The House of Mitsui

The House of Mitsui

The House of Mitsui

The House of Mitsui

Excerpt

America has her sixty families; Japan has her five -- and the greatest of these is the Mitsui.

In Europe there were the Rothschilds, the Fuggers, the Siemenses who formed financial oligarchies, and in America the Vanderbilts, Astors, Morgans and du Ponts, but with all these Western families there has been an accidental continuity, their great wealth dispersed in varying degrees by international marriages. Mitsui wealth has remained Mitsui's -- and Japan's.

The main islands of Japan form a crescent inclining toward the mainland of Asia. For the most part, they are little more than one hundred miles from China, but only the culture of the Chinese ever bridged the gap in the prehistoric days of the two countries. Historians fond of comparing the similar positions of Japan and England with respect to their adjacent continents overlook the relative distances of the two countries from the mainlands. Only the Mongols have ever threatened Japan, and they were beaten off. To England came the Romans, the Angles, the Saxons, Danes and Normans, each invasion bringing new waves of thought and influence, but Japan remained homogeneous.

Isolated on their islands of great natural beauty, the people of ancient Japan contrived to feel a close relationship with the deified forces of the visible world and in the absence of written records, as well as the usual contacts from the outside world, they traced their descent from the gods that they be-

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