Transformation of Distribution Structure and Shipping Business Persons in the Meiji Era of Japan
The Cases of Nosaka Family and Shirogane Family
This paper discusses how sailboat carriers managed at the Noheji Port in Aomori Prefec- ture, which was a base port for distant transportation in the early modern period, after sail- boat transportation between distant areas was replaced by steamship transportation. Since Noheji was not a port for regular steamers, connections with remote markets weakened as a result of the development of the regular steamship network, and although the size of the port relatively decreased. But the Noheji Port was linked to the expansion of the market in Hokkaido on the opposite shore, and it became a base of the underground transportation network centering on small steamships while taking advantage of the opening of the rail- way. The shipping industry in Noheji Port was flexible in dealing with the development of the Noheji economy ; for example, the Nosaka family had the branch family carry out soy sauce and miso brewing in the modern times, which organically linked the expansion of fish fertilizer production in Hokkaido with the expansion of miso and soy sauce brewing in the Noheji region. The Shirogane family also developed a new transportation route by sailing ships repeatedly between Hokkaido and Noheji, and contributed greatly to the formation of the underground transportation network. The development of the management of the ship- ping business persons in Noheji provided a major impetus for fluidizing the distribution sys- tem of fish fertilizer in Hokkaido and transforming the structure of the Hokkaido fishing in- dustry.
Engagement with an Entrepreneur and a Researcher
Second-person Approach and Convivial Tools as Methods of Entrepre- neurial Research
Chiaki Ito and Toshiki Fukumoto
The purpose of this paper is to explore qualitative methodology that enhances the viability and continuity of fieldwork that tracks entrepreneurs’ trial and error. Capturing the trials and errors of entrepreneurs requires second-person engagement with entrepreneurs and convivial tools. In this article, through examples of the author’s own fieldwork with an en- trepreneur and a researcher, we suggest that the knowledge creation system of manage- ment science can be used as convivial tools for forming and maintaining relationships.
Does Natural Disaster Increase Start-ups?
An Empirical Analysis on the Great East-Japan Earthquake
Hiroyuki Okamuro and Tomofumi Sarugaku
Previous studies suggest that business start-ups increase after natural disaster due to psy- chological, networking, and economic reasons. Yet, no empirical estimations have been done on this issue, considering causal inference. Thus, focusing on the Great East-Japan Earth- quake, we investigate causal impacts of natural disaster on local start-up ratio, by employing standard econometric techniques. Using municipality data from public census, we construct a panel data set with four periods before and after the Great East-Japan Earthquake（2001─ 2004, 2006─2009, 2012─2014 and 2014─2016）and 1,734 municipalities in Japan. We employ fixed-effect panel estimation with DID approach to consider causality, where the treatment group comprises the municipalities officially designated as Special Disaster Area（or speci- fied as Tsunami Area）and the control group covers all other municipalities. Specifically, we distinguish between the effects on gross and net start-up ratio. We also consider the effects on average start-up size measured as the average number of employees. The estimation re- sults show that this disaster had a positive and significant impact on the start-up ratio in the Special Disaster Area, which is even stronger in the Tsunami Area. We also find that the impact is especially evident in the sectors that are essential for the reconstruction or di- rectly related to consumer service. We also confirm these positive effects for independent start-ups. We find that the average size of start-ups is not significantly affected by this earthquake. Finally, the results show that the positive and significant effects of（the recov- ery from）the natural disaster on start-up ratio during 2012─14 become weaker or even sta- tistically insignificant during 2014─16, suggesting that the effects of the disaster may not persist.
This study investigates how local entrepreneurs innovate in production areas. In particular, this study considers the implementation of the changes in production areas by local entrepreneurs from other industries, instead of by inside entrepreneurs, a topic of interest in existing research.
Today, society emphasizes regional activation, especially innovation in the region through cooperation between different industries. Prior studies point out that the realization of strategic sociality is a key to gaining legitimacy in the region for small and medium enterprises with roots in the region, and existing work discusses the realization of regional innovation from the view of entrepreneurial activities. However, previous research mainly addresses innovation arising from groups in the same industry, and does not sufficiently examine the innovation of production areas originating in different industries. This study explores this kind of innovation through a case analysis. Specifically, this study analyzes the utilization business of waste mandarin oranges by a butcher in Mikkabi Town, Kita Ward, Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, and clarifies the route of the business creation and changes in production areas.
