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Re-Conceiving Japanese Management for the 21st Century

11th TOPOS Conference Overview

Close to half a century ago, in 1968, Japan’s economic growth rate was eight times stronger than it was directly following World War II, and it became the world’s second largest economic power after the United States. Even now, there is no country on Earth that has made such dramatic progress in such a brief period, which is why it was once called the “Japanese Miracle”.

This historical success was initially affected by macroeconomic factors such as the markets and currency exchange, but from the mid-term onwards, this “miracle” was rooted in Japan’s unique management systems and styles.

However, in recent years, the principle of “continuous improvement,” which is a cornerstone of Japanese management, remained at the level of production sites, and did not lead to improvement or evolution in corporate management. Rather, from the traps of success and the challenges of the burst bubble, Japanese-style management has been rejected in favor of a frictionless shift to a Western management style. On the other hand, however, European and American companies have open-mindedly studied Japanese companies, introducing the strengths and positive points they uncover, thereby increasing the breadth and depth of their management.

Japanese-style management must be re-conceived for the 21st century.

As the TOPOS Conference enters its second season with this challenge as the theme, we reevaluate Japan’s post-war growth and the post-bubble stagnation based on consistent logic, introducing new ideas and seminal cases, with the intention of discussing ways of realizing Japanese corporate management innovation.

Peter Drucker, who identified Japanese companies which had an ideal form, "Japan As Number One" author Ezra Vogel, “The Art of Japanese Management” author Richard Pascale, and so on. Why did American management scholars evaluate Japanese management so highly? As the central ethos of Japanese management is continuous improvement, was it exceptional innovation and evolution that attracted these scholars? Of course, it was not limited to this. But perhaps by introducing new forms of Japan-style management, Japanese companies can achieve their full potential.

Global management guru Henry Mintzberg. University of California, Berkeley professor Steven Vogel, author of “Japan Remodeled,” and researcher on the political and market economy of Japan and other advanced nations. Richard Straub, President of the Peter Drucker Society of Europe. Tadao Kagono, Kobe University Professor Emeritus who has studied and observed practices of Japanese management with Professor Ikujiro Nonaka. Through discussions with such Phronimos (possessors of wisdom), and with the on-the-ground experience of the business executives who are creating new forms of Japanese businesses, we hope to discuss together the direction to aim for towards the future.

Application (Japanese page)

The 11th Topos Conference has ended. Our thanks to all the attendees and participants.

Event Information

Date/Time Friday, Sep 22, 2017 13:20-20:30 (Doors open 12:20)
Venue Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 49th Floor, Academy Hills
Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi,Minato-ku,Tokyo [MAP] Phone: 03-6406-6649
Host Host: w3i (World Wise Web Initiative)
Sponsors: TKC Group Limited, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company,
Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc., Japan Innovation Network
Supported by:  Fujitsu Research Institute
Attendance 20,000JPY (tax included)
Languages Japanese, English (simultaneous interpretation)


※The program may change

13:20~13:30 Program
13:30~15:00 TOPOS 1: Japanese Management in the Age of Innovation
15:00~16:20 TOPOS 2: Fundamental Values and Systems of Japanese Management
16:20~16:35 Intermission
16:35~18:00 TOPOS 3:The Potential of Japanese Society and Organizations
18:00~18:30 Summary: Ikujiro Nonaka, Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University
18:30~20:30 Networking Session


※Speakers may be changed without notice

(Alphabetical order)

Jérôme Chouchan
Godiva Japan, Inc.
President & CEO
Makoto Hamamatsu
Co-Founder / President
Yumiko Kamada
Calbee, Inc.
Senior Executive Officer
Teiko Kudo
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Managing Executive Officer
Takeshi Nakano
Richard Straub
Peter Drucker Society Europe
Founder & President

Global Peter Drucker Forum
Ken Tamagawa
CEO & Founder
Steven K. Vogel
University of California, Berkeley
Il Han New Professor of Asian Studies
Professor of Political Science
Michimasa Fujino
Video Message
Honda Aircraft Company
President & CEO
Tadao Kagono
Video Message
Kobe University
Professor Emeritus
Henry Mintzberg
Video Message
McGill University
John Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies (Strategy and Organization)

Coordinators / Facilitators

Mirano Haneda
Noboru Konno
Tama University Graduate School
w3i Founder
Ikujiro Nonaka
野中 郁次郎
Hitotsubashi University
w3i Founder


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