Japan’s economy is not terrible. Nor is it robust. Generally speaking, the Japanese economy has been pushing hard against the weight of deflation with little result. GDP has dropped, and so have average wages. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, through his mixture of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms, so-called Abenomics, is striving to get momentum rolling the other way, driving inflation and wages up, and getting people consuming and the economy pumping.
In the early 1960s, the economy was booming. And while inflation didn’t appear to be getting out of hand, at least according to the numbers, people like Machiko Hasegawa felt it. She wrote about it in her comic strip, Sazae-san. In the strip above, from the book, The Best of Sazae-san – The Olympic Years“, Hasegawa-san is able to reflect the average citizen’s perception that the price of everything is going up.
And in the strip below about people commuting on a bus, Hasegawa-san is showing that everybody was feeling the pinch.
And yet, it wasn’t by no means a desperate time for Japan. It was indeed a time of optimism and hope. After all, the Olympics were in Japan.