chapter  11
25 Pages

Emerging postwar-type managers and their learning of American technology and management

The consumer chemicals industry and the case of Kao
ByAkira Kudo, Motoi Ihara

Typified by synthetic detergents, the consumer chemicals industry was one of the industrial sectors that helped advance the Second Industrial Revolution and establish a mass consumption society.1 In Japan, the consumer chemicals sector traces its history back to the end of the ninteenth century. Its full-scale development, however, arrived only after the Second World War with the full advent of a mass consumption society in Japan. In the postwar period, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, in this industry like many others in Japan, the gap in technology and management techniques between Japan and the West, especially the United States, was very large. Consequently, the impact from the United States was overwhelming. In the Japanese consumer chemicals manufacturing industry, firms actively learned from the United States and attempted to catch up.