Edited by Hugh Thomas and Donna Kelley
Chapter 7: Entrepreneurship Education in Japan
Takeru Ohe* 7.1 THE BREAKDOWN OF HOME-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION Japan is a country made up of well-established family businesses. According to the Teikoku DataBank,1 there are over 19 000 companies more than 100 years old in Japan. Ninety-nine percent of these are classified as family businesses. This is 1.6 percent of the total 1.2 million companies in this country. The oldest company in the world, in fact, is located in Japan. Kongo-gumi, which specializes in building shrines and temples, was established in the year 578, more than 1400 years ago.2 In order to survive over many years, often in severe economic and political environments, these businesses have upheld the entrepreneurial traditions of their family credos. Most of these long-lasting companies have kept these family credos in either written form or unwritten form, passed down to the current generation. The credos emphasize one or more of five basic values: thankfulness, working diligence, innovation, thriftiness, and contribution to society. These five values have been broadly practiced in Japanese society in general. Family members are reminded of these values on a daily basis in their homes. In traditional homes, the living quarters are usually located on the second floor of their stores, or in their plants, or in the same neighborhood. Children grow up observing or helping with the work of their parents or employees on a day-to-day basis. The family credos are clearly expressed daily by their parents or grandparents, or even by managers of the family businesses. Home-based entrepreneurship education...
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