Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2008 (Revised February 2010)

Yataro Iwasaki: Founding Mitsubishi (A)

by Geoffrey G. Jones, Masako Egawa and Mayuka Yamazaki

Abstract

Considers the entrepreneurial career of the founder of Mitsubishi, Yataro Iwasaki, who built a large shipping company against the opposition of powerful Western incumbents. Although sometimes supported by the Japanese government, and often times opposed, the case identifies Iwasaki's entrepreneurial talent and organization-building skills as key drivers of success. This case provides a vehicle for examining the entrepreneurial factors behind Japan's remarkable transition from a feudal to a modern society in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Keywords: History; Leadership; Business History; Organizational Structure; Entrepreneurship; Business and Government Relations; Japan;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey G., Masako Egawa, and Mayuka Yamazaki. "Yataro Iwasaki: Founding Mitsubishi (A)." Harvard Business School Case 808-158, June 2008. (Revised February 2010.)