AAS Annual Meeting

Japan Session 191

[ Japan Sessions, Table of Contents | Panels by World Area Main Menu ]

Session 191: Workshop: Japanese Company Histories: their resource value and limitations in relation to corporate archives, and business administration and area studies - Sponsored by Japanese Company Histories (Shashi) Interest Group

Organizer: Hiroyuki N. Good, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Discussants: Tokiko Y. Bazzell, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA; Maureen H. Donovan, Ohio State University, USA; Yasuhiro Eguchi, Independent Scholar, Japan; Makoto Okamoto, Independent Scholar, Japan

Japanese company histories, compiled by the companies themselves, are often considered to be self-serving and sanitized publications. However, keeping in mind their limitations, these materials can be useful for studying Japanese history and business administration. In addition to company histories, corporate archivists also keep company data and other primary resources related business administration. While most corporate archives are not open to the public, but some have been moved to accessible collective repositories. These materials too should be a part of company history studies. How can both types of resources be used to complement each other? An example is suggested by the history of Chinese-Japanese relations. By the late 1960s China had fallen into a food crisis created by the Cultural Revolution. Seeking to import chemical fertilizer plants from Japan, China changed her diplomatic policies, first initiating ping-pong diplomacy in 1971, and inviting Nixon to visit and normalizing diplomatic relations with Japan in 1972. How were Japanese table-tennis, chemical fertilizer, and trading companies involved in the behind-the-scenes diplomatic negotiations? What can we discover about this from company histories? This workshop invites a corporate archivist, a professor of business administration, a historian, and a librarian to discuss the resource value of company histories, corporate archives, corporate studies and area studies.