Japanese Research in Business History
Online ISSN : 1884-619X
Print ISSN : 1349-807X
ISSN-L : 1349-807X
38 巻
  • Aircraft, petrochemicals, and computers
    Minoru Shimamoto
    2021 年 38 巻 p. 6-24
    発行日: 2021年
    公開日: 2021/12/16
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    This paper examines the aircraft, petrochemical, and mainframe-computer industries to delineate the reasons why some of Japan’s industrial policies during the rapid-growth period succeeded and some failed. The Japanese government implemented policies to advance each of the three industries, but the measures had significantly different effects. While the government favored approaches that involved limiting the number of companies in the given industry and providing support for large-scale production to maximize efficiency, the companies in the industry tended to reinterpret the policies to the extent possible under the official constraints in ways that would minimize the resulting disadvantages to company operations. Out of that context, with the government’s policies on one side and the firms’ strategic responses on the other, emerged a wide variety of unintended consequences. The cases of the aircraft and petrochemicals illustrate how the government’s attempts to cultivate “national champion” companies by supporting the “visible hand” of management ended up stopping or twisting the “invisible hand,” thereby bringing the government’s policies to unforeseen failure. Meanwhile, the mainframe-computer industry sheds light on how the government can allow the visible hand and the invisible hand to coexist and function effectively.

  • The confluence of BørneLund’s business strategy and unintended consequences of educational policies 1977-2020
    Ken Sakai
    2021 年 38 巻 p. 25-42
    発行日: 2021年
    公開日: 2021/12/16
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    This study takes on the problem of how small and medium-sized start-up companies grow in matured or shrinking markets. It examines the case of BørneLund, a Japanese company that has achieved notable development by importing and selling European toys purported to be useful for children’s growth and education. The investigation is conducted from a perspective of “historical confluence,” which draws attention to a chance encounter between outcomes of activities carried out by multiple organizational entities. As a result of the investigation, the study reveals that the company’s exceptional development was made possible under the circumstances in which the company’s efforts to establish an inimitable business strategy encountered unintended consequences of Japanese educational policies: That is, Japanese middle-class families accelerated their investment in early childhood education, enhancing their interest in educational toys. The study indicates that even in a shrinking market there is a possibility that a small-sized start-up company can grow on the conditions that (1) the company makes proactive efforts to establish its original business model and that (2) the company’s efforts become confluent with unintended consequences of government policies that are not directly aimed at the company’s business.

  • Rising health consciousness and an unintended shift toward fashion (1984–2010)
    Sayako Miura
    2021 年 38 巻 p. 43-61
    発行日: 2021年
    公開日: 2021/12/16
    ジャーナル フリー HTML

    This paper examines the historical development of the transparent-insole market, which has experienced growth since the mid-2000s. According to the previous discourse, the market grew as companies recognized potential demand among young women for the functionality and fashion value that transparent insoles could offer. Underlying that explanation, however, are the key questions of how those needs took shape and how entrepreneurs identified opportunities to push products into the arena. This paper thus expands its focus to the context prior to product rollout and the chain of actions and interactions by multiple actors evolving from that context for a fuller examination. A private organization’s calls for functionality over fashion—the latter of which had previously received priority in the shoe market—raised consumer awareness of foot health. Seeing that growing consciousness as a source of potential business opportunities, multiple insole manufacturers then began pursuing various initiatives, thereby sparking the emergence and growth of the fashionable transparent-insole market as an unintended consequence of a private-organization initiative. This paper examines the shoe industry since the 1990s, which has not featured prominently in previous research, to advance scholarship on the history of the shoe industry.