Toimaru (specialized wholesale merchant) (問丸)
"Toimaru" were organizations specialized in transport, warehousing and commission sales, which based themselves in cities by the rivers and ports where nengumai (rice paid as land tax) was unloaded.
Toimaru, which came to be organized during the Kamakura period, mainly handled nengumai brought forward by manors. It is said that the administrators of manors originally began organizing the Toimaru for reasons of expediency. They were also known as Toi.
By the late Kamakura period, Toimaru functioned not only as subordinates to the landlords who owned the ports, but also as agents which managed the transports of nengumai as to meet the demands of other manor owners who used the ports. Thus Toimaru managed to break away from the exclusive ties with port-owners and became independent agents and carriers. As a result of expansion of their business, Toimaru began handling other general goods, and by the Muromachi period, some of them had also started the wholesale business. There were also some Toimaru which monopolized the rights over the transport business in ports, and there were even some which, under the policy of the "rakuichi-rakuza" (Free Market, Free Guilds), were forced to dissolve their business and guild that had become far too powerful for the smooth and fair operations of transportation business in the ports.