Recently I wrote about some core differences in the way capitalism functions in Japan, for example how the distributors J-List buys products from will go out of their way to avoid infringing on business relationships we’ve established with other companies instead of trying to increase their own sales at the expense of a competitor. Another nice thing about Japan is the lack of price gouging in some situations. When I took my son to Hakodate, Hokkaido to watch the legendary night view of the city (the Japanese are into appreciating night views), I was prepared to pay a lot for the privilege because of the unique location. I was pleasantly surprised — two plates of curry rice and a beer was less than $25. Another unique facet of business in Japan is the history of the old zaibatsu business cartels, groups of companies which held great sway during the industrialization of Japan, the oldest (Sumitomo) with history going back nearly 400 years. The zaibatsu cartels are gone now, broken up after WWII, but the companies are still organized in loose groups like the Yasuda or Mitsui conglomerates. I had friend whose father was a manager in the Kirin Beer company, part of the Mitsubishi Group, and he was such a loyal employee that he refused to buy any product from a company outside this group.
The most beautiful view in Japan, yet the beer is just 500 yen.