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A.Word.A.Day--zaibatsu

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zaibatsu (ZAI-ba-tsoo) noun, plural zaibatsu

A large family-owned Japanese commercial combine that holds controlling interests in a variety of areas. After WWII, zaibatsu dissolved into keiretsu, a loose coalition of business groups that own stakes in one another. For example, Mitsubishi, which supplies automobiles, electricity, glass, ships, aircraft, satellites, oil products, beer, etc.

[From Japanese, zai wealth + batsu clique].

"Mandai, our chairman, was one of Japan's great bankers. He had been the head of Mitsui Bank before the war and was still regarded almost as a deity by the staff. Like many others connected with the old giant financial combines, the zaibatsu, he had been purged by the Occupation authorities."

"The challenge is great; success depends only on the strength of our will," is how Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony Corporation, concludes his biographical book, "Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony." Sony truly is a translation of Akio Morita's willpower and vision. Born on Jan 26, 1921 in Nagoya, Japan, in a family of sake brewers, Morita was more interested in brewing of technology. In 1946, he co-founded a radio repair business in a bombed-out department store that was eventually to become Sony, a name synonymous with innovation and quality. He came up with the name Sony after consulting several dictionaries and creating a derivative from sonus, Latin for sound. He first considered the name Sonny but dropped it when he realized that in Japan, "the word `sonny' would be pronounced as `sohn-nee' which means to lose money." This week we remember him by picking words from his aforesaid book. -Anu

X-Bonus

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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