The 46th year of Showa, 1971, is remembered as the year of the “Nixon Shock,” when the U.S. president took unilateral action to raise the Japanese yen’s value against the dollar — from ¥360 to $1, to around ¥308 to $1. Nixon sought to reduce the swelling trade deficit by action aimed at forcing up the price of Japan’s exports.
Also that year, two institutions made their debut in Japan. In July, the McDonald’s hamburger chain opened its first outlet in Tokyo, adjacent to the Mitsukoshi department store in Ginza. And in December, the Nikkei Ryutsu Shimbun — a thrice-weekly publication covering retailing and distribution, now called the Nikkei Marketing Journal — launched its famous “Hitto Shōhin Banzuke.”