Japanese Accounting: A Historical Approach

Japanese Accounting: A Historical Approach

Japanese Accounting: A Historical Approach

Japanese Accounting: A Historical Approach


Much has been written about Japanese management practices, production systems and business culture but surprisingly little attention has been given to the development of accounting practices and approaches in modern Japan. Professor Kyojiro Someya, a former president of the Japanese Accounting Association and now Director of the Japan Accounting Research Institute, is one of the most distinguished accounting scholars in japan. In this book he presents an overview of developments under three main headings - Japanese Accounting History, Problems in Financial Accounting, and Cash Flow Accounting. Someya stresses that the focus of his research was shaped by the particular economic and business conditions in Japan. His work on cash flow accounting and fund flow analysis was done in the context of the problems presented by the high inflation in the immediate post war period; the work on financial statements was linked to the need to increase productivity; and his concerns for appropriate international reporting a reflection of the growing economic internationalization of the Japanese economy from the 1960s onwards. In this important and informed collection, Professor Someya also reflects on the broader meaning of accounting information in business and society, its role in business decision making, and the different ways in which it may be organized and presented in different business cultures.


In Japan several academic research organizations are concerned with accounting and related fields, including the Japan Accounting Association (JAA), the Japan Cost Accounting Association, the Japan Auditing Association, the Japanese Association for International Accounting Studies, and the Japanese Association of Accounting History. These organizations consist mainly of university faculty members responsible for teaching accounting, together with practising professional accountants and business financial executives. Founded in 1933, JAA is the largest of these organizations, with over 1,600 members as of 1994. Accounting research is very popular in Japan. Papers on the subject appear in the yearly reports of these organizations, as well as in the journals of various universities and publishers, and a large number of books on accounting are published every year. Unfortunately, almost all writing in the field is in Japanese, and hence inaccessible to readers of other countries.

The essays in the present volume trace the progress and investigations of one Japanese scholar of accounting over a forty-year period following the Second World War. The purpose of the book is to help people of other nations better to understand at least one direction taken by accounting research in Japan. It does this not by simply explaining the path taken in the modernization of Japan's accounting system, but rather by clearly defining the issues I have been concerned with. These illustrate the kind of problems the Japanese economy has had to overcome during the past fifty years, and the various responses to them made by Japanese scholars of accounting.

The Japanese economy suffered a devastating blow during the Second World War, followed by a high level of economic growth. Now, fifty years after the war, many people would like to understand how such a near miraculous recovery and spectacular growth were possible. Many factors were involved, to be sure, but it is generally recognized that accounting research and its practical application contributed greatly to the revitalization and expansion of industry. The control of rampant postwar inflation, the fostering of the stock exchange -- crucial for the accumulation of industrial capital -- and the rationalization of business management to enable increased productivity: no problem escaped the notice of accounting researchers.

The present book traces the footsteps of a single accounting researcher, but in doing so it illuminates, I believe, the focus of the majority of other . . .

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