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- [Narrator] So besides the three leads,
there's another constant that runs through
the psychological thriller "Earthquake Bird": Japan.
Specifically Japan in the late 1980s
is a real presence throughout the film.
Sometimes it's awe-inspiring for the characters
and sometimes it's incredibly disorienting.
Which is kind of fitting,
because in the 1980s a massive bubble economy
was remaking Japan into this awesome,
extravagant, dizzying party.
A party that was about to go off the rails.
This is a taste of Japan during the bubble.
(upbeat music)
Party. That's the word that keeps coming up
when you read articles about the bubble.
And it's one reason this big party scene
made it into "Earthquake Bird."
even the macroeconomic parts of the story
feel like partygoers taking things just a bit too far.
This is a super-simplified version of what happened,
but the bubble got its start in 1985,
at a time when Japanese goods
were selling like crazy around the world.
And... America didn't like that so much.
At a trade summit that year,
the US got Japan to agree to weaken the dollar
relative to the yen so that maybe, just maybe,
American goods could sell like crazy around the world too.
But in agreeing to that, Japan risked a recession.
So they slashed interest rates to prevent the yen
from getting too strong.
And that, caused this.
(upbeat dance music)
Seemingly everyone in Japan and their uncles
suddenly rushed out for a loan
and hypercompetitive and even reckless banks
were eager to dole them out.
People bought land and then used that land to secure
further loans with which they bought stock and more land.
It was a buying frenzy, which you can all see in the charts.
The real estate and stock markets tripled in value
in just a few years.
And there are these stories that make tangible
the obscene amount of wealth in Japan during the time.
It's hard to even tell if they're true or not,
but they're still revealing in how extra they are.
To hail a cab in downtown Tokyo,
it's said that you had to wave a 10,000 yen bill in the air,
100 bucks, just to get a driver's attention.
If you dropped that same bill on the ground
in the hottest neighborhood of Ginza,
it was allegedly worth less than
the tiny patch of sidewalk it covered.
The grounds of the Imperial Palace,
which weren't ever going to be for sale,
were somehow worth more than the entire state of California.
And the land in greater Tokyo was four times more valuable
than the entire United States.
Yep, the whole country.
You can imagine it made this search
for an affordable apartment pretty difficult.
It even began to spill over as Japanese companies
bought up parts of the globe,
starting small, just a skyscraper or two,
then graduating to golf courses, movie studies,
and finally even landmarks like Rockefeller Center.
If commercials are a window into a nation's soul,
and I like to think they are,
then I submit to you that this famous
energy drink commercial shows just how triumphant
Japan felt when they belt out stuff like this:
(singing in foreign language)
(speaking in foreign language)
But what was daily life like
for those who lived in the bubble?
Well that too was often a...
(upbeat dance music)
In bubble Japan, there was apparently a lot
of time and money spent on earthly pleasures
in nightlife districts like Ginza or Shinjuku.
Which was a fairly dramatic shift for a culture
that had previously emphasized saving and community.
Food was big, and it became increasingly extravagant.
In some places, after-dinner coffee
was served sprinkled with gold dust for 500 bucks.
But drinking may have been even bigger.
This chart shows what Japanese workers
used their wages for, both at the height of the bubble
and 30 years later.
Check out the 1989 figure.
And drinking happened everywhere.
Bars, hostess clubs where the girls
sometimes got $14,000 tips,
and of course, at the ever-popular karaoke lounge
at the site of a scene or two in "Earthquake Bird."
to give you some idea of how much people were going out,
in just one of those bubble years,
Japanese businessmen charged $50 billion
in food and drink to their companies' expense accounts.
But it wasn't just business.
The Japanese were known connoisseurs
of personal luxury items as well.
And as you can see, their fashion tended to be dialed up.
This suit is objectively the greatest costume in cinema.
One big trend for women at the time
was called (speaking in foreign language), body conscious,
tight, revealing, form-fitting clothing
that often made its way to a dance floor.
And those dance floors were epic.
Like Studio 54 in the '70s, they somehow captured the times.
People on the internet still swap stories about Juliana's,
a cavernous club in Tokyo that came to symbolize the bubble
and where basically anything could happen.
But like any really wild party, there's always a crash.
The stock bubble popped first,
causing a cascade of bankruptcies everywhere.
And just one year later, people had stopped buying
those extravagances they had once lusted over.
Then bad stuff started oozing out from under the glitz.
There were tales of inequality,
corporate corruption, and Yakuza infiltration.
And yes, there was even plain old murder,
although in real life it tended to happen over real estate.
It took Japan at least a decade
to recover from its hangover,
and even in 2019, the stock market
is nowhere near its 1989 height.
Still, even with all the lows that followed,
it's hard to watch this
(upbeat dance music)
and not want to be at one of the most extravagant,
expensive, extended parties the world has ever seen.
It didn't all happen in Ginza or Shinjuku.
The bubble remade the Japanese suburbs as well.
In the late 1980s, the Japanese had
over 1,000 golf courses under construction
and - this is my favorite part -
they build a dozen giant indoor ski domes.
Teiji's dilapidated "Mad Max"-style electrical substation,
I don't know, is bizarrely not that out of place
in the context of bubble-era architecture.
True to form, it's wild and loud and extravagant.
Sort of like "Transformers"
had a building kid with a castle.


1980年代の日本にバブル経済が発生した原因とは?(How 1980s Japan Became History's Wildest Party | Earthquake Bird | Netflix)

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ayami 2019 年 11 月 20 日 に公開
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