Ninomiya Sontoku, known as Ninomiya Kinjiro, was a Japanese agriculturalist.
21 Facts About Ninomiya Sontoku
Ninomiya Sontoku lost his parents when he was a boy, but through hard work and diligence, he rebuilt his fallen family at the age of 20.
Ninomiya Sontoku was born to a poor peasant family with a name of Kinjiro in Kayama, Ashigarakami-gun, Sagami province.
Ninomiya Sontoku's father died when he was 14 and his mother died two years later.
Ninomiya Sontoku later obtained abandoned land on his own and transformed it into agricultural land, eventually restoring his household on his own at the age of 20.
Ninomiya Sontoku achieved considerable wealth as a landlord while in his 20s.
Ninomiya Sontoku was then recruited to run a small feudal district which was facing considerable financial difficulty.
Ninomiya Sontoku achieved this by reviving the local economy, particularly through agricultural development.
The daimyo, hearing of his achievement, eventually recruited Ninomiya Sontoku to run Odawara Domain then Sagami Province.
Ninomiya Sontoku proposed opening up the public granaries to feed the starving populace.
Ninomiya Sontoku was opposed by his fellow bureaucrats who reminded him that permission had to be granted by the shogun for commoners to have access to the rice stores.
In that case, Ninomiya Sontoku replied, no one, including the bureaucrats, could eat the public rice before getting the shogun's approval.
Ninomiya Sontoku was eventually entrusted with one of the shogunate's estates, which was a great honor for someone of his low origin.
The name "Ninomiya Sontoku" was given to him for his accomplishments.
Ninomiya Sontoku saw agriculture as the highest form of humanity because it was the cultivation of resources given by the Kami.
Ninomiya Sontoku emphasized the importance of compound interest which was not well understood among samurai and peasants.
Ninomiya Sontoku calculated the maturity of each interest rate for 100 years to show its significance by using the Japanese abacus.
Ninomiya Sontoku viewed agricultural village life as communal, where surpluses from one year were invested to develop further land or saved for worse years, and shared by members of the community.
Ninomiya Sontoku was aware that developed land had a lower tax base than established agricultural land, and he was adept at financial management which he applied to his estate.
Ninomiya Sontoku encouraged migrants from other estates and rewarded them if they successfully established an agricultural household.
Ninomiya Sontoku started his own financial institutions called gojoukou, which appear to be forerunners of credit unions.