News & Highlights

  • 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.
  • APRIL 2017

Professor Ethan Bernstein in Tokyo

Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Berol Corporation Fellow, Ethan Bernstein, studies the impact of workplace transparency on productivity, with implications for leadership, collaboration, organization design, and new forms of organizing. In April, he traveled to Tokyo to present his recent research on "digitizing leadership" to a group of 30+ alumni from the region. He also connected his research to a new Immersive Field Course HBS is offering to EC students in the coming academic year - "Japan; Innovation through the Fusion of Digital and Analog," being co-taught by Bernstein and Professor Management Practice, Hirotaka Takeuchi.
  • March 2017

Japan IFC 2017: What 43 HBS Students Learned From Entrepreneurs in Tohoku

The Japan IFC (Immersive Field Course), an HBS MBA elective course taught by Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi, was completed with another huge success in January 2017. The program started as a response to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and has been offered for the six consecutive years. This year, the program was held under the theme of “Tohoku: The World’s Test Market for Authentic Entrepreneurship” from January 4 to January 13.

New Research on the Region

  • August 2018
  • Teaching Material

Conducting a Kaizen

Kaizen, meaning change for the better in Japanese, is a set of activities directed at improving standardized work, equipment, and procedures for carrying out daily production or other business operations. It was poularized by Toyota as an integral part of its Toyota Production System. This note provides describes some of the underlying practices, and a simple outline for conducting a kaizen event.

  • June 2018
  • Case

Japan: Deficits, Deflation and Debt

By: Richard H.K. Vietor and Haviland Sheldahl-Thomason

In April 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was again in Washington to petition Donald Trump. After years of rapid, export-led growth, Japan had slumped into recession in 1991 and never really recovered. For the past 27 years, its economy has grown at 1.1% annually, plagued by deflation. After several attempts at quantitative easing, Abe had commenced a radical program in 2012 called Quantitative and Qualitative Easing – the first of “three arrows” to repair the Japanese economy. But in early 2018, inflation was still far below the 2% goal, growth had turned negative, and Abe faced the highest debt among the OECD. Together with demographic, energy and security problems, Abe had his hands full, while President Trump roiled the waters in China and North Korea.

  • June 2018
  • Case


By: Stefan Thomke, Atsushi Osanai and Akiko Kanno

Sony used to be synonymous with "innovation" and "cool products." The case reveals how the company lost its edge and describes the leadership initiatives to restore its former glory. In 2012, Kazuo (Kaz) Hirai becomes CEO and successfully transforms Sony, including a relentless focus on differentiation through "wow" products instead of chasing scale. How should he organize and manage the company's response to digital opportunities, such as virtual reality, that could affect the company's entire value chain?

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Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
Executive Director
Akiko Kanno
Senior Researcher
Yukari Takizawa
Staff Assistant
Naoko Jinjo
Senior Researcher