A zaibatsu (Japanese财阀, literally " wealthy clan ," mutatis mutandis " holding company owned by the family ") is a (Japanese ) a global conglomerate. The first zaibatsu emerged after the Meiji Restoration (1868 ) and rang the industrialization in Japan. The first Zaibatsu was founded by the Mitsui family, who succeeded in their haberdashery shops and money shops in Edo, Kyoto and Osaka amassing wealth since the second half of the 17th century ( Edo period ).

The Zaibatsu no longer exist in their original form. They were smashed after the Second World War by the American occupation forces and converted into corporate groups ( keiretsu ).

They are similar to the same written chaebols in Korea.

The term was coined by its use in various cyberpunk works popular in the 1980s in the United States and referred to today every Asian conglomerate. An organization in the computer game Grand Theft Auto 2 is also called like that.

Important Zaibatsus

The Big Four


  • Asano
  • Fujita
  • Furukawa
  • Kawasaki
  • Nakajima Hikoki
  • Nomura
  • Okura
  • Shibusawa

Shinko zaibatsu / group

  • Mori Group
  • Nissan Group
  • Nichitsu Group (now Chisso )
  • NISSO Group
  • Riken Group