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Wheelchair Access: Except for an observation point, most paths in Rikugien are almost entirely flat with no significant barriers. Other Facilities: There are also some rooms and a tea ceremony facility that can be rented. Additional Information : The official English site is here. Furukawa Teien also was the personal property of extraordinarily wealthy Japanese individuals in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The land around the Furukawa Teien mansion originally belonged to Munemitsu Mutsu, a Meiji-era statesman and diplomat. The mansion that is the centerpiece of the park dates from The mansion and its distinctive European garden were designed by the English architect Josiah Condor , famous for a number of other European-style buildings in Tokyo.

Others that remain include the Nicolai Cathedral in Ochanomizu and two buildings within the Iwasaki Gardens. Condor is sometimes styled the father of modern Japanese architecture.

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He is honored by a statue on the University of Tokyo campus. He was one of the o-yatoi gaikokujin honored foreign employees brought in to modernize Japan in the first half of the Meiji era and to train Japanese who would replace them. Unlike many of these o-yatoi gaikokujin , Condor went into business for himself as a private practice architect and remained in Japan until his death.

The book dealt with Japanese flower arranging and the plants used for it.

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Public domain reproductions of some of his works can be found on the internet. The English-style garden adds to the foreign character of the mansion by its use of hedges that surround rose beds.

In terms of European formal garden traditions, it is described as a synthesis of Italian and French patterns. Donald Keene , a renowned scholar of Japanese literature who passed away in a Tokyo hospital on the February 24, , kept an apartment that overlooks the Furukawa mansion and gardens. The mansion itself is similar to homes that can be seen in the north of England, especially in Sheffield, where I own a much more modest house.


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The most notable difference between the Furukawa mansion and similar homes from the 19th-century in England is the color of the stone — dark in the Furukawa case, light in the English case. As in the case of the homes to be seen in the north of England, the Furukawa mansion is a symbol of the changes and class divisions brought by industrialization. The Furukawa family that owned the mansion derived its wealth primarily from mining, most notoriously from the Ashio Copper Mine. Violent labor disputes were chronic at this mine, and effluent from it flowed into the Tonegawa Tone River , causing environmental damage over a wide area.

This damage led to the first large-scale anti-pollution movement in Japan. A sense of the exploitation that produced the wealth behind the construction of the Furukawa mansion can be gained from The Ashio Riot of A Social History of Mining Japan Duke University Press , , which is available in an inexpensive paperback edition. The fashion division, for example, had six subdivision managers. To overcome these weaknesses, the chief executive officer made practically all important decisions.

The CEO had long hoped that the conglomerate would specialize in health and beauty products, but had not been successful in developing his vision for the textile business Kanebo had reaped few benefits from synergies between its multiple lines of business.

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Ito even appointed a female director to the board, a startling break from Japanese tradition. The cases just reviewed are by no means typical of all Japanese companies.

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Nonetheless, these cases illustrate some common problems with traditional Japanese management methods. See the insert for an explanation of the cultural background of Japanese management practices. Why have Japanese corporations developed practices that are so distinctly different from American and European techniques? The answer can be traced to deeply rooted characteristics of Japanese society. The most significant of these characteristics are organic harmony, vertical relationships, and dualistic perceptions. The Japanese have a holistic view of society that affects behavior in organizations.

The functions that different members of an organization perform are not specifically singled out. The contribution of each member is not distinguished from the performance of the whole. In such a situation, group performance means more than individual achievements in career development. Harmony and conformity among individual members of a group are central.

The Japanese top executive can foster the strength of the group by safeguarding the well-being of the members of his organization. Paternalistic personnel policies and consensus management promote harmony in an organization. At the same time, another mechanism, the jitsuryoku-sha decision-making system, helps achieve efficiency in operations. The Japanese company appears to have an organizational structure very similar to that of a typical American corporation.

The difference is that the Japanese decision-making process does not reflect the hierarchy as closely as in most American companies. Chie Nakane, the social anthropologist, describes Japanese society as vertically related and organic. This description also applies to Japanese companies. Any member of an organization, even a professional, identifies more with the company than with his profession. A Sony engineer, for instance, is a Sony employee first and last. He is vertically related to the members of his company rather than horizontally related to similar professionals in different organizations.

The concept of vertical relationship also supports lifetime employment and may inhibit the formation of unions on a horizontal basis across different companies. In the Japanese company, employees commit themselves emotionally to the well-being of the organization, which in turn looks after their welfare. The dualistic concepts of tatemae formality and honne essence are deeply embedded in Japanese organizational behavior. In organizational structure, in decision making, and in human relations generally, face-saving in the form of tatemae takes priority.

For instance, the top executive endeavors to keep all executives in his organization contented by assigning them formal positions through orderly promotion and affording them an opportunity to register their agreements through the formal consensus system. At the same time, however, the CEO conducts important business with jitsuryoku-sha executives whom he selects for different tasks.

Similarly, a Japanese executive may encourage his subordinates to take formal steps to initiate a proposal that essentially reflects his own views and wishes. Consensus management. In the typical Japanese corporation, the ringi system is used to build a consensus around major decisions. A ringi document is circulated among managers who have the opportunity to register their agreement by affixing their seals to it. The quality of Japanese decision making is claimed to be high, since managers at all levels participate.

In addition, the system is also said to maintain high morale among employees. Finally, the ringi system allows executives to share and spread risk taking. Consensus management in Japan is often compared to participative management in the West. However, the two are not the same. Consensus management in Japan has subtle objectives and significance that are not easily detected by foreign observers. In practice, the time-consuming process to build consensus is used less to make better decisions than to appease factions in an organization.

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In a typical Japanese company, a handful of jitsuryoku-sha executives, who belong to the mainstream faction led by the CEO, make important decisions. In a well-run Japanese corporation, jitsuryoku-sha executives are highly visible, as are many future jitsuryoku-sha. These executives comprise an elite group who have passed through a series of job rotations. A jitsuryoku-sha manager at the middle-management level is more influential than a senior executive who is outside the mainstream.

In the Lockheed scandal, for example, only jitsuryoku-sha executives of All Japan Airways and Marubeni Corporation were involved, while other executives, even those at very high levels, were essentially bystanders. A change of CEO also means a change in the decision-making group. Consensus management is a mechanism devised through years of experience to moderate power struggles.

Executives outside the mainstream faction are accorded the formality of management participation with the understanding that the same privilege will be reciprocated if the current group should lose power. Disagreements, if any, are likely to come from executives within the jitsuryoku-sha group rather than from outside. This does not mean that an executive outside the main faction cannot make an important proposal, but the chances of such a proposal winning acceptance are very remote.

As a result, many capable Japanese executives become very frustrated with the system. Japanese consensus management is a well-de-signed but formal system that seldom achieves its full potential. At its best, the system draws on the expertise of various executives and moderates factional conflicts. At its worst, it fosters management by factions and diffuses management responsibilities. Bottom-up decision making.


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    Demystifying Japanese Management Practices

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