It is not an easy task to describe "business anthropology". Moreover, the definition of business anthropology is not concretely established. Discussions still remain on whether business anthropology is something that anthropologists do for (and sometimes with) and in business; it is a field "in the making."
This paper focuses on two points regarding anthropology of/in business. First, it elaborates on the relationship between development of anthropology in business and the characteristics of Japanese enterprises along with the possibilities of applying business anthropology in Japan. Second, business anthropology is an interdisciplinary subject applied in business and academia; further, cooperation with business people (including anthropologists hired in business enterprises) have the potential to invigorate Japanese anthropology.
This paper describes the materialization and reinterpretation of organizational culture in the Japanese company, Ichi, and examines the transformation of corporate value into a tangible corporate system via an evaluation system to monitor and motivate employees. This paper presents perspectives on culture's materialization in the business context and reveals the underlying corporate ideology's impact, with store managers as facilitators. Furthermore, the paper also shows that employees' customer service performance was uneven because the concept of customer service was not fully understood, and the pragmatic nature of the local employees caused a diverse reinterpretation of organizational culture. Examining Ichi contributes to research on the reinterpretation of culture because corporate systems and structures influence local employees' understanding of the company's culture. Finally, this paper argues that ethnographic research on business organizations reveals the cultural logic of the management and local employees, which can ensure mutually beneficial agreements and ease cultural conflicts.
Women have been incorporated into the work culture based on patriarchal values as active participants in Japan's labor market. As a result, they are partaking in activities that initially were, and in many ways continue to be, tied to the male domain. These activities include the practice of meat-eating, recognized by researchers as a symbol of masculinity in both Western and non-Western societies. This article explores practices young Japanese working women implement in connection to the newly-emerged culture of niku joshikai––gatherings of female co-workers or friends centered on the consumption of meat. I argue that this culture functions as a means for women to create a sense of belonging to the male-dominant work culture as well as to assert their feminine identities. I propose that through these practices, young Japanese working women are constructing alternative femininities.
The purpose of this article is to review the development of anthropology as the studies of things, and to examine the influence of western anthropology on Japanese Anthropology. At first, material culture was primarily researched from the viewpoint of cultural diffusions; then their focus shifted to material granted to be subjected to human being. However, in the 1980s, more specifically, after Arjun Appadurai's work in 1986, the approach was more social because materials were also 'things,' embedded in human beings' social life. The studies related to 'things' have been focused upon and developed in anthropology through works, such as Alfred Gell's agency theory and William Pietz and David Graeber's fetishism studies. In this article, I demonstrate how things-studies influenced Japanese anthropology by referring to the works of Japanese anthropologists, such as Kaori Kawai and Ikuya Tokoro. I review things-studies, briefly, and state the possibility of this field of anthropology's development, by employing the unique concept of the Japanese word mono.