Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan

Politics, Organizations, and High Technology Firms

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan

Japan's innovators and entrepreneurs have survived recession in the 1990s to prosper in today's competitive business environment. This volume explores the struggles of entrepreneurs and civic-minded local leaders in fostering innovative activity, and identifies key business lessons for an economy in need of dynamic change. Ibata-Arens offers in-depth analysis of strategy in firms, communities and in local government. The book examines detailed case studies of high-technology manufacturers in Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, as well as bio-tech clusters in America--demonstrating far-reaching innovation and competition effects in national institutions


“Kathryn Ibata-Arens is the international leader in tracking and analyzing changes in Japan's industrial policy. Her work is particularly important in studying reactions from below to governmental initiatives and how Japanese smaller and medium-sized firms sometimes manage to succeed in the face of numerous official and financial obstacles. This is new research on Japan's industrial organization and capacity for innovation.” Chalmers Johnson, author of MITI and the Japanese Miracle

“Readers will enjoy not only the empirical detail about Japan's entrepreneurs, technological and civic, but also the author's spirited exposition of the view that Japan's famous trust-based trading relations were frequently the instrument of hierarchical oppression, that big is usually bad, and the small, the maverick, the local, the networked and the clustered represent the hope for Japan's future.” Ronald Dore, Associate, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

“This study opens the door to a total re-evaluation of what we know about Japanese corporate studies. Ibata-Arens revolutionizes our understanding of small and medium sized business in Japan. Until now, nobody has linked what we know of Japan's traditional community-based innovation to the current economic scene.” Ronald A. Morse, Board of Directors, Sangikyo Corporation, Japan

“A fascinating, well-researched study.” John Creighton Campbell, Professor and Associate Chair of Political Science, University of Michigan

"I have been long troubled by the saccharin view of Japan as a happy society of productive keiretsu groups based on trust and mutual benefit, so I am pleased to see a study that documents a harsher reality that helps to explain why economic performance deteriorated...this is a useful look inside the world of innovative behaviour." Pacific Affairs Edward J. Lincoln, Council on Foreign Relations