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 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Power & Gas Business Analyst/Subject Ma...
£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...