Trader with a firm grip on the copper coffers
Sunday 16 June 1996
Founded 400 years ago by samurai-cum-Buddhist priest Masamoto Sumitomo, it built its prosperity on copper, supplying the emperors from massive deposits on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands.
After the Allies dismantled the zaibatsu after the Second World War, powerful traders like Yasuo Hamanaka helped Sumitomo retain its grip on the copper market, in which it is now the world's biggest player.
Mr Hamanaka, known as "Mr Five Per Cent" for the amount of the market he controlled, cut a figure far removed from the mythical samurai image. Aged 48, he was the archetypal "man in a grey flannel suit", outwardly another of Japan's corporate salarymen - a journeyman albeit an immensely powerful one.
The bespectacled executive joined Sumitomo in 1970, spending his entire career in copper trading. Apart from a brief spell as a clerk at the London Metals Exchange, he has not left Tokyo.
By the end of the 1980s, he was also known simply as "The Man" for his grip on the market.
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...