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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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35. THE ARRIVISTES

IT TOOK TAKASHI ISHIHARA, once considered the boy wonder of Nissan, only forty years to become the company’s president. He had joined it in 1937, when he was a young man of twenty-five trying to crash the old-boy network of Japanese business. He was not very well connected, having come from a second-level university, and he entered what was generally regarded in those days as a second-rate company. He got the job there in the first place, he liked to tell friends, because he was not talented enough for the first-rate places, the banks and the high ministries. He advanced quickly during the war, in which he did not serve. “I was lucky,” he later said. “All the smarter young men had to go into the army, and so there was little ...

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