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Born 1719; died 1788. State figure of feudal Japan.
Tanuma, descended from a samurai family, was an all-powerful court favorite from 1772 to 1786 and one of the first champions of mercantilism in Japan. In order to strengthen the feudal state, increase the income of the shogunate, and gain personal profit, Tanuma offered merchants monopolistic trade rights in return for high payment and permitted the formation of new enterprises and guilds. He strove to increase the role of trade and industrial taxes in the state economy and to increase income from state monopolies. His encouragement of tradesmen’s and moneylenders’ capital provoked strong opposition from conservative circles of the upper aristocracy. Tanuma was removed from power in 1786.
REFERENCESHall, M. W. Tanuma Okitsugu, 1719–1788: Forerunner of Modern Japan. Cambridge, 1955.
Goto Ichiro. Tanuma Okitsugu. Tokyo, 1971. (In Japanese.)