.