The Daily Manila Shimbun


Famed author Taichi Sakaiya, known for “Dankai no Sedai,” dies at 83

February 11, 2019

Tokyo--Renowned Japanese author Taichi Sakaiya, known for the creator of the words "dankai no sedai," or baby-boomer generation, died of multiple organ failure at a hospital in Tokyo on Friday. He was 83.

Sakaiya, whose real name was Kotaro Ikeguchi, also served as head of the former Economic Planning Agency (EPA), a central government agency that has been reorganized into the Cabinet Office.

Precisely figuring out political and economic trends, and actively making policy proposals, Sakaiya greatly affected Japanese society.

Born in the western city of Osaka in 1935, Sakaiya entered the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, in 1960 after graduating from the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Economics.

When he was a young MITI bureaucrat, Sakaiya played a central role in the planning of the 1970 World Expo in Osaka Prefecture, helping to demonstrate Japan's high economic growth at the time to the world.

The event was a great success, attracting some 64 million visitors.

In a past interview, Sakaiya said: "When I was young, I proposed the Osaka Expo, planned it by myself and successfully held the event. This is an important memory in my lifetime. I'm proud of it."

Sakaiya debuted as an author in 1975 with the novel "Yudan!," which depicted confusion from an oil crisis, and released many works that became bestsellers. He also wrote history novels.

In 1976, Sakaiya released "Dankai no Sedai," in which he focused on problems that the country would face in the future, such as aging of society and a fall in the number of children.

He served as director-general of the EPA between July 1998 and December 2000, working to achieve the economic revival of Japan, which was in a financial crisis at the time. He also served as information technology minister.

In January 2000, a monthly economy watcher survey started, based on instructions Sakaiya made during his tenure as EPA chief. In the survey, people working in industries sensitive to changes in economic trends, such as taxi drivers and retail clerks, are asked about their views on the economy.

In 2012, Sakaiya was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Recently, Sakaiya served as special adviser to the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments.

He also supported Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui for Osaka's bid to host the 2025 World Expo. Osaka has won the bid, and the 2025 event is set to be held on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay.

In a statement released on Sunday, Matsui expressed his grief over the death of Sakaiya. "I'm very sad and shocked," he said. Matsui said he wanted to boost the mood toward the 2025 Expo with Sakaiya. Jiji Press