The case analysis indicates two findings. First, it was not easy to obtain cooperation from producers, even if the venture created a business satisfying strategic sociality. Secondly, the key to transforming the production area was that the local entrepreneur modified his business model and encouraged producers to participate in his business. This case analysis suggests the significance of the entrepreneur who changes the region itself, which is different from the image of the local entrepreneur as the entity using local resources, as presented in prior research.. Abstract
It is known that Kobe Higher Commercial School（ 1902─1932） attached great importance to moral education. The famous entrepreneur Sazo Idemitsu, for example, often told about being influenced by the education during his school days. From this fact, two research questions would arise. The first is the question as to whether this kind of education was seen in only KHCS. If not, such a fact increases the probability that the moral education was prevalent among commercial schools, giving an intelligent reason for conducting another survey of its major cause. Therefore, the present writers examined educational systems in three other schools which are Yamaguchi-HCS （1905─1944）, Nagasaki-HCS （1905─1944）, and Otaru- HCS （1910─1944）. The second question is concerned with the situation of a moral education in Tokyo-HCS which was established long before the four schools, because it can’t be denied that educational practices of THCS, including moral education, could have been passed on to the subsequent schools.
The brief outlines of the answers to the questions are given below. First, the moral educational systems similar to one in KHCS were found in the three schools. Second, it is conceivable that after resignation of the first principal Jiro Yano who took the initiative in promoting moral education, it lost momentum in THCS. But some persons influenced by his educational thought, such as Eiich Sibusawa, were still in the school. Perhaps there might have a chance of its surviving for the moment.
This paper focuses on emerging processes of entrepreneurs who made business innovations during the Meiji era, when the modern society was formed, from the perspectives of entrepreneurial history and business history.
The individual data （home situation, educational background, processes to entrepreneurship, and types of innovation） of 46 entrepreneurs were analyzed, and common factors in their emerging processes were sought. As a finding, there were four types in the emerging process :（ 1） network type,（ 2） regional development type,（ 3） merchant type, and（ 4） technology type.
As for the network type, entrepreneurs utilized advantages of networking with government/ business leaders/ relatives to acquire advanced western knowledge （i.e. unique information for venturing） which was necessary for modern organization management. Regarding the regional development type, the entrepreneurial activities have characteristics of developing regional industries suitable for the times. Those entrepreneurs, who were mainly local elites playing official and influential roles in their regions, utilized information required for venturing that contributes to regional development （i.e. unique information for venturing） from local and political experts.
As for the merchant type, entrepreneurs were engaged to their merchant activities connected with opportunities for new innovative businesses. Those who became such merchants came mainly from farmers who aimed successful career and independence. In their works as merchants, they succeeded in business by acquiring the earliest information （i.e. unique information for venturing）. Finally in the technical type, entrepreneurs raised a business by using technologies acquired through skill acquisition and invention. This type often came from merchants, and as a part of management efforts, they aimed at the creation and invention of new products or technologies that had not existed in Japan so far. Here information on new western product/ technologies（ i.e. unique information for venturing） played a crucial role.
Access to such information for venturing above was a key for entrepreneurs who successfully created new modern businesses.
Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd was one of the largest companies in the taxi industry in Japan. In the 1990s, its performance was lower and the company faced a serious crisis with huge debts. However, after the organizational change carried out by Ichiro Kawanabe （chairman, third generation of founders） in 2000, the performance of Nihon Kotsu recovered and increased. How and why Nihon Kotsu was successful with its V-shaped turnaround?
The aim of this paper is to analyze entrepreneurial behavior of Ichiro Kawanabe and the organizational change process led by him. In this analysis, the author incorporates the knowledge of the organizational identity theory to the organizational change process theory.
In summary of this case study, first, Kawanabe developed a high-quality taxi service selected by customers. Second, he increased the motivation of taxi drivers and changed their career views. Motivated taxi drivers themselves increased the quality of taxi service and tried to develop new services. Through these, Nihon Kotsu made it possible to differentiate their services on the taxi market, which were regarded difficult to differentiate.
