Zaibatsu(redirected from Zaibatu)
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Large family-owned conglomerates that controlled much of the economy of Japan prior to World War II.
A group of companies owned by the same family that more or less controlled the Japanese economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially between the two World Wars. Each zaibatsu consisted of a holding company, which entirely owned a bank that financed the zaibatsu's operations. These operations were carried out by subsidiary companies in different industries. For example, a zaibatsu might own a chemical company, a mining company, and a military supply company, which may, in turn, have owned their own subsidiaries for more specialized work. One zaibatsu still in existence (albeit in a much different form) is the Mitsubishi corporation. See also: Keiretsu.