Association of Japanese Business Studies

A conference dealing with Japanese Management was held at the University of Nebraska in 1984.  For several yeas prior to this conference, the topic had drawn the attention of an increasing number of scholars and researchers, as well as the general public.  One fact that became clear at the conference was that no one organization existed exclusively for Japanese business specialists.  Rather, they had always been part of more generalized organizations, such as the Asian Foundation and the Society of International Management.  A consensus of the conference participants determined that Japanese business scholars needed a small, specialized organization to call their own.  It was clear that to form such an organization would require a fair amount of work.  The Wharton School's U.S.-Japan Management Studies Center (forerunner to the present U.S.-Japan Institute) took the leadership in creating the new association.

In 1985 the Center conducted a survey of all the business schools in the U.S. and Canada, asking the dean of each school to provide the names of their Japan specialists.    From the names received, we invited some 30 Japan specialists to an organization meeting at the Wharton School.  From this meeting's one and half days of discussions, the academic association know as the Association of Japanese Business Studies (AJBS) was born.

These scholars returned to the Wharton School in 1987 for the first official meeting of the new association.  In the years since, the following schools have hosted AJBS meetings: American University, Brigham Young University, University of Colorado, Columbia University, University of Illinois, Japan-American Institute of Management Science (Honolulu), University of Michigan, Nagoya University, New York University, San Francisco State University, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, and Weber State University.  Over the years, the membership of AJBS has expanded beyond business school professors, to include academics in the fields of economics, political science, international relations, sociology, and Asian studies, as well as experts from the government and the private sector.  AJBS now has 350 members, from the U.S., Canada, Asia (including Japan), Europe, and South Africa.

From the very beginning, AJBS has consistently striven to promote well founded research on the Japanese business system, and to provide education based on such research.  The goal of such activities has always been to help promote fact-based understanding of Japan and its business system.

In addition to regular annual meetings, the Association of Japanese Business Studies publishes its proceedings (a collection of selected papers submitted and presented at the annual meetings) and quarterly newsletters.  The AJBS promotes the entry of new scholars into the field of Japanese business studies by devoting a session at each annual meeting to "young scholars."  Additionally, AJBS holds a "Best Paper" competition sponsored by Oxford University Press.

The AJBS Secretariat has recently moved from the U.S.-Japan Institute to California State University.  For the current programs and activities of the Association of Japanese Business Studies, please visit www.ajbs.org.  The AJBS 12th annual meeting will be hosted in 2000 by Keio University in Tokyo.  We invite you to join us.

Toshiaki Taga
Director, U.S.-Japan Institute

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