This week, it all starts to come crumbling down. Japan is plagued by scandals that destroy public confidence at the system right as some begin to look around and say, “hey, does this all seem a bit unsustainable or is it just me?”
Kingston, Jeff. Japan in Transformation, 1945-2010.
Dubro, Alec and David Kaplan. Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld.
Ezoe Hiromasa, the head of Recruit Corporation, whose illicit money laundering via the stock market touched off the first major 1980s scandal.
Sumita Satoshi, BOJ governor 1984-89. He is often blamed for the bubble, though responsibility is not solely his.
Kanemaru Shin giving an apologetic press conference as the scale of the Sagawa Kyubin scandal becomes clear. Kanemaru would die just a few years later, but the damage to public confidence would linger.
Recruit HQ via Google maps. The company still exists today, and surprisingly has not rebranded.
Land like this is prime target for yakuza jiageya, who would try to convince the home owners to sell so that the home could be bought up and developed.
This week, we turn our attention to the 1980s. Japan and the United States find their relationship wracked by increasing tensions over political and economic relations, and turn to the solution of an agreement designed to ease the pressure of Japan’s economic growth. The result? Japan’s infamous Bubble Era!
Pempel, T.J. Regime Shift
Anchordoguy, Marie. Reprogramming Japan
Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.
The murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 was symptomatic of the level of tension (both economic and racial) in the US-Japan relationship by the 1980s.
The negotiators of the Plaza Accord. James Baker III (USA) is at center. Takeshita Noboru (Japan) is at right.
Ginza’s Yonchome in 1955.
Ginza Yonchome in the 1980s. You can see the incredible growth in just two decades and change.
Another shot of the Ginza in the 1980s. By the height of the bubble, one square meter of commercial real estate here cost $750,000.24