Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Business- Quotes about Japanese companies and economy

Japanese Business- Quotes about Japanese companies, the Japanese economy, Japanese trade unions, labour relations etc.

“When I arrive at [Canon], I feel certain I have stepped back in time to a 1960s film… I am greeted at the desk by young women in bright pink skirt suits… (think Renee Zellweger in Down with Love)… Forget about pouring tea, when you come to work dressed like Minnie Mouse, there’s no question as to whether or not you’re on the career track.” Kickboxing Geishas pg 69

 “I have a friend I’ve known for 74 years! I meet him every month, and he serves as our auditor” Sanrio founder Shintaro Tsuji. Coming from Britain, it’s quite shocking that he would think such a close relationship with an auditor was a good thing, but in international terms I think the Japanese are actually in the majority with this. Japan Times 2 March 08

“I was weary of… forgetting to bring my business cards along to meetings with all the formality of the Treaty of Versailles” Peter Carey,in Wrong about Japan pg 148 

 ”The use of technology is the greatest difference. In America everyone is so interested in making their job easier and more efficient… Here in Japan, where I thought the technology would be more advanced than the US, many processes are still done manually or on spreadsheets.” Being a Broad in Japan pg304

“They may actually be minted out of air”- 1 yen coins, according to Tokyo Underground by Brian Flynn, Josh Bernard and Jeff Day

“A smiling tour guide is waiting for us, dressed in a neat uniform which reminds me of an early 1960s air hostess. She leads us into a 250-seat auditorium, gestures for Mr Kato and me to sit in the middle, about 10 rows back, and stands at a podium at the front, about fifty yards away from us. She begins a presentation, which Mr Kato translates. I couldn’t feel more self-conscious if I was sitting here naked.” Japanese corporate hospitality gone typically over the top, as described by Pete Brown in “Three Sheets to the Wind”, page 303

“So worthless..that the did not even bother to put a number on it”-5 yen coins, as described in Tokyo Underground by Brian Flynn, Josh Bernard and Jeff Day

“It is because so many people work free overtime that Toyota reaps profits. I hope some of those profits can be brought back to help the employees and their families. That would make Toyota a true global leader.”

Hiroko Uchino, wife of “karoshi” death by overwork victim and Toyota employee Kenichi Uchino, who worked 500 hours of unpaid overtime in the 6 months before his death

Quoted in The Economist 22 December 2007

This is one of many pointers that the “good” things about Toyota like reliability and safety of its cars, treating its foreign employees well, green cars etc. are simply pragmatic decisions based ultimately on market share and/ or profits and in no way based on any principles and likely to be abandoned as soon as they decide producing huge SUVs with no hybrid option, safety concerns due to cost cutting, or taking advantage of redundancies in the Big Three to get employees on the cheap are in no way freakish and will probably increase.

“In the 1920s…no year saw fewer than 250 major strikes…At the end of the 1940s membership (of independent unions) was 6.7 million- 56% of the workforce” Patrick Smith, giving some surprising statistics from the country of the “Japanese way” of harmony and toothless company unions theory

“Japan did not enter a recession in the early 1990’s: It was ‘blindsiding’ us, the better to achieve economic domination”- Another American conspiracy theory, quoted by Patrick Smith

“Every component of Japan’s post-war economic machine was in place by the end of the occupation…MITI…Targeted industries… began under the Americans in 1947″ Patrick Smith

“It is the accumulation of inefficiency that leads to efficiency” director general of the Japanese health ministry, quoted by Patrick Smith

“The families of karoshi victims estimate that 10,000 people a year die from the stress of overwork” Patrick Smith

“And these corporate slaves of today don’t even share the simplest pleasures that those forced labourers of ages past enjoyed; the right to sit down at their dinner table with their families” 43-year old salaryman Toshitrugu Yagi, quoted by Patrick Smith

“Don’t let them live, but don’t let them die” Edo era bureaucrat’s motto (little changed today) quoted by Patrick Smith

“They happily wear The Factory’s uniform even on off-duty Sundays; when they come to the shop they loyally spurn the products of rival firms, even though the Factory’s brand may be out of stock” Poor villagers take the Japanese loyalty to the company to new extremes, Ronald P. Dore


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