Arasaka is a Megacorporation founded by Sasai Arasaka in the late 1800's
The logo of Arasaka is a tree that represents the three branches of Arasaka: Arasaka Security, Arasaka Manufacturing, and Arasaka bank, although in 2077 they changed Arasaka Manufacturing for legal services for reasons I will explain later. Arasaka security is the branch that made this corporation famous, they offer all types of corporate security: bodyguards, mercenary troops, black ops troops, building security, cybernetic security, and they even have a division that offers police services. Which tend to be hired by cities and arcologies that don’t have the money or resources to revamp decaying or corruption-ridden public departments. Or when police departments don’t have the manpower and equipment to cope with local problems. Among others that serviced by Arasaka are San Diego, Philadelphia, Belfast, Yokohama, and Singapore.
Arasaka is also widely known for their manufacturing branch, on the one hand, they fabricate and distribute weapons and security equipment, which are considered high quality and are quite sought-after, and on the other hand, the company also manufactured general items and controlled heavy industry holdings. Due to the disruption of shipping after the 4th Corporate War and with this, the disruption of the distribution chain, Arasaka abandoned the production of general items and changed it for legal services. Which wasn't necesarily a bad thing. Based on general manufacturing being the specialty of the German Giant Euro Business Machines. Who don't have a strong political power in the States compared to Arasaka. but is still one of the biggest corporations in the world. So moving away from them ened up saving a lot of headaches. But they kept the weapons and security manufacturing inside the Arasaka Security division. Which along with the security and mercenary services make Arasaka the direct competitor of the American Megacorp, Militech. And in the dark future, Megacorporations love monopoly and economic supremacy more than ever, this is always the origin of all corporate wars, so it was a matter of time that they clashed and they did.
The third, and not widely visible to the public, branch of the company ― The Arasaka Bank
which was established by Saburo Arasaka, with the help of government contacts. Used as a way to exploit the Japanese economic growth of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. With this branch, when exported to other countries, proved to be a very powerful influence to get other corps or governments to do what Arasaka wanted by investing in the appropriate places. Granting the appropriate loans and, if none of it worked then blackmail, blackmail works wonders. Yes, in spite of the fact this branch is the less known it’s the most powerful and the tool of the Arasaka conglomerate to have this famous political power they enjoy. the Arasaka Bank also played a major role in the growth of Cybertechnology as back in the 90s, the Arasaka bank invested heavily on these infant industries and since then, and all the way to 2077, they’re still cutting edge in cybernetics, almost as cutting edge as the mantis blades they manufacture.
This Arasaka Bank also had a lot of influence in shaping the political life in Night City ― Arasaka was one of the Megacorporations that funded the construction of the city with Petrochem and EBM and when the architect of Night City, Richard Night, was killed by the mob and then attempted to seize control of the city. Arasaka, with the help of other corps exiled the mob and undesirables out of the main city to the Combat Zone and put a puppet mayor in power. What’s the Combat Zone? It's the poorest district of any major city on the world. In 2077, the Combat Zone of Night City is located in Pacifica. With this movement from Arasaka after the mob war ― helped by the generalized corruption, Night City was practically ruled by Arasaka, their power there was so notable that people jokingly referred to Night City as Arasakaville.
How Arasaka keep themselves on cutting edge when it comes to technology
By kidnapping the best talents of the world, although they don’t call it kidnapping, it’s “extracting”, this way it doesn’t sound like the consent of the extracted part is accessory, because usually, these extracted talents have contracts with competing corps according to which if this talent leaves the ranks of the megacorp they have the contract with to work for their competition, all the family of such talent will die in a suspicious accident, or the corp may kill their own talent to avoid the extraction. When Arasaka discovered a new ICE program was used to defend data fortresses in the net, called the Soul Killer. They thought the biggest security corporation needed to have their own version so they extracted the programmer of this ICE, a netrunner called Alt Cunningham, to create Arasaka’s Soul Killer 1.0. They extracted Alt, left his boyfriend Johnny Silverhand for dead. but he wasn’t as dead as Arasaka thought, so he tried to rescue her with the help of the solo Rogue, the nomad Santiago, and the media Thompson. Silverhand didn’t have a better idea than causing a riot in the Arasaka complex of Night City, in a very famous event in the Cyberpunk universe called the Arasaka Riot. The SoulKiller was used on Alt Cunningham and she was turned into the first human artificial intelligence of the Net, not the last, more would come, and the SoulKiller was thought to be lost because Cunningham destroyed it, but the SoulKiller wasn’t the only thing that got destroyed that day. The riot also caused damages in the Arasaka complex so the company rebuilt it to create the majestic Arasaka Towers. Two twin towers that were the jewel of the Corporate Center of Night City and that later Militech would destroy.
Arasaka kept looking for ways to recreate the SoulKiller and they kept investigating, using the stolen research from the neurochemist Dr. Albert Dreff, who was the first person who attempted to build the SoulKiller without success, and with this Arasaka created the SoulKiller 2.0. Arasaka and Militech have always been archenemies, direct competition, remember, love for monopoly and economic supremacy. While Arasaka was up to their usual practices, Two oceanic megacorporations started to battle for the remains of a third that declared bankruptcy and their battle for the remains of the wrecked company moved away from the economic plane to enter into the realm of actual warfare. Two sides of this conflict hired these competing corps, one hired Militech and the other hired Arasaka. And the quiet war between the oceanic megacorps OTEC and CINO became the 4th corporate war between Arasaka and Militech. They were supposed to work for the best interest of their clients but as they already hated each other, they sought out to destroy each other.
The 4th Corporate War was born
The war raged on, greatly growing over time. Involving all major corporations and the people who live in Space, called the Highriders. Arasaka and Militech kept fighting until the 4th became a worldwide war that was fought in the real world and in cyberspace. This cyberspace part had a lot to do with the SoulKiller. Arasaka was winning, using the last iteration of the SoulKiller to protect their positions inside the net and to obtain information on Militech’s movements, until the master of netrunners Rache Bartmoss, with the help of Alt Cunningham, found its master program and neutralized its use, so now Militech was winning.
So Arasaka killed Bartmoss and captured Alt Cunningham to force her to build the last version of the SoulKiller, because the one Arasaka was using at that point, the SoulKiller 2.5, was programmed by Arasaka but they knew they needed the true talent of Cunningham to evolve it and turn it into an artificial intelligence capable of attacking several objectives at once. But, due to the actions of Rache Bartmoss before Arasaka killed him, the Japanese conglomerate was losing the 4th Corporate War. So Kei Arasaka, the CEO of the conglomerate, retreated to the twin Arasaka towers in the corporate center of Night City. because night city is Arasakaville, and demanded protection from Militech to the Governor of North California Denise de la Vega, under the threat of using the SoulKiller on the population of Night City. And what did the governor do? Well, she showed Kei Arasaka her middle finger and authorized the President of the United States, Elisabeth Kress, to deploy the US Army around Night City. President Kress wanted to end this war. So, on one hand, she sent the United States Air Force to clean low earth orbit. Although they ended up fighting the EuroSpace Agency more than Arasaka but hey, she tried. On October 2022, Kress reactivated a clause of the USMC drafting general Donald Lundee. The Arch enemy of Saburo Arasaka, the co-founder and biggest stockholder of Militech, back into service under the direct command of the President of the United States.
So with this move, Militech had been nationalized. Which forced the President to move to the outskirts of Night City included with Militech Operatives. which I don’t know if that was a good idea, because Militech had its own agenda as all corps do. The President already counted on that it seems. And what did Militech do? Settle the war their way. This war was settled with a mini-nuke detonating in the corporate center of Night City. In the Arasaka towers to be more precise, on August 20th, 2023. This mini-nuke was detonated by Militech’s strike team, and the president knew because, apparently, Morgan Blackhand was a double agent and he informed directly to the President, so it sounds like she allowed Militech to do the heavy lifting because Kress always wanted an excuse to make Arasaka out of the states all along, so it was publicly said that what exploded at the Arasaka Towers was a denial weapon set off by Arasaka to protect its headquarters, which could’ve been true because they had such denial mini-nuke, but it wasn’t. Publicly all the Mediacorps backed the version of President Kress and this gave her the excuse to forbid any activity of Arasaka in American soil and to render all of Arasaka corporates as terrorists, not to mention seize all of Arasaka's property in the States which is a lot of properties. So Arasaka was turned into a Japan-only company as a punishment for the 4th Corporate war which doesn’t make very clear to me if that means that the government of Japan controlled Arasaka or that Arasaka controlled the government of Japan.
Into the 2030s
―Arasaka split into three factions for the 3 sons of Saburo Arasaka. Saburo had 3 sons from 2 different wives, from one he had Kei Arasaka, former president of the Arasaka conglomerate who was killed at the end of the 4th Corporate War using the last copy of the SoulKiller virus, and from the other wife he had Hanako and Yorinobu. Three factions of Arasaka are as follows: the Bakafu faction, headed by Saburo’s daughter Hanako Arasaka, the Princess faction, headed by the granddaughter of Saburo Arasaka and daughter of Kei Arasaka, Michiko, and the Rebel faction, headed by Yorinobu Arasaka. Michiko was born in the States and is a US citizen. She end up allying with the new American government. Which at that point is a functional dictatorship under the state of emergency of President Elisabeth Kress. Supporting a dictatorship is a great way to make new friends in the government, but that may not be the only power of Michiko has in Night City. Back in the day, in the crazy 20s, it was rumored Arasaka funded the booster gang Tyger Claws, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michiko is the one controlling this boostergang in 2077 because if it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and says “cuak”… most probably is a duck.