In Japan,merchants were identified by their places of origin.
The different place names implied differences in specialization, method, and other characteristics of business. Ohmi merchants, from Shiga prefecture, were well known as peddlers.
Ohmi merchants first appeared in 13century. From this time they began to trade several goods, forming trade caravan, traveling in Ohmi and the surrounding area.
In early modern times, the typical Ohmi merchants started out with a stick(tembinbo) balanced on one shoulder supporting a few bundles of goods and traveled all over the country. They handled a wide range of goods, including fabrics, cotton, or linen cloth, mosquito nets, lacquer ware, haberdashery, drugs, and cosmetics.
The branch stories of Ohmi merchants were located all over Japan, contributing to the increase in the economic and social well-being of many communities.
The later generations of Ohmi merchants became very successful in business. These successful businesses attracted other young men who dreamed to become wealthy merchants. As such, the Ohmi province produced a lot of merchants over the span of several generations.
Ohmi merchants were respected for their keen business sense, their unfailing eye for profitable opportunities, and their almost superhuman perseverance. They also devised and practiced methods of management and control that were highly rational even by modern standards.
One of Ohmi merchant’s mottos was “Sampo Yoshi” which means “business must promote the benefit of the seller, the buyer, and society as a whole”.They were, so to speak, real pioneers in the Japanese managements style and “Sampo Yoshi” is a one of the worldwide origin of CSR.