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A Japanese business delegation being received in the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany, in 1960


Borrowing from Japanese 財界 ‎(zaikai, world of money), from ‎(zai, money; wealth) + ‎(kai, world).


  • IPA(key): /ˈzaɪkaɪ/
  • Hyphenation: zai‧kai


zaikai ‎(countable and uncountable, plural zaikais or zaikai)

  1. Collectively, the powerful and influential businesspeople and tycoons of Japan.
    • 1995, Lee Khoon Choy, Japan—Between Myth and Reality, Singapore; River Edge, N.J.: World Scientific, ISBN 978-981-02-1865-2, page 181:
      Behind the trading company and the bank are the financially interconnected companies known as zaikai, many of which descended from pre-war zaibatsu oligopolists. The modern zaikai has remained every bit as strong as its zaibatsu predecessors, achieving this result by linking companies (through interlocking directorships and equity by participation) whose operations comprehend most of the major areas of Japanese industrial activity.
    • 1996, “Dynamics of the Big Business Organisation: A Study from Japan”, in Raghubir Dayal, Peter Zachariah, and Kireet Rajpal, editors, Organisation Theory and Behaviour (Encyclopaedia of Economics, Commerce & Management; 3), New Delhi: Mittal Publications, ISBN 978-81-7099-634-7, page 111:
      In exchange for the continued support of the zaikai, which expresses the consensus of big business and acts as a large pipeline supplying the capital necessary for LDP activities, the LDP has made the utmost effort to reflect the designs of big business in its policy-making.
    • 1999, Atsuko Abe, Japan and the European Union: Domestic Politics and Transnational Relations, London; New Brunswick, N.J.: Athlone Press, ISBN 978-0-485-11556-7, page 40:
      Whereas elitist models include the big business circles, or zaikai, as one of the inseparable power elite, pluralists emphasize their relative independence of the political and administrative elite.
    • 1999, Gerald L. Curtis, The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of Change (Studies of the East Asian Institute), New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-10842-3, page 52:
      The leaders of Keidanren [Japan Business Federation] traditionally have comprised the core of the zaikai, which literally means the "financial world" but is a term used more broadly to refer to financial and business community's power elite. In Japan's popular culture, in the fifties and sixties especially, the head of Keidanren, the "prime minister of the zaikai," and other zaikai leaders had the power to make or break prime ministers and to exert a commanding influence over economic policy.

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