In theory, this paper suggests the following mechanism. At the implementation stage of the organizational change process, employees are motivted to change their identity by recognizing themselves through feedback from customers and colleagues. Furthermore, empowerment and assignment of responsibility to employees will encourage employees’ business improvement behavior to go beyond the assumption of top management. The V-shaped turnaround of the performance of Nihon Kotsu was brought about by this mechanism which was activated by organizational change led by Kawanabe.
University-industry R & D collaboration has been attracting much attention as an effective means to promote innovation. Also in Japan, public support has been provided to such local R & D collaboration through cluster policies. However, no empirical evaluation has been made using micro data regarding MEXT （Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology）’s knowledge cluster policies, which are comparable to the cluster policies in Europe. Thus, using micro data from public statistics and employing fixed effect panel estimation, this paper empirically examines the direct effects of these cluster policies on R & D expenditures of cluster universities and firms, on the business performance （including sales growth and productivity） of participating firms as well as its spillover effects on all manufacturing plants in cluster regions. Estimation results show that after cluster participation, ① universities and public research institutes significantly increased internal and external research expenditures and research fund from private firms, ② participating firms’ business performance did not significantly improve, and ③ manufacturing plants in cluster areas rather significantly decreased labor productivity, compared to their counterparts that were not located in cluster areas. These results suggest that MEXT’s cluster policies promoted university-industry R & D collaboration, which, however, did not induce overall growth of participating firms’ and local manufacturers’ productivity.
In this paper, I investigate a tacit needs acquisition process for industrial products by salesforce organization. Considering innovation as a process of combining needs and seeds, the tacit needs acquisition process is valuable for innovation study. Salesforce organization is the interface between customer and company as seller and salesforce organization has a potential that is to acquire customer’s tacit needs based on company owned technologies. But existing studies point out that salesforce organization does not have enough knowledge related technology so salesforce organization is not able to acquire the tacit needs. Instead of the salesforce organization, R ＆ D organization can work to acquire the tacit needs because R ＆ D organization has deep technological knowledge. But this is not acceptable discussion because customer’s tacit needs is composed not only technological factors but also various environmental factors which customer is located. If R ＆ D organization can cope with the situation which is non-technological matter, it can work successfully but typical R ＆ D organization’s purpose is to focus on technology and product development so R ＆ D organization might not be able to handle this kind of activity. As an example of acquiring the tacit needs by salesforce organization, I analyzed foreign firm A’s salesforce organization case in industrial products. The reason for choosing firm A as the example case was firm A take customer’s tacit needs by salesforce organization in order to build a competitive advantage in unclear market. For case analysis, I built an analytical framework by utilizing knowledge on existing studies and analyzed the case. As a result, I found the hypothesis of the tacit needs acquisition process to be “credit, “belief”, “dialogue”, “virtual needs”, “realizing the tacit needs”. I also presented “dialogue within salesforce organization” as an important factor to encourage each process. The concept of “ dialogue within salesforce organization” promote “dialogue between salesforce organization and customer” and the tacit needs become obvious.
This paper explores self-renewal of regional specialization in the production center on the basis of a study for Arita porcelain production center in Japan. Arita is the birthplace of porcelain in Japan. In Arita, a few core porcelain producers, for instance Koransya, Fukagawaseiji, Kakiemon, and Imaemon, have taken the responsibility to refine the skills and keep its tradition after Meiji Restoration. The others respect the core porcelain producers to rule the region as a leader. Arita, which had been the major production center of the business tableware, has been in recession due to an economic crisis and the emergence of imported ceramics in recent years. Arita production center, however, successfully diversified its product categories and tried to make progress for the self-renewal of its regional specialization, which were driven by entrepreneurship of a leading group of the frontier porcelain producers and wholesalers.
This paper insists that the frontier porcelain producers’ and wholesalers’ entrepreneurship stimulated self-renewal of regional specialization. It also argues that the unwritten competition rule, preventing cut throat competition, served as a catalyst to keep the region as a porcelain production center alive. Each regional specialization has been supported by these unwritten rules on the basis of the system of encouraging the local talent.
