The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism

1st Edition

Edited by Sébastien Lechevalier


204 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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In the 1980s the performance of Japan’s economy was an international success story, and led many economists to suggest that the 1990s would be a Japanese decade. Today, however, the dominant view is that Japan is inescapably on a downward slope. Rather than focusing on the evolution of the performance of Japanese capitalism, this book reflects on the changes that it has experienced over the past 30 years, and presents a comprehensive analysis of the great transformation of Japanese capitalism from the heights of the 1980s, through the lost decades of the 1990s, and well into the 21st century.

This book posits an alternative analysis of the Japanese economic trajectory since the early 1980s, and argues that whereas policies inspired by neo-liberalism have been presented as a solution to the Japanese crisis, these policies have in fact been one of the causes of the problems that Japan has faced over the past 30 years. Crucially, this book seeks to understand the institutional and organisational changes that have characterised Japanese capitalism since the 1980s, and to highlight in comparative perspective, with reference to the ‘neo-liberal moment’, the nature of the transformation of Japanese capitalism. Indeed, the arguments presented in this book go well beyond Japan itself, and examine the diversity of capitalism, notably in continental Europe, which has experienced problems that in many ways are also comparable to those of Japan.

The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism will appeal to students and scholars of both Japanese politics and economics, as well as those interested in comparative political economy.


The range of material covered is impressive. It is not often that a book makes you sit up and reflect carefully on your own understanding of Japan, which tends to be compartmentalized, acquired piecemeal, over time, and subject to various biases. This book does that. For me its value lies in what is says about changes to the Japanese

variety of capitalism on the one hand, and the insights it offers about the French r!egulation approach to varieties of capitalism on the other. It should appear in reading lists on the Japanese economy and society, varieties of capitalism and institutions. - D. Hugh Whittaker, University of Oxford

Nevertheless, with all its profound insights, The Great Transformation of Japanese Capitalism should be picked up by scholars and students interested in the analysis of capitalism and its subcomponents, be they the business system, labor-management relations, employment, or the welfare state. - Mari Sako, University of Oxford

At the end of this book, some changes already mentioned— the increase of inequalities and uncertainty; the difficulties met by families to play their role—seem to be clear. Yet the picture is far from being complete. This is precisely why the book is so enlightening a sociological approach Japan. It opens up promising avenues for research. Some case studies beyond the company world would help to clarify the picture of its links with related social contexts. - César Castellvi, University of Tokyo

Table of Contents

Preface, Sébastien Lechevalier Foreword: From ‘Japanophilia’ to Indifference? Three decades of research on contemporary Japan, Robert Boyer Introduction: Seven Japanese Lessons on the Diversity of Capitalism and its Future, Sébastien Lechevalier 1. Thirty Years of Neo-Liberal Reforms in Japan, Yves Tiberghien 2. Is this the End of the J-Model of the Firm?, Sébastien Lechevalier 3. Is Japanese capitalism still coordinated?, Sébastien Lechevalier 4. What is the Nature of the Japanese Social Compromise Today?, Sébastien Lechevalier 5. Which education system in a neoliberal world?, Sébastien Lechevalier and Arnaud Nanta 6. Is convergence towards the Silicon Valley model the only way for the Japanese innovation system?, Sébastien Lechevalier 7. Should Japanese capitalism adapt itself to globalization?, Sébastien Lechevalier Conclusion, Sébastien Lechevalier

About the Author/Editor

Sebastien Lechevalier is Associate Professor at the EHESS in France.

About the Series

Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies