Episode 442 – The Transistor Salesman

This week, we’re kicking off a short series on the transformations of 1960s Japan with a look at the unassuming politician who helped shape Japan’s postwar structure: Ikeda Hayato. Who was Ikeda, and how did he get into politics? And how did a man who was once accused of being a callous monster become a beloved everyman of the people?


Kapur, Nick. Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise After Anpo

Green, Michael J. Line of Advantage: Japan’s Grand Strategy in the Era of Abe Shinzo.

Watanabe, Hiroaki Richard. The Japanese Economy.

The New York Times obituary of Ikeda after his death in August, 1965.


Ikeda Hayato as Finance Minister meeting Joseph Dodge in 1949.
Ikeda Hayato in 1952. Note the wire rim glasses.
Ikeda Hayato in 1962. Note the plastic glasses instead of wire rims.
Ikeda Hayato and his wife Mitsue in 1962.
Ikeda Hayato at the White House in June, 1961. Edwin Reischauer is also present; he’s third from right, standing. From the Japan Society.
It’s not a clear angle, but this is Ikeda on JFK’s presidential yacht, the Honey Fitz. The two had a series of close meetings on the yacht. From the Japan Society.

1 thought on “Episode 442 – The Transistor Salesman”

  1. His wife is a bit… unsightly. I can see why he threw all those geisha parties.
    Man, the Japanese press is brutal.

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