Technology and Industrial Development in Japan: Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation, and Public Policy

By Hiroyuki Odagiri; Akira Goto | Go to book overview

Foreword by Richard R. Nelson

Understanding Japan's rise as an economic and technological power is important for several reasons. First, Japan was the first major nation, outside the Western mainstream, to take aboard the technological and organizational advances that occurred in the West in the century after the first industrial revolution. More, Japan was the first non-Western nation to establish itself as fully able to tap into and contribute to the sustained and broad technological advances that began to occur in the twentieth century as science became harnessed to technology. Second, while Japan's success was followed nearly a century later by the rapid technological and economic development of a few countries like Korea and Taiwan, much of the world remains technologically backward and poor. And Japan's economic development remains a model for many countries who have not yet been able to master modern technology and organizational forms. It therefore is extremely important to understand just how Japan achieved what it has.

It is hard to exaggerate the contribution of this book to that understanding. So much of the current writing about Japan starts the story at the close of World War II. Yet Japan had achieved rough technological parity with Western countries, across a broad industrial front, by World War II. This book provides by far the most detailed account and analysis written thus far on Japanese technological development in the century after the Meiji restoration.

The technological and economic development of Japan not only is a topic of major interest in its own right. Knowing what happened in Japan can contribute importantly to our broader understanding of economic growth in the modern era. This book, therefore, can be seen as making a major contribution to economic growth theory. The theoretical exposition is verbal, not mathematical. But the key variables and relationships that lie behind Japan's remarkable economic assent, as these are seen by the authors, are laid out carefully and clearly. The key elements are as follows.

Japan had a well educated and technologically sophisticated population as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. Japan's investments since that time in improving human capital have matched or exceeded

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Technology and Industrial Development in Japan: Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation, and Public Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • List of Tables viii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Economic and Technological Change from the Meiji Restoration to World War II 17
  • 3 - The Post-War Technological Progress and Government Policies 35
  • 4 - The Evolution of a Management System from the Tokugawa Era to World War II 64
  • 5 - Management in Post-War Japan and Today 88
  • 6 - Textiles 109
  • 7 - Iron and Steel 135
  • 8 - Electrical and Communications Equipment 155
  • 9 - Automobiles 179
  • 10 - Shipbuilding and Aircraft 204
  • 11 - Pharmaceuticals 235
  • 12 - What Can We Learn from the Past? 250
  • Notes 270
  • APPENDIX A Brief Chronology of Japan's History 277
  • Bibliography 280
  • Index of Names 295
  • Index 306
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