American Enterprise in Japan

By Tomoko Hamada

Subjects: Japanese Studies
Series: SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work
Paperback : 9780791406397, 306 pages, August 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406380, 306 pages, August 1991

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Table of contents


List of Illustrations

1. Cultural Encounters

2. Working in Japan

3. Foreign Enterprises and Japanese Corporate Environment

4. Nippon Kaisha

5. The Joint-venture Company: Nippon United

6. Organizational Culture

Appendix: The Historical Context



Major Players in the Joint Venture, Nippon United



This book describes how American and Japanese management ideologies meet, collide, and contend in the process of competitive cooperation during a joint venture in Japan. In a detailed case study, Hamada describes the very real problems when Japanese and American managers run a business operation, and analyzes them from a comparative, relativistic, and historical perspective. The author presents a novel and effective way of viewing organizational dynamics, seeing the 'unfinished' cultural process between different sub-groups who create and recreate the symbolic meanings of corporate phenomena. Her succinct analysis of Japanese and American behavioral modes makes both practical and theoretical contributions to the field of international management.

Highlighting the interdependence between corporate culture and broader societal culture, Hamada looks closely at interactions between American and Japanese businessmen, analyzes their cultural differences, and proposes that these differences can be viewed not just as a source of continuing conflict but of dynamic cooperation.

Tomoko Hamada is Chair of the East Asian Studies Program and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary.


"This is the first study dealing with the experience of an American firm in Japan. It makes an important contribution to our understanding of both American and Japanese firms. As a professional anthropologist and skilled fieldworker, Hamada understands the relationships between field data and social meaning. Her experience as a professional interpreter and translator provides analytic skills and tools which are very rare in studies of Japanese business and American business in Japan." — Bernard Karsh, Director, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois

"The case itself is fascinating, and Hamada speaks authoritatively and convincingly from personal experience and careful research about joint ventures, a subject that has not been described or analyzed but which is of considerable practical and theoretical significance." — William Kelly, Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University