This paper illustrates the changes in social values toward a more positive image of profit-seeking activities during the Edo period in Japan, through the analysis of the tale Hinpuku-ron from the book Ugetsu Monogatari by Ueda Akinari, an influential literary work first published in 1776. Akinari's thoughts and theories presented in Hinpuku-ron, including the reinterpretation of religious and philosophical concepts, were highly influenced by the social changes that took place during this period, particularly the rise of the merchant class. The discourse of the character known as the spirit of gold tries to demonstrate that money and profit should not be associated with the idea of evil. The story also attempts to justify the importance of wealth and capital accumulation for a nation's success. The views regarding the role of wealthy people in society as well as the debates on Buddhism and Confucianism depicted in Hinpuku-ron illustrate the shifting values of Edo people toward the acceptance of profit-making as a legitimate enterprise and of the merchant class as an important segment of society.

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