News & Highlights

  • DECEMBER 2018

The Harbus: A conversation with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi: Lessons to business leaders from Japanese companies

For many decades, Japan’s corporate culture has been an enigma to many. Even more puzzling still was how a small, resource-poor nation grew at one point to become the world’s second largest economy. The Harbus met with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi to demystify what makes Japan unique and what lessons could be drawn.
  • DECEMBER 2018

HBS Working Knowledge: Honda Created a Civic for Very Light Jets. How High Will It Fly?

After thirty years of research and development, the HondaJet is now the top selling jet in the very light jet segment of the market. In this podcast, Professor Gary Pisano discusses how Honda Aircraft Corporation CEO Michimasa Fujino brought the jet to life, and must decide on ways to grow the business.
  • OCTOBER 2017

HBS Professor Tsedal Neely's New Book on Rakuten's Language Practices

Tsedal Neely, associate professor in the Organizational Behavior unit, discusses corporate language strategies and their importance for globalization in her new book "The Language of Global Succes: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations." Neely gives an in-depth look at the Japanese company, Rakuten, and how the firm navigates its English lingua franca mandate over a period of five years.

New Research on the Region

  • February 2019
  • Case

Honda Innovations: Leveraging External Insights to Accelerate Creation

Nick Sugimoto, CEO of Honda Innovations—the open innovation organization of Honda, has to decide how to extend his organization’s approach to innovation across the world. Honda Innovations dates back to 2000 when Honda created Honda Research Institute in Silicon Valley. Since then, the organization has evolved through various models from a venture capital fund to its current form as Honda’s corporate innovation effort. The case describes the various approaches to innovation between Honda and outside firms and how it fits into an increasingly dynamic car industry.

  • December 2018
  • Case

Shiseido: Reinvesting in Brand

By: Jill Avery and Nobuo Sato

Shiseido was in the midst of a six year corporate turnaround, trying to reverse the effects of decades of under-investment in R&D and marketing which had led to a cycle of declining customer support and brand value. Would the CEO’s VISION 2020 plan, centered on four strategies: 1.) increasing R&D spending from 1.8% to 3% of sales, 2.) investing an incremental ¥120 billion in brand-building marketing, 3.) moving to a “think global-act local” matrixed brand management structure, and 4.) rethinking brand portfolio strategy, be enough to achieve aggressive 8% per year sales goals while simultaneously increasing the company’s operating margin from 8% to 10% in the highly competitive and slow growing beauty industry?

  • Forthcoming
  • Article
  • Journal of Financial Economics

Governance Through Shame and Aspiration: Index Creation and Corporate Behavior

By: Akash Chattopadhyay, Matthew D. Shaffer and Charles C.Y. Wang

After decades of deprioritizing shareholders' economic interests and low corporate profitability, Japan introduced the JPX-Nikkei400 in 2014. The index highlighted the country's "best-run" companies by annually selecting the 400 most profitable of its large and liquid firms. We find that managers competed for inclusion in the index by significantly increasing ROE, and they did so at least in part due to their reputational or status concerns. The ROE increase was predominantly driven by improvements in margins, which were in turn partially driven by cutting R&D intensity. Our findings suggest that indexes can affect managerial behavior through reputational or status incentives.

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Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
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Office Manager