History might not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

The last time Japanese stocks hit an all-time high, the yen was floating around 145 to 150 to the dollar; the Bank of Japan was working on interest rate hikes amid concern over inflation, which was nonetheless modest compared with other countries. The country’s soft power was dominant overseas; self-help and management gurus floated supposed secret Japanese life-hacks.

Many things have changed since that long-standing record for the Nikkei 225 stock average on the final trading day of 1989. That was the era of arrogance captured in "The Japan That Can Say No," the essay by conservative politician Shintaro Ishihara and Sony Group co-founder Akio Morita that advocated for an assertive nation — the period where it was seen as a trade monster that was coming for U.S. jobs. No matter how bullish foreign investors might be on Japanese stocks today, no one thinks a country that just saw its gross domestic product surpassed by Germany is on course for global dominance.