Alarmist Nikkei Business cover re Chinese business practices: “Chapan: Your new boss is Chinese”


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Hi Blog.  Get a load of this Nikkei Business cover (courtesy of MS).  Nothing like a bit of Photoshop to add a Chinese-style torii (and a crappy shadow against the sun) in the middle of Ginza to create alarm and sell papers:  “Your new boss is Chinese”, reads the headline, coining the word “Chapan”.

Also enjoy the typical invective that invades Japanese business rhetoric:  Rakuten’s “enemy” is America’s Amazon Inc and China’s Ali Baba.  As Chalmers Johnson wrote back in 1980 (article here for those who can access it), Japanese companies don’t just enter a market, they “hit the beaches” (jouriku suru).  So let’s gird the troops for battle, especially now that we’re on a defensive posture.  I don’t know which is worse — the sh*t-eating grins and claims of superiority (when Japan was a rising economy during the Bubble Economy), or the sore-loser crybaby language one sees nowadays, even though Japan can’t clean up its act (debtwise, for example), or accept that the current way of doing business may not be sustainable.  Better to resort to aggressive invective against the outsider, I guess.  Those are my thoughts on a crabby morning after watching too much early-morning World Cup.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


12 comments on “Alarmist Nikkei Business cover re Chinese business practices: “Chapan: Your new boss is Chinese”

  • jjobseeker says:

    Well, going back to the soccer analogy from a couple posts back, I’d rather have a somewhat over aggressive player who still plays a solid game over some whiny “flopper” always crying foul or trying to draw the foul.

    Japan knows what it has to do