Document Type

International Studies and Languages


Throughout the past century, the rise and fall of the zaibatsu and the operations of their direct successors has not only shaped Japan’s economic and financial landscape but also has been instrumental in the modernization of the world economy. Many of these corporations traced their roots to Japan’s premodern era, and were directly responsible for the transformation of a nation of rice farmers into an industrial powerhouse in the years prior to World War II. Following Japan’s defeat, these monopolistic corporations were dismantled by the Keynesian economists of the Allied occupation and were reorganized into the keiretsu system, which exists in Japan to this day. The paper examines the roots of the modern Japanese economy and the zaibatsu themselves, and goes on to follow their history and impact on Japan to the present day.