DMSB 729: JAPANESE BUSINESS ISSUES
Professor: Nancy R. Buchan, Ph.D.
Tel. (803) 777-1781
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Classes: January 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 (Tues/Thurs: 9:00–11:45am) Room 534 Office Hours: 1-2 pm. on class days and by appointment
Japan - the world's second largest economy and home to many of the world's leading companies - is now
growing again after a decade and a half of stagnation, thanks in part to Chinese demand for Japanese
capital goods but now increasingly to renewed domestic demand. Japan remains America’s second
largest trading partner after Canada, and is a permanent and important part of the global economic
The objectives of this course are to explore the foundations of the “Japanese Miracle” and to build a
historical understanding of the Japanese economy leading up to its current state. We will study the
unique culture of Japan to develop an awareness of how it influences all aspects of Japanese society and
business. We will study Japanese management systems, particularly as they transition and
expand/contract during this period of globalization. We will examine the four Ps of Japanese marketing
and Japanese consumers and how they also have changed over time. Finally, we will develop a deep
appreciation of current political, economic, social and cultural issues in Japan and how they influence the
Method of Instruction
The class will be taught in a seminar format and will employ a variety of teaching methods including
lectures, discussions, dvds, case analyses, in-class exercises, current events, and student research and
presentations. The typical class day (two sessions) will have the following schedule: (9-10:15); break; and (10:30-11:45).
1. Johnson, Chalmers A. (1982) MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy,
2. Benedict, Ruth (1989) The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture
(Both of these books are classics. If you wish, you can obtain inexpensive used copies of both of
them on Amazon. I am not at all fussy about the edition you read.)
3. We will use the following Harvard cases and article:
Case: Japan: Deficits, Demography, and Deflation 9-706-004
HBR Article: The Silent Language in Overseas Business 60308
Case: Ina Food Industry HKU607
Click on the link below to order the course materials.
The course ID# is c22169. If you have not registered with Harvard Business Online, you will be
required to do so. This URL will provide you with a list of required materials for use in this course.
For technical assistance, please view the Quick Tips section or contact Harvard Business School
Publishing at 1-800-810-8858 or 617-783-7700. They are open 8am-6pm Eastern Standard Time.
They can also be reached at email@example.com
Additional readings will be posted on Blackboard/Course Documents, or distributed in 4.
class as stated in the syllabus.
Course Requirements and Grading
A. Class participation (including discussion notes) 40%
B. Current events 10%
C. Case Analysis 20%
D. Partner projects 30%
A. Class participation will be evaluated based on the quantity and the quality of an individual’s
contribution to in-class discussions and by their ability to lead in-class discussion. One’s ability to
lead in-class discussion will be judged, in part, by their preparedness for class as evidenced by their
discussion notes which are handed in at the beginning of each class.
i. The length of notes and questions to be covered in the discussion notes are stated in the
course schedule for each day.
ii. Students may write their notes in any format they wish, as long as they do not exceed the
maximum length prescribed for the notes for that topic.
iii. The purpose of the discussion notes are to enhance the student’s knowledge of the topic and
to increase their ability to teach or lead discussion of the topic, if called upon to do so.
Unexcused absences will affect your participation grade.
B. Current Events. Each class day (except the first class period), students should be prepared to present
to the class a very short report (2-3 minutes) concerning a relevant current event in Japan. 15
minutes of each class day will be devoted to these reports.
i. To help you in this task, you will find the following English-language websites for the main
Japanese newspapers helpful:
Also, I have found The Economist country briefings to be very useful in this regard as well in
providing more general information,
C. Case Analysis. A hard copies of your case analysis is due at the beginning of the class period during
which the case will be presented. Absolutely no late cases will be accepted for any reason. Your
write-up will be graded on the quality of your analysis and of your recommendations. Questions to
be considered when writing up each case are given in this syllabus. Formatting requirements: 3 pages maximum, double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins all around.
I have attached a sheet containing more specific directions for how to write a case analysis to the
back of this syllabus.
D. Partner projects. Japan is in a time of incredible transition. This transition is carrying with it
particular and painful societal costs (and maybe even benefits?). Thus, there are a wide range of
issues that should be of potential interest to students who plan on interacting with Japan in the
coming years including economic, trade and investment, financial, social, political and cultural issues.
Self-selected pairs (2 students) will research topics of their choosing that have implications for doing
business in Japan and for broader Japanese society as a whole. The objective of the projects is to
expose students to a variety of issues related to the Japanese business environment and to create
opportunities for collective learning beyond the assigned class content.
Groups will be responsible for writing a paper (max 10 pages, double-spaced pages; 12-point font)
and presenting it in class for a max. of 20 minutes. Each group should provide a 1-page summary of
their paper to be copied and distributed to the entire class (if you need help in making copies, e-mail
the summary to me at least 24 hours before the presentation).
th we’ll be watching a DVD in class that will discuss some of these issues, On Tuesday, January 13
and will perhaps spur thoughts of more issues that you might want to explore. The particular topic
selected by each pair has to be approved by the instructor before the end of classes on January 15th.
Tuesday, January 13th
The (Myth of the) Japanese Miracle
? Johnson, Chalmers (1982) MITI and the Japanese Miracle, pp. 1-115, 198-end.
Read introduction chapter carefully and skim the rest.
? Krugman, Paul "The Myth of Asia's Miracle," Foreign Affairs (November/December 1994),
pp. 62-79. ( posted on BB)
Discussion Notes (1-pg maximum):
1. Discuss the main foundations, according to Johnson, of the “Japanese Miracle”.
2. Do you agree with Krugman that the “Miracle” is a “myth”?
Sorting Out Japan’s Financial Crisis
? HBS Case: Japan: Deficits, Demography, and Deflation 9-706-004
? "The Sun Also Rises," The Economist, Survey of Japan (October 8, 2005). (posted on BB)
Discussion Notes (2-pgs maximum):
1. What caused the bubble economy? Why did it collapse, and what were the economic
2. Why did neither monetary nor fiscal remedies work?
3. What’s your assessment of Japan’s pension reform, and its further need for reform of
4. Do you think that Japan has finally adjusted, and is about to grow? What do you think
will be the impact of the current financial crisis?
DVD: Tokyo: A Global City
After viewing this dvd we’ll discuss topics for your partner projects.
Thursday, January 15th
? Benedict, Ruth (1989) The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture,
(This book is likely viewed as the most authoritative anthropological work ever written about
Japanese culture. You do not need to read it word for word but do try to glean from it as
much as you can.)
Discussion Notes (2-pgs maximum):
1. Discuss the main characteristics of Japanese culture.
2. In what ways do you believe these characteristics influence business and business
Japanese Business Communication and Negotiation Behavior
? HBR article - Hall, Edward “The Silent Language in Overseas Business” - 60308
? Hall, Edward “Key Concepts: Underlying Structures of Culture” (chapter will be distributed
Discussion Notes (1-pg maximum):
1. Characterize the main elements of Hall’s theory of high and low context cultures.
Tuesday, January 20th
DVD: Toyota’s Drive to the Top
? HBR Case – Ina Food Industry – HKU607
Discussion Notes (2-pgs maximum):
1. Characterize the main elements of Tsukakoshi’s management philosophy.
2. In what ways is Tsukakoshi’s philosophy “typically” Japanese?
3. In what ways is his philosophy uniquely his own?
4. Assess the ease or difficulty of transferring this management style or philosophy should the
company ever transfer ownership.
We will be viewing a dvd regarding Toyota’s management prior to discussing this case and will
compare and contrast the two management styles. We will also discuss the implications of
company growth and the intricacies of transferring management philosophy.
Thursday, January 22nd
st day of class) ? Assigned Case: Nippon Vicks K.K. (Will be distributed 1
Case Analysis Questions (Please prepare responses on 3-pgs maximum, double-spaced, 12
pt, Times Roman font, 1” margins):
1. Analyze Clearasil’s performance to date (unit volume, sales volume, market share, etc.).
What is your assessment of the present situation?
2. What can we learn from observing existing market trends, customer habits, and overall
market dynamics in the skin care segment?
3. How has the competitive situation changed since the introduction of Clearasil?
4. In your opinion, what were the cause(s) of Clearasil’s decline? To what extent was
advertising the cause, or were there other factors that contributed to the product’s decline?
5. What do you think of the line’s extension into the soap/wash segment of the skin care
6. What opinions exist to re-launch the Clearasil business in Japan? What specific actions
would you recommend (advertising, production line, distribution, etc.)?
Assorted Articles Regarding Marketing in Japan (will be distributed in class)
? “Japanese Fret that Quality is in Decline” ? “As Japan Deregulates, Quality of Life Laments” ? “Coke: I’d Like to Buy the World….”
? “Japan’s Snow Brand Milk Maker Says Sorry…” ? “Japanese consumers: From homogeneity to diversity” ? “Life Values of Japanese”
Because you have the Nippon Vicks case due today there is no written assignment for these
readings, however you are expected to have read them and be able to discuss them. We’ll be
having a free flowing discussion regarding various aspects of marketing in Japan.
thTuesday, January 27
Current Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Issues in Japan
Student Power Point Presentations – 20 minutes maximum
LOBAL MARKETING – DMSB 729 G
Putting your thoughts to paper will help you to organize you ideas in a more meaningful way. Therefore, to add to
the quality of participation in the class as well as to your own learning of the issues covered, each student is asked
to submit 2 case write-ups during the semester. Write-ups are due at the beginning of class on the day the subject
case is discussed. You may want to keep a copy for yourself for class discussion purposes.
Case Analysis: Follow the case analysis method presented in class before you attempt to write up a formal
analysis. This method will help you to tease out all the relevant facts in the case.
Content: Written analysis of cases should follow a fairly standard format:
1. The first paragraph should briefly state the problem(s) or central issue(s).
2. Address the case questions as given in the syllabus. In answering these questions you will be
providing support for your recommendation.
3. Present your recommendation.
You may use either inductive or deductive reasoning when writing up your analysis. That is, a) You can
present your recommendation immediately following the problem statement, and then use the rest of your
case to support your recommendation. Or b) you may present the problem statement, then build an argument
for one strategy or the other and then end with what you finally recommend.
When addressing the case questions and building support for your recommended strategy, you should
consider the following points:
- Have you considered some alternative options?
- Why are you recommending the option you have chosen?
- Are you able to support your recommendation with relevant case facts and to-the-point quantitative
analysis explaining the concepts you used in the analysis?
- How will the recommended strategy be implemented?
- Are there any risks involved in your strategy (what can go wrong?) and, if possible, why does your plan
minimizes these problems?
Assume that I have read the case as well. Your job is to synthesize the facts in order to provide insight – it is
not simply to restate what is written in the case.
1. Limit your discussion to 3 pages, double-spaced, excluding exhibits.
2. Use 12-point font and 1 inch margins (all around).
Use appendices to provide more detail to the text in your write-up. Useful appendices may include:
- A table of pros and cons of various strategic options. (The main elements of the table would be
summarized in the text, but the table would provide elaboration on those elements).
- A product positioning map
- A financial analysis (e.g. a breakeven analysis, etc.)
- An illustration of the segmentation structure of the market
Appendices that are not helpful are the following:
- Photocopies of tables or data from the cases
- Full paragraphs and pages of text. The appendices are to be in table form to provide the most
efficient means of conveying a lot of information.