This study clarified the R&D and diffusion process of the breakthrough stainless surgical needle developed by MANI Inc., a Japanese company engaged in the manufacture of high-quality, durable small medical instruments. In the 1960s, MANI developed the world’s first stainless surgical needle, driven by the timely decision-making of top management to invest its R&D against the norm, and their persistent efforts to solve technological problems related to raw material and the manufacturing process. Despite its superior quality and acceptable price compared with the traditional iron needle, the diffusion of the stainless surgical needle was slow until the end of the 1980s. This could be attributed to Japanese hospitals’ disinterest in management, traditional tenets about the nurse’s role, and the interests of the wholesalers. During the 1960s-1970s Japanese hospitals disregarded management due to high demand for medical care, and consequently, they were not concerned with the breakthrough of small products. In addition, Japanese nurses had accepted a traditionally subsidiary role to doctors, while the responsibility for iron needle quality control, a tedious task, was theirs. On the other hand, the wholesalers considered that the diffusion of stainless surgical needles would decrease their sales margins from surgical needles, given the durability of the stainless version. MANI tried to break the deadlock in the 1960s-70s by partnering with exceptional individuals who offered their support to the stainless surgical needle for specific reasons. In the 1980s, as Japanese hospitals became more interested in management, nurses became more empowered and questions were raised over their traditional role. Following these developments, the demand for stainless surgical needles increased dramatically in Japan. As a result of their sustained effort to maintain the stainless surgical needle business, MANI was poised to seize this opportunity and finally diffused stainless surgical needles into the market by 1990.
Shibusawa Keizō, the grandson of Shibusawa Eiichi, served as the Governor of the Bank of Japan during the Second World War and later became Japan’s Finance Minister in the postwar regime. In 1937, shortly after his grandfather’s death and before assuming his leadership roles, Keizō began channeling his passions into developing the concept for the Japan Business History Museum and preparing for the opening of the facility. Hoping to cover everything from Edo-period culture to the economic shifts and developmental changes that Japan experienced from the Bunsei era to the Meiji period, Keizō oversaw the collection of a wide variety of historical documents, paintings, photographs, materials, and other items to chronicle the country’s progression. The initiative eventually amassed 38,000 pieces in 11 different categories （paintings, maps, product rankings, paper money, materials, documents, books, advertisements, and photographs, among others）, with 13,911 paintings, materials, and advertisements （accounting for 61,964 images） now available in digital formats at the National Institute of Japanese Literature. The process of analyzing this extensive collection holds immense potential for outlining a new approach to business history.
Keizō’s background helped mold his strong interests in and unique perspectives on both economic and business history. In addition to writing “Honpō kōgyō-shi ni kan suru ichikōsatsu”［A consideration of Japanese industrial history］ as his graduation thesis for the Faculty of Economics at the University of Tokyo, for example, Keizō also shared a long, deep friendship with fellow classmate and eminent economic scholar Tsuchiya Takao. The vision for the Japanese Business History Museum and its collection of materials also stemmed from Keizō’s connections with folklorists and his awareness of the relevant issues. By examining these roots of the conceptualization, along with items reflecting popular economic life and Keizō’s statements pertaining to the use of visual information, this paper analyzes Keizō’s socioeconomic philosophy and proposes a new economic and business history methodology that incorporates nonverbal resources.
This paper discusses the career decision made by Sazo Idemitsu （1885─1981）, the founder of Idemitsu Kosan, Co., Ltd.（ 1940─）, upon his graduation from college, and the reason for his selecting Sakai Shokai, a private firm. According to Idemitsu, when he became an apprentice to Sakai Shokai immediately after his graduation, his former classmates insulted him for being “a disgrace to the college.” Through verification of this poor reputation of his career decision, we researched the preferences of graduates from Kobe Higher Commercial School concerning their career decisions over the period from the late 1900s to the mid-1910s. At that time, graduates had the option either to become a white collar worker at a modern company or to serve a premodern private firm as an apprentice.
Our research found that every year a few graduates from the college planned to join private firms and that it was not only Idemitsu who planned to undergo training in practical business at such a firm in order to prepare themselves for starting up their own businesses in the future. A few such graduates were determined to serve at private firms as an apprentice, although their number was limited. However, Idemitsu, who graduated from the college at the end of 1900s, belonged to the last generation who considered an apprenticeship as an effective means to learn about practical business.
In the mid-1910s, more than 10 graduates annually began to join Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s major trading companies. At the same time, the number of graduates who joined Suzuki & Co.（ 1874─1927）, which grew its business dramatically during World War I, also began increasing rapidly. The transition from the late 1900s to the mid-1910s was a turning point for both types of graduates : those who aspired to join modern companies and those who planned to serve at traditional private firms.