chapter  1
16 Pages

Introduction

WithKumazawa Makoto

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the state of being and consciousness of Japanese workers, especially organized workers. It attempts to apprehend the human image of Japan's organized workers by examining postwar workplace history and the current state of quality control circle activities, perhaps the most "typically Japanese" workplace activity. The book focuses on how workers in postwar Japan reinterpreted the prevailing ideas of the prewar and wartime years. It describes the labor-management policies that systematized a Japanese-style emphasis on merit and ability, and discusses the relationship of meritocratic programs to the failure of enterprise-based unions to transcend the "limits". The book also discusses changes in management policy and the nature of work at a major bank during the years of high-speed growth by using a single bank worker's extensive diaries.