22020 JAPANESE BUSINESS II

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					                             22020 JAPANESE BUSINESS II
INSTRUCTOR: Peter O’Brien

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Efforts to understand Japan and Japanese business have involved the use of two terms: “network
society” (used to describe relationships not only between government and business, but also
between business firms, as well as between individuals), and the “iron triangle” (referring to
relations   between     politicians,      bureaucrats,   and   professional    and    businesspeople).       Such
relationships are said to be rooted in Japanese culture and family relationships and in the history of
Japan’s economic and political development. This course examines (1) the nature and development
of networks and triangles; (2) how they operated in the past and how these operations have changed
as the result of altered Japanese economic circumstances; (3) various forms of lesser known
networks; (4) and “code words” used to describe related Japanese business practices. Only selected
issues will be covered – the course is not intended to be comprehensive, but is designed to provide
in-depth insights into the issues selected.
There are no pre-requisites.


COURSE SCHEDULE
The course covers the following topics:
 1. Introduction to the course and to relevant concepts about Japanese social, business and other networks
 2. The Iron Triangle and the Empty Center – links between politicians, bureaucrats, big business, lawyers,
    farmers, medical practitioners, and other societal elements (Reading: J Kondo, The iron triangle of Japan’s
    health care; G McCormack, Breaking Japan’s iron triangle.”)
 3. The Iron Triangle and the Empty Center continued – the importance of keibatsu, kone, kane, tsukiai,
    jinmyaku and kinmyaku.
 4. The Iron Triangle and “The Order of Things” – Japanese social and educational networks, e.g., the Todai
    connection, sempai-kohai, oyabun-kobun, gakubatsu and Keio University’s shachu (or “fellows”), and the
    importance of membership in the right university clubs and associations (bunkakei and taiikukei) as
    examples.
 5. The Iron Triangle continued – forms of amakudari, their effects and recent legal changes (Reading: WW
    Grimes, “Review Essay: Reassessing Amakudari: What do we know and how do we know it?” H Nakata,
    “‘Amakudari’ crackdown called toothless, poll ploy.”)
 6. The Iron Triangle continued – the Japanese “Construction State” and the institutionalization of kansei dango
    (Reading: J Broadbent, “Comment: The institutional roots of the Japanese construction state; T. Feldhoff,
    “Japan’s Construction Lobby Activities – Systemic Stability and Sustainable Regional Development;” T
    Logan, “A Dango Dictionary.”)
 7. The “Dark Side” of Japanese networks – corruption 2007 (Reading. AD Castberg, “Corruption in Japan and
    the US”; T Hasegawa, “Investigation of corruption in Japan.”)
 8. Japanese corporate networks – the keiretsu, their characteristics, and the three main forms (Reading: Y Miwa
    and JM Ramseyer, “The Fable of the Keiretsu and Other Tales of Japan We Wish Were True.”)
 9. Japanese corporate networks – production keiretsu and sub-contractors (Reading: Ikko Shimizu, “A Glimpse
    into the Abyss: The Life of a Keiretsu Contractor.”)
10. Japanese corporate networks – distribution networks (Readings: S Latham, “An Analysis of the Auto Dealer
    Network in Japan,” Y Miwa and JM Ramseyer, “Japanese Distribution: Background, Issues, Examples.”)
11. Other forms of networks in Japan – such as keitairetsu, sanchi, kyodo kumiai, shita-uke gyosha and
    consumers’ clubs (Readings: B Marshall “Japan’s Worker Co-operative Movement into the 21st Century;” R.
    Meyer, “Kei[tai]retsu.”)
12. Student presentations


TEXTS
Textbook: None

Required Readings: Indicated against each theme. Readings may be relevant to more than one theme.

Supplementary readings: None

ASSESSMENT
Attendance and constructive class participation 20%; Oral and PowerPoint presentation 20%; Quiz 20%; Research
Paper 40%