anehan: Elizabeth Bennet with the text "sparkling". (Tenimyu: Koori no emperor)
[personal profile] anehan posting in [community profile] princeoftennis
I'd like to invite you to talk about the Atobes' financial situation, specifically from the manga point of view (because I can't remember much anything about the anime).

I think it is generally agreed that the Atobes are pretty rich, but how rich is that? And what is the source of their fortune? There is the Atobe Sports Gym in vol. 28 of the manga, but surely that is not all? What else do they own? Is there an Atobe keiretsu?

Atobe Keigo went to elementary school in the UK. How does that come into the picture? Was it a boarding school, or was he there with his parents?

Inquiring minds want to hear your knowledge or speculation.

Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 09:07 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
I am, in fact, currently wrestling with this, apropos of Atobe's revised-Nationals match with Krauser and what response he might have to playing a European opponent after so long (given how the manga uses the "everyone's bigger/stronger in the West" trope, and his apparent frequent losses as a kiddie).

The background that the manga, very briefly, shows and, for that matter, the bits and pieces of Atobe's home in Japan that are shown are (external logic) the European/British mega-mansion-plus-servants which is a) often deployed in manga as an easy signifier of nationality and b) about as accurate as the "everywhere in America is full of rich blond people and palm trees" that is deployed for the same reasons. Internal logic... has a hard time dealing literally with that. Literally, that degree of affluence and that magnitude of architecture suggest aristocracy, and quite possibly aristocracy that still has money. So what is an aristocrat doing marrying and moving to Japan and sending their kid to a school which, in addition to the children of high-rollers, seems to have plenty of kids of working stiffs? And raising a kid like Atobe, who shows no cultural markers of British aristocracy at all, quite the contrary for the last two centuries or so.

It doesn't help that the anime magnified the affluence into a running joke.

So it's not literal. Most of what we see is simply a marker of the Atobe family's general income bracket, not its specific circumstances or background.

Therefore, because it is not actually possible to make this any more ridiculous than canon already has, I will say that Atobe's dad is a board member of some powerful company. But not the most powerful member, because, after all, he married a foreigner he met while traveling in training as a lower executive and has a half-blood son and is clearly a bit of a maverick. He probably advocates horizontal diversification in a group that's mostly quite happy to rest on their laurels and not take risks. But he's still powerful because, I posit, he is the liaison with the company's organized crime connections, hence Sakaki. (Whose background, according to one of those silly Q&A's at the back of a tankobon, must never be asked about.) Atobe's mother (who we never see and thus must be made up from whole cloth) is, I posit, actually trained as a diplomat and was working in the embassy quarter when they met. She is the one who finesses the politics that his dad is sometimes a little too forward looking to pay enough attention to, and she's where Atobe got his focus from.

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 09:50 pm (UTC)
jetsam: (tezuka)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
In the UK, I would actually suggest that that degree of affluence/architecture actually suggests new money. Most old money people live in falling-down houses and spend most of their time pottering in (very classic, very expensive) old muddy jeans, only getting out the fancy stuff for special occasions. Most of the people with old ancestral homes are spending a fortune stopping the roof from leaking /wry/.

Obviously, there's a stereotype there, particularly from an international perspective. Would be interesting to see how that compared to Japanese old money.

(Sakaki is rather wonderful).

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 10:20 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
Very good point. Though if one parent is new money, I wonder even more what could have taken him/her away from business interests and the investment in property and display.

I am /endlessly/ entertained by the hints about Sakaki.

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 10:23 pm (UTC)
jetsam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
When you're making stupid money, why not? Particularly if it's what's expected in the circles they move in (Hyoutei does seem a showy sort of school, though maybe that's just what we've seen of them).

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 11:07 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
*waggles a hand from side to side* That depends completely on how the money is being made. If it's old enough to be all investments that someone else is hired to take care of, yes, the young people of the family could go off and do whatever. But if the family is still in any kind of active control... then it depends on how friendly or hostile the other parties involved are. A solid set of friendly relations among the controlling members could mean that a child could be spared. But if there are any hostilities, any danger to the company itself, then it would be vital to stay centrally located to stay in control and /keep/ that money, and you can bet the kids would be raised to pitch in. I doubt the marriage would be any good as a business alliance if Atobe /is/ part of a keiretsu, given how focused those have historically been on keeping business in-country.

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 11:23 pm (UTC)
jetsam: (tezuka)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
I have seen Atobe under family pressure to join the business as a fic plot on occasion, and it does make sense as a concept.

I suspect a move to Europe wouldn't be unheard of in relatively early careers - there's a lot of Japanese conglomerates with European operations - with a return to Japan with seniority.

Do we know for sure that Atobe's mum is European or are we speculating (/is so, so rusty at fanbook facts/)? Unless she's a high flyer in an international family-owned business? There's a few of those floating around still.

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-11 11:28 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
We are totally speculating about his mom. As far as I know there is no information about her at all. But Atobe is pretty explicitly /drawn/ as half-blood. Light brown hair and blue eyes, where pretty much everyone else in the manga (that's Japanese) has dark eyes and dark or bleach-light, dye-red hair.

Could be interesting to do it the other way around, too, the daughter of a keiretsu marrying European new-money and him taking her name.

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-12 09:31 am (UTC)
jetsam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
Speculating is much more fun

Re: Mostly speculation

Date: 2012-06-12 06:16 am (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
Mostly because business has long equaled politics, in Japan and elsewhere, and Atobe-tou married a foreigner. That's... kind of a radical thing to be doing among those with clout, even today.

I speculate that the gym is one of Atobe-tou's personal endeavors to diversify. All the other companies in the group give him the side-eye over it.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-11 09:44 pm (UTC)
jetsam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
Coming at this very much from a UK perspective, I've actually written bits of Atobe in the UK. For this I took the reference in a fanbook that Atobe went to 'Kings School' or something similar. Interestingly, Kabaji appears to have gone to the same school as Atobe in the UK, though a year younger.

There are really two options in the UK for Atobe's schooling. Either he was at a boarding prep school - either as a weekly or termly boarder - or he was at the equivalent private day school. There is No Way that Atobe was at a state school (the airs would have been thumped out of him and they almost certainly do not teach Classics to primary school kids). And, while expensive, either will have been affordable for his parents.

My personal opinion is that he's a day school kid. This is partly because of Kabaji joining him (Kabaji does not strike me as from a wealthy enough family for boarding), and partly because Atobe's Japanese is so good. It's quite normal for international students at day school to go to a Japanese school one or two evenings a week, to learn kanji etc.. Atobe strikes me as too fluent and too academic to have not had this support with the written language at some point.

My personal pick was to place them at Kings College, Wimbledon (yes, that Wimbledon). This is a real school, down the road from Wimbledon tennis, which is an academic boys day school in SW London. This part of Wimbledon, asides from the obvious link, is a very nice area, with excellent links into central London, where I assume Atobe's parents (certainly his father) was working.

Atobe probably had a nanny while he was living there, maybe a cleaner who came in a couple of times a week. It is hugely unlikely that there was any staff in the house beyond that. Even the really wealthy here are unlikely to employ much more than that unless they have a huge expensive ancestral home that requires upkeep, and is likely rented out for conferences. The Atobe family would not have purchased one of these for a stay of just a few years. Aristocracy here is almost never partnered with money, because old houses are so darned expensive.

To clarify, for a very nice house in that part of Wimbledon - something like this would be very possible, and would fit the image perfectly. (It wouldn't even have to be that bit to be bloody expensive).

While in the UK, I like the idea of Atobe playing on the UK junior circuit, maybe some junior tournaments as Echizen was doing in the USA. There's very little by way of school tennis competitions for that young an age - it would all have been outside of school.

In terms of his parents, I reckon Atobe's dad is now on the board of a Japanese conglomerate, having previously been on the board of the subsidiary company through which UK or European operations were run. Atobe's mum is also probably a high-flyer. Maybe something diplomatic, maybe something financial or legal. At any rate, I don't think someone unmotivated produced Atobe... (and she's never around either, so suggests full time work).

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-12 09:27 am (UTC)
jetsam: (tezuka)
From: [personal profile] jetsam
Found a link to Kabaji's fanbook data here (Atobe here). It doesn't say much - just confirms the school. His dad's an office worker, which could mean anything, really.

Atobe's dad apparently is a Corporate Executive (Securities Corporation), so could well be something like Nomura Securities, which would fit very well with what we've been saying (no mention of his mother).

As to how they know each other - the Japanese community in London isn't huge, so the kids probably would have gone to the same Japanese classes. And if they were to move back to the UK and flexibility with timing, they'd probably do it when the boys are 11 - that is, after they finish UK primary school and 6 months before they start Japanese middle school, hence Kabaji's short time at Hyoutei elementary.

No idea how Kabaji's family are affording it. Scholarship?

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