Saturday, February 02, 2013

Sweeter Than Honey

Thanks to commenter Graham Leonard, I now have the Ur-text of the "land surrounding the Imperial Palace was worth more than the land of California" chestnut.

From The Economist of 16 July 1988:
The party's over
Land values in Tokyo are coming down

"TOKYO - The nominal value of all the land in Japan is $1,200 trillion-two and a half times that of the whole of America. For the price of Tokyo and the province of Kanagawa, you could buy America once. The land taken up by the Imperial Palace, in the centre of Tokyo, is worth one California. For the price of a square metre at the Ginza crossing, the epicentre of Tokyo's fashion and expense-account entertainment district ((¥60m or $450,000), an Englishman or an American could buy a luxury home.

Prices have been driven to these ludicrous levels by four years of frenetic speculation..." (Link)
Thanks to Mr. Leonard, my heart is at peace.

However, it is thanks to The Economist that the corners of my eyes are crinkled with joy this morning. I have not been the only one unaware of from whence the anecdote comes.

From The Economist of 11 October 2007:
Back from the grave
It has taken 16 years for commercial-property inflation in Japan to turn positive

THERE was a time when the price of the land surrounding Japan's Imperial Palace (about the size of Disneyland) was said to be worth more than the whole of California. Apocryphal, surely, but it summed up the hype during Japan's property bubble in the late 1980s. When prices plunged—by as much as 80% in two years—it took the economy more than a decade to emerge blinking out of the bomb crater. Only now is Japanese commercial property showing renewed signs of life. (Link)

I must admit, I cannot recall much of what I have posted here. I had completely forgotten, for example, having taken the time to produce this.

Still, "I am the source of my own apocrypha!" is a battle cry for a new era of cheerful forgetfulness.

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