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Company Founded, Edo Branch Opened Edo Era 1674-1868

The Beginnings of Trading in Awa Indigo 1674-

MIKI & CO., LTD. traces its origins back to the year of 1674, when Takaharu Miki, the Second Yokichiro, an ancestor of the Miki family, began trading in indigo dyestuffs.

Several hundred years ago, Nagaharu Bessho, lord of Miki castle in Banshu (present-day Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture) was defeated in a battle waged against Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the great warlord who completed later the task of unifying Japan. As a result, Noriharu Miki, the only son of Bessho's uncle, and his retainers fled and took refuge in a village named Awa Matsushige Nakakirai. Noriharu was to become the first Yokichiro of the Miki family.

At that time, the land in the area located alongside the Yoshinogawa, one of two major rivers flowing through what is now Tokushima Prefecture. As there was a boat dock, the Miki family began trading in items such as fishing equipment, rice and commodity goods. Awa indigo was added later, when trade in this commodity was beginning to flourish. This was the way in which today's MIKI & CO., LTD. came to be established.

Casks for indigo

Casks for indigo

Yokichiro the Indigo Trader Established the Foundations of Prosperity 1817-

Around the time of Enzo Miki, the 7th Yokichiro, Awa indigo became a highly sought-after commodity in markets throughout Japan and the Miki family came to specialize in the business of indigo trading. The family established a branch in Edo (present-day Tokyo) to open sales channels in the Kanto region in eastern Japan.

The family also set up branches in Himeji in Banshu and Sumoto in Awaji (present-day Sumoto City, Hyogo Prefecture). In 1817, Masaharu Miki, the 8th Yokichiro, assumed control of the business and steadily improved the fortunes of the family enterprise by expanding sales channels in places such as Bushu, Soshu, Shimousa, Joshu, and Yashu in the Kanto region. The success prompted the decision to close the Himeji and Sumoto branches and concentrate on business activities in Edo.

Thus the name Yokichiro the indigo trader came to prominence throughout Japan, and the Masaharu Miki laid the foundation of today's Miki family in both name and reality.

Masaharu Miki, the 8th Yokichiro

Masaharu Miki, the 8th Yokichiro

Sowing indigo seeds

Sowing indigo seeds

Making indigo powder

Making indigo powder

Pounding indigo

Pounding indigo

MIKI & CO., LTD.'s Commercial Way: The Edo Branch Methods

The Edo branch, which was located in Honzaimoku-cho, had what were known as the Edo branch methods, codified in-house management and sales tactics. In October 1800, these methods were enacted in a formal three-part, 42-clause text, to which an appendix and rules were added. Said to have been adhered to at the Edo branch, the text stipulated the rules for all aspects of management in order to minimize mistakes, even in those stores that were in remote locations far removed from close supervision. At the same time as establishing a rotational system that would be relevant to the auditors of today, rigorous checks were made to guard against management excesses, errors, and specifically dishonesty.

Placing importance on respecting rules and regulations of this kind, passed down from generation to generation, the head of the Miki family at the time has enabled us to build up a picture from surviving records of the appended statements and amendments he made in his own hand. In June 1976, significant amendments were made to the existing company regulations, which remain imbued with an abundance of the Company's time-honored management spirit.

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