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Economics / Business

The Japanese Economic System and its Historical Origins

(Oxford University Press 1999)

Tetsuji Okazaki / Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara (eds.)

When this book appeared in Japanese in 1993, it attracted a good deal of attention from the scholarly community because of its openness and accuracy, and also because it offered new ideas, all
based on careful research.
It consists of nine chapters by eight Japanese economic historians, and is the result of joint research examining the historical forces that created the present Japanese economic system.
The theory advanced is that the major elements of this system were due not to cultural or historical differences but were deliberately created during the years 1930-45 as a part of the wartime effort.
It is argued that until the 1930s Japan had had “an Anglo-Saxon economic model,” something that answered the economic wishes of England.
In wartime Japan, however, something much different was required during militarization, something which much more efficiently answered their demands.
This included an employee-based corporate governance, a bank-controlled financial system, and the principle of “administrative guidance.”
Though many postwar factors have become more focused, the system would not exist without the changes introduced during the wartime years.
The extent to which this system continues is also explained in this multi-authored volume.

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