Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Hedge Fund Activism in Japan
The Limits of Shareholder Primacy

  • Date Published: November 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107672505


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Hedge fund activism is an expression of shareholder primacy, an idea that has come to dominate discussion of corporate governance theory and practice worldwide over the past two decades. This book provides a thorough examination of public and often confrontational hedge fund activism in Japan in the period between 2001 and the full onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. In Japan this shareholder-centric conception of the company espoused by activist hedge funds clashed with the alternative Japanese conception of the company as an enduring organisation or a 'community'. By analysing this clash, the book derives a fresh view of the practices underpinning corporate governance in Japan and offers suggestions regarding the validity of the shareholder primacy ideas currently at the heart of US and UK beliefs about the purpose of the firm.

    • Provides an account of hedge fund activism in Japan until the global financial crisis that has been reported but not compiled and analysed in this form before
    • Reopens the debate on whether shareholder value and shareholder primacy are really the universal standard on which to base corporate governance
    • Places corporate governance in Japan and elsewhere in a clear context that shows its development as a logical process rather than an 'historical accident'
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Burrough and Helyar's Barbarians at the Gate now has a worthy successor. Buchanan et al.'s subtitle might be 'The Barbarians with a Foot in the Door'. The 'activist' American and European funds have acted as the advance guard of that 'pure' form of Anglo-Saxon capitalism which sees shareholder profit as the supreme good. Their descriptions of the funds' various raids on decently efficient but naive Japanese companies make fascinating reading, and their judgements are judicious.' Ronald Dore, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'Quiet hedge fund activism has been more successful than noisy activism in Japan. Buchanan, Chai and Deakin show why, guiding us through the nuances of Japanese corporate governance. Perhaps their greatest achievement, though, is to further situate Japanese corporate governance as an understandable postwar response to the (universal) incompleteness of company law for joint stock companies, socially conditioned like the responses which created shareholder primacy and hedge fund activism in the US.' Hugh Whittaker, University of Auckland

    'No-one, not even among Japanese scholars, has ever successfully uncovered the full story of hedge fund activism in Japan. This truly pioneering work depicts the eventual failure of confrontational hedge fund activism in Japan after its rapid rise and momentary success. The authors also shed light on the limitations of the shareholder primacy model, emphasizing the resilience of the Japanese 'firm-centric' corporate governance model in the recent unprecedented turmoil.' Takeshi Inagami, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Sociology, University of Tokyo

    'Well-researched and illuminating.' Financial Times

    'Even without an understanding of this literature, readers will of course find this book a treasure trove of stimulating ideas and will enjoy the anecdotes and examples introduced on nearly every page.' Administrative Science Quarterly

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107672505
    • length: 388 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    Note on transcriptions of Japanese names
    1. Introduction: hedge fund activism, Japanese corporate governance, and the nature of the company
    2. Companies, company law, and corporate governance
    3. The rise of shareholder primacy in America and Britain
    4. The emergence of activist hedge funds
    5. Firm-centric corporate governance: the evolution of the Japanese model
    6. Japan's unexpected credentials as a target for hedge fund activism
    7. The anatomy of hedge fund activism: funds, targets and outcomes
    8. Two turning points: Bull-Dog Sauce and J-Power
    9. Responding to activism: managers, investors, officials and the media
    10. 'Quiet activism': the future for shareholder engagement in Japan?
    11. Conclusion: after shareholder primacy
    Methodological appendix

  • Authors

    John Buchanan, University of Cambridge
    John Buchanan is a research associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. His first degree was in oriental studies and subsequently he worked as a commercial banker in Brazil, Japan and Spain, and then as an investment banker in the UK and Japan, at both British and Japanese banks. He has been studying Japanese corporate governance since 2002.

    Dominic Heesang Chai, Seoul National University
    Dominic Chai is Assistant Professor of Strategy and International Management at Seoul National University. He has held a faculty position at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and a junior research fellowship at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

    Simon Deakin, University of Cambridge
    Simon Deakin is Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law and an associate faculty member of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. He has directed an interdisciplinary programme of research on corporate governance at the Centre for Business Research in Cambridge since the early 1990s. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 2005.

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.