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More evidence the 1960’s and 1970’s were a golden era for Seiko is evident in its long-running 700X line - such as the 1974 Seiko 7005-7001 JDM here, with its spectacularly vibrant emerald green dial. Even more uniquely, Seiko custom designed the dial on this 7005 in celebration of legendary Japanesese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, the inspiration of the HBO series, "Tokyo Vice."


The 700X line debuted in 1969 - making this one here one of the first produced - and was made until the 1990’s, when it was replaced by Seiko’s famed 7S26 line.  The 7005-line featured Seiko’s Magic Lever winding system and allowed the automatic rotor to gather energy in a bi-directional fashion.


The conservative Tokyo-headquartered Yomiuri Shimbun (讀賣新聞/読売新聞, lit.  Reading-selling Newspaper or Selling by Reading Newspaper) – founded in 1874 – is one of the top three major newspapers in Japan.  It would become part of a Japanese zaibatsu/conglomerate that dominated Japan post-WWII and remains incredibly influential in contemporary times.  The paper is privately held and controlled, directly and indirectly, by the Shoriki family – all relatives of the legendary Shoriki Matsutaro.


Why is Shoriki so legendary?  Shoriki – the William Randolph Hearst of Japan (Hearst was one of Shoriki’s biggest Western admirers) – had been the head of Japan’s tortuous secret police, the Metropolitan Police, before he took over Yomiuri.  He quickly made waves at the paper.


Per a 2012 Economist article, “Next to lurid stories about adultery and photos of flapper-era mogas (modern girls) are advertisements for clinics treating the consequences (“Before the parties at the end of the year, you should sort out your gonorrhea”).  There were pages about hit songs from the new radio craze sweeping the country, a trend that Japanese newspapers had until then ignored…This cloak of supposed public interest, wrapped around gory sensationalism, sent the Yomiuri’s circulation soaring.  Between 1924 and 1937 it rose from 58,000 to 800,000, a feat that made the Yomiuri the biggest newspaper in Tokyo.”


However, Yomiuri’s explosive expansion was not without other growing pains and scandal, and it was engulfed in a large labor scandal in 1945 and 1946.  The scandal resulted in additional scrutiny upon Shoriki, and he was arrested by the U.S. General Douglas MacArthur-led American Occupation Authorities in December 1945 as a WWII Class A war criminal (alleging crimes against peace, brought against Japan's top leaders who had planned and directed the war) and sent to Tokyo’s Sugamo Prison.  He had been the publisher of an influential newspaper used by the Imperial Japanese Government as a propaganda channel during the war and thusly labeled as a “major war-crimes suspect.”


Shoriki was never tried, and all charges against him were dropped in 1947 after it was determined the accusations against him were mostly of an “ideological and political nature” (the Economist surmises the U.S. – during growing Cold War tensions – was growing nervous of left-wing unionism it had inadvertently nurtured) and he was released.


In 1952, and following Shoriki’s release, he took advantage of Cold War tensions and appealed to have his blacklisting lifted, under the condition he would found an anti-communist television channel – at the time, the U.S. Cold War strategy was to utilize West Germany and Japan success to showcase the benefit of democracy over communism.

Shoriki’s strategic moves would have immense repercussions on Japan for the next half century. Following President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech, advocating for the spread of nuclear energy to counter the negative stigma of nuclear weapons, Shoriki devised an ingenious plan for a Japanese “Atomic Marshall Plan” (per The Economist, it is debated if the plan was devised with or without the help of American intelligence, as some counter – as common during the Cold War – Shoriki exploited the U.S. as much as vice versa in the name of anti-communism).


The plan used nuclear energy as a tool of pro-American leverage and called for the establishment of a number of nuclear power reactors in Japan.  Per The Economist, “To cap it all, he was the “father of nuclear power,” using his Japanese Government cabinet position and media clout to transform an atom-bombed nation into one of the strongest advocates of atomic energy.”

Intriguingly, subsequent Japanese academic research into declassified U.S. documents, discovered by a professor at Tokyo-based Waseda University within the U.S.’s National Archives and Records Administration in 2006, revealed Shoriki had agreed to work with U.S. intelligence as an informant to establish a pro-U.S. nationwide commercial television network (Nippon TV) and to introduce nuclear power plants using U.S. technologies across Japan.

Fast forward to 2022, HBO's eight-episode series "Tokyo Vice," (directed by Michael Mann) features the same Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper (under the guise of a fictional Japanese newspaper, Meicho Shimbun), whose main protagonist is a new crime reporter for the paper.  Taken under the wing of a veteran detective in the vice squad, the young journalist starts to explore the dark and dangerous world of the Japanese yakuza.  The series is an adaption of "Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan," a 2009 memoir by journalist Jake Adelstein of his years spent in Tokyo as the first non-Japanese Yomiuri reporter.

This 7005 comes with its original Seiko-signed stainless-steel bracelet, nylon strap, spring bar tool, and hard plastic travel case.

1974 Seiko 7005-7001 "Yomiuri Shimbun" 100th Anniversary Watch, W/Orig. Bracelet

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  • DIAL: Vibrant emerald green Seiko-signed starburst dial with unique raised applied hour indices.  Even more unique - and rare - Seiko has re-designed this dial specially for Japanese newspaper Yomhuri.  Date function works as designed.


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 37mm x 43mm, with matching caseback.  Brushed finish is full intact, with sharp case lines.


    CRYSTAL: Domed acrylic crystal, scratch and blemish-free.


    BAND: This 7005 comes on its original Seiko-signed stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit an approx. 7.5 inch wrist; it also comes with a dark blue, green, and white nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 7005 automatic movement, beating at 21,600 bph, manufactured in October 1974. 


    CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown is mostly recessed.

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