Glossary: zaibatsu

Literally, ""wealth group."" Zaibatsu were powerful industrial or financial combines that merged during the Meiji era and were implicated in the militarist regimes of the 1930s and 1940s. They were an amalgamation of sometimes hundreds of businesses controlled by a holding company owned by a single family. The major zaibatsu were Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumimoto, and Yasuda. The zaibatsu were abolished in 1945 and 1946. After 1947, numerous companies formerly controlled by zaibatsu came together as keiretsu (enterprise groups)--conglomerates no longer controlled by a single family and whose individual member companies had greater autonomy than they had had as part of a zaibatsu.

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