Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Zaibatsu

Quick Summary of Zaibatsu

A Zaibatsu is a Japanese conglomerate. They controlled much of the economy of Japan prior to World War II.

What is the dictionary definition of Zaibatsu?

Dictionary Definition

A Zaibatsu is a Japanese conglomerate.

Zaibatsu (財閥, “financial clique”) is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed control over significant parts of the Japanese economy.

They have been banned since the mid-1940s and were replaced by Keiretsu.


Full Definition of Zaibatsu

Historically, a family-controlled vertically integrated cartel of industrial and financial business that existed in Japan prior to World War 2.

In Japan in former times, a group of related companies often owned by members of the same family, with a bank at its centre in which the companies owned shares.

It differs from a keiretsu in having a bank as it’s dominant member.

Although the Zaibatsu were officially dissolved in 1946, the 3 largest ones, Mitsui, Mitsubishi and Sumito, gave rise to respective enterprise groups which retained, to a certain extent, control over economic activity and contributed to Japan’s economic growth after the war.

Examples of Zaibatsu in a sentence

Occupation reformers believed the Zaibatsu played a key role in fostering Japanese fascism and militarism.

Synonyms For Zaibatsu

company group

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Zaibatsu. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 28, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Zaibatsu. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 28, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Zaibatsu. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Zaibatsu are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 13th February, 2020 | 16 Views.