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 (ISBN-13: 9780511134074 | ISBN-10: 051113407X)

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan

Cambridge University Press
0521856442 - Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan - Politics, Organizations, and High Technology Firms - by Kathryn Ibata-Arens

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan

Japan’s innovators and entrepreneurs are a real success story against the odds, surviving recession in the 1990s to prosper in today’s competitive business environment. Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan 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 an in-depth analysis of strategy in firms, communities, and in local government. Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan 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, and firms embedded within local and regional institutions.

The book is essential reading for academics and students of business, economics, political economy, political science, and sociology. It will also appeal to investors, entrepreneurs, and community development organizations seeking new perspectives on global competition and entrepreneurship in high technology enterprises.

KATHRYN IBATA-ARENS is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, DePaul University, and Abe Fellow in the Faculty of Commerce, Doshisha University.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Japan

Politics, Organizations, and High Technology Firms


Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Kathryn Ibata-Arens 2005

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2005

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN-13 978-0-521-85644-7 hardback

ISBN-10 0-521-85644-2 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party internet websites referred to in this book,
and does not guarantee that any content on such
websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

To Thomas Takishi Ibata and Agnes Kazuko Ibata


List of figurespage x
List of tablesxii
1.2Two stories: Samco and Ikeda2
1.3Regional variations in Japan’s national innovation system7
1.4Innovative communities: basic ingredients and sufficient conditions9
1.5The book’s argument: local political economy of innovative communities10
1.6Outline of the book14
2Regions and firms20
2.2Regions: industries, products, and trends22
2.3Innovative levels of high technology firms25
2.4Firm-level strategies28
2.5Firms in Ota30
2.6Firms in Higashi Osaka35
2.7Firms in Kyoto40
3Innovation theory: firms, regions, and the Japanese state54
3.1Innovation: definition, measures, and theories54
3.2Firm-level innovation in Japan59
3.3Flexible production61
3.4Flexible specialization67
3.5Industrial districts74
3.6Local networks78
3.7Comparing theories of innovation81
3.8Conclusion: bringing the local (more fully) back in?85
4Japan’s quest for entrepreneurialism92
4.1The Cluster Plan92
4.2Executives and (former) bureaucrats93
4.31990s: bad policy, poorly implemented99
4.42000s: when all else fails, go to Harvard101
4.5What’s “new” about the Cluster Plan?105
4.6Mid-2000s: checking on the patient110
4.7Conclusion: too much Gesellschaft and not enough Gemeinschaft111
5Networks and firms114
5.2Overview of firm experiences121
5.3Networks in Ota Ward O-Net122
5.4Networks in Higashi Osaka: TOPS125
5.5Networks in Kyoto: Kiseiren and its spin-offs127
5.6Conclusion: seeds of change132
6The Kyoto Model138
6.1What is the Kyoto Model?138
6.2Serendipity in history139
6.3Model firms141
6.4Levels of the Model: region, firm, entrepreneur148
6.5A model for other places?159
7Regions in comparison162
7.1Introduction: building innovative communities162
7.2Core constructs164
7.3Hypotheses: people, institutions, and innovation166
7.4St. Louis: the bio-belt of the American Midwest168
7.5Entrepreneur and firm-level challenges: a summary176
7.6Innovative coalitions and local visionaries184
7.7What it takes to move the region forward186
7.8St. Louis and Kyoto compared187
7.11Conclusion: hypotheses in comparative perspective198
8.1The socio-political foundations of regional innovation systems205
8.4Innovation theory207
8.5National Cluster policy208
8.7Comparative lessons213
2Global scope of entrepreneurial activity: top fifteen countries222
3Management strategies of semi-Kyoto Model firms225


1.1Rise of Japan as a model economy, 1946–1970spage 2
1.2Japan’s model matures, 1980s3
1.3Japan’s model collapses, 1990s13
1.4Rise of the Kyoto Model, 2000s14
1.5Japan open/closure rates, 1975–200115
2.1GDP share, by sector, 1955–199822
2.2Manufacturing, by region, 1995–199823
2.3Bankruptcy trends, by region, 1995 and 200125
2.4Open/closure rates, by industry, 1999–200126
2.5Diffusion index, by region, 1992–200227
3.1Linear model of innovation60
3.2Chain-linked model of innovation60
4.1Trends in global entrepreneurship, 2002–200393
4.2Map of METI Cluster Plan, 200396
4.3Porter’s diamond model102
5.1Network membership and use121
6.1Management strategies of Kyoto Model firms: Kyocera151
6.2Management strategies of Kyoto Model firms: Murata151
6.3Management strategies of Kyoto Model firms: Omron152
6.4Management strategies of Kyoto Model firms: Rohm152
6.5Management strategies of Kyoto Model firms: Samco International153
A3.1Management strategies of semi-Kyoto Model firms: Horiba225
A3.2Management strategies of semi-Kyoto Model firms: Japan Battery Storage225
A3.3Management strategies of semi-Kyoto Model firms: Nichicon226

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