About Our Founder Tokushichi Nomura | 2. Moneychanger
Respectability apart, the members of the merchant community could take pride in the knowledge that not only were they essential to the functioning of a society still based theoretically on the feudal obligations associated with land tenure and payments made in rice, but also that the landed aristocracy depended on them to handle their finances, especially their debts. Osaka at this time was the greatest center of large-scale domestic commerce and finance in Japan.
Since there was no single fixed currency, the moneychangers played a key role in all trading activities. Paper money did not exist. With gold, silver and copper coins in circulation in frequently varying amounts, the moneychangers determined their relative values according to the market.