Formal Name: Oyakoba Zaibatsu
Also Known As: The Dragon, the Zaibatsu, Oyakoba, Japan
Daichi Gravimetrics – Gravitational technology
Yasuda-Mizuho Financial – Financial services
Toray-Toatsu Biochemical – Genetics engineering and medical technology
Sumitomo Cybertech – Cybernetics
Geographic Regions: Japan and some of the surrounding islands
Chief Executive Officer: Oyakoba Masaru, CEO of Oyakoba Zaibatsu
Capital City: Tokyo, Japan
Oyakoba is a land of contradictions in the modern world. It is both the most aggressive proponent of syndicratic governance and the syndicracy which most resembles a classic nation-state. The people of the regions that make up the Zaibatsu strongly identify by their Japanese culture and will readily self-identify as Japanese first and foremost. Nonetheless, this seeming sense of nationalist pride doesn’t turn into a rebuke of syndicratic government. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of people in Oyakoba support syndicracy.
The Zaibatsu is geographically the smallest syndicracy, and is also the smallest by population. Yet it has enormous power on the global stage due to the technological leadership of its most powerful corporations and the influence it wields through market forces.
It is not structured like most syndicracies either. Whereas most syndicracies have a board of directors made up of the CEOs of all the member corporations who then choose a chief executive to lead them, Oyakoba is an overarching corporation in and of itself with its own CEO. It is a traditional, top-down Japanese zaibatsu. Corporate structures are centuries old in Japan, and the four largest and most powerful corporations in modern Oyakoba are all direct descendants of the “Big Four” zaibatsu that were broken up in the 20th century, and the subsequent “Big Six” keiretsu corporations that followed.
As a result, the Zaibatsu as a whole has a strong sense of history and cultural heritage. Where in some parts of the world some effort was spent after the Scramble to wipe away nationalistic sentiment and embrace a new, over-arching transition to corporate statehood, Oyakoba embraced traditional Japanese corporatism and emphasized it. Accordingly, many Japanese citizens (and Japanese citizens is how they see themselves) prefer to “buy local” and are suspiciously xenophobic of foreign products. The Zaibatsu is a fantastic exporter but imports very little beyond agricultural products and cuisine. This has helped maintain the small syndicracy’s financial success in the merciless global marketplace.
The major corporations of modern Oyakoba have a history that goes back centuries. Some go back to ancient merchant clans from Japan’s feudal history, and their corporate logos are based on traditional clan emblems. While many modern Western corporations couldn’t weather the storm of 21st century amalgamation and conglomeration that resulted in the mega-corps of the Scramble, the keiretsu of Japan endured. They were centuries-old institutions, with their own traditions and methods of practice.
While the term samurai has come to be associated purely with the warriors of feudal Japan, the term more accurately refers to the entirety of Japan’s historical military nobility, regardless of whether or not they themselves were warriors. The modern version, or “neo-samurai” are Oyakoba’s cut-throat syndicrats who play deadly games of power. Many of them openly acknowledge the base similarities between syndicracy and aristocracy, and embrace that similarity. They realize their positions are tenuous, their lives dangerous, and take steps to ensure the security of their position and the legacy of their house.
The neo-samurai are frequent employers of freelancers, who they see as masterless “ronin” to use as they see fit. Most, however, employ their own private cadre of elite bodyguards and private armies trained in a combination of warfare and civility, because both are necessary to survive in Oyakoba.
It was Japanese scientists who proved the existence of the graviton particle, and harnessed it to produce the first anti-gravity technology. This allowed Japan, and then later the Oyakoba Zaibatsu, to dominate the field of anti-gravity technology.
But that is not the only field where the Zaibatsu is a leader. Cybernetics, computing, genetics engineering, these are areas where the Dragon fiercely competes against other corporations to stay ahead. Those who mistake the civility and ceremony of Zaibatsu observances for corporate meetings for honor and forthrightness easily make themselves targets for espionage and subterfuge.
Although sometimes sneered at in other places for being culturally backwards or overly formal, it is nonetheless true that people in other syndicracies will still buy the latest Daichi hovercar or Sumitomo cybernetic implant as soon as it becomes available because of the reputation for Oyakoba innovation.