zaibatsu

noun zai·bat·su \ ˌzī-ˈbät-ˌsü \

Definition of zaibatsu

: a powerful financial and industrial conglomerate of Japan

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Did You Know?

Zaibatsu is a compound formed by the Japanese words zai, meaning "money" or "wealth," and batsu, meaning "clique" or "clan." The word refers to one of several large capitalist enterprises that developed in Japan after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and that expanded rapidly during World War I. Each zaibatsu was typically organized around a single family and controlled interests in multiple areas, such as mining, foreign trade, textiles, insurance, and especially banks. While zaibatsus were dissolved during the Allied occupation of Japan following World War II (around the time the word entered English), many of the individual companies that comprised them continued to be managed as they had been, and the term has survived.

Origin and Etymology of zaibatsu

Japanese zai money, wealth + batsu clique, clan


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