Corporate Capitalism in Japan

Corporate Capitalism in Japan

Corporate Capitalism in Japan

Corporate Capitalism in Japan


In characterising the Japanese way of business, Professor Okumura has made one of the most significant contributions to the study of economics. This is his first work to be published in English translation.


Hiroshi Okumura has influenced a number of Japanese economists well known in the Western academic world, such as Professor Masahiko Aoki of Stanford University and many others including myself, through his works on Japanese enterprise groups, parent company-subcontractors relationships, the Japanese type of takeover bid, the main bank system, and so on. Based on these concepts, Okumura has characterised the Japanese economy as a type of 'corporate capitalism'. He has shown that the famous familistic management, the permanent employment tradition, the bonus system, etc. are all natural properties attributable to corporate capitalism. He has powerfully illustrated that even work ethics in such an economy differ from those in usual capitalist economies presumed in the orthodox textbooks.

In spite of these achievements Okumura is very critical of the Japanese economy viewed in his way. He has recognised the vulnerability of corporate capitalism; especially its inconsistency with contemporary Japanese society. We may describe corporate capitalism as a state of affairs where employees of big firms are forced to do everything they are told by their bosses. However, it imposes a big burden upon individual workers as well as small firms, and if workers quit from their present companies, especially in the case of large firms, they severely suffer economically. the economy was considered to deserve admiration while the Japanese still maintained the virtues of feudal days, but as soon as those who had gone through the old education system were retired from the business world, corporate capitalism began to stagger, as Okumura foresaw.

In spite of his warning, such great names of Japanology as Ronald Dore and Hugh Pattrick supported the Japanese way of business management. This may perhaps be because where Okumura saw feudal evil practices the Westerners observed oriental gracefulness. in any case, it is of course true that corporate capitalism must be examined to reveal its non-optimality.

Okumura is a surprisingly prolific writer. Besides the present volume there are many others which are concerned with various aspects of . . .

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