President's Message

"Aiming for the further development in business history studies in Japan"

Makoto Kasuya

In January 2021 I assumed the presidency of the Business History Society of Japan (BHSJ) as the successor to Professor Minoru Sawai. As the new head of BHSJ and its 726 members I pledge to make every endeavor to further the study of business history in Japan.

              While research in business history in Japan has expanded in scope and gained depth during the more than fifty years since the establishment of the BHSJ, the society faces numerous challenges. Among them, the following two are in my view the greatest. The first is globalization. Mobility all over the world has been enhanced; international cooperation in research has been improved; and access to historical materials has been facilitated thanks to digitalization. With the rapid diffusion of applications for online meetings since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, we can more easily meet virtually with people on the opposite side of the globe, although the problem of time difference remains. Moreover, thanks to recent progress in microeconomics we can investigate firms and organizations using advanced theoretical and statistical methodologies. With so many new tools at our disposal, we must avoid generalizations about the features of the firms or countries we investigate, and strive to analyze our themes more thoroughly from broader perspectives using a variety of sources as evidence, tasks that have become increasingly difficult for one scholar to accomplish alone. Given these circumstances, it is more important than ever for researchers to collaborate with colleagues not only in Japan but also in countries around the world. The second World Congress on Business History, which was postponed until September 2021, is to be held online, and provides us with an excellent opportunity to exchange our views with colleagues all over the world.

              The second challenge is Japan’s declining birthrate and aging population. With the retirement of baby boomers we need to attract the interest of the younger generation. The support of our members is needed to guide emerging historians in their research and encourage them in their efforts to develop new frameworks. These efforts will help BHSJ to continue to publish high-quality articles in Keieishigaku (Japan Business History Review) and our English language publication, Japanese Research in Business History. In this age of globalization, our publications must include international and theoretical perspectives as well as ample, up-to-date historical findings. We must also strive to cooperate with scholars of business administration as well as businesspeople, who often face issues where historical perspectives would provide them with useful insights.

              Last but not least, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to our corporate members and institutions for their generous support of our activities, including the Best Paper Award and the publication of Japanese Research in Business History. During my tenure as president, I look forward to working with all the members of BHSJ to overcome the problems caused by COVID-19 while also making every effort to enhance business history research with our colleagues around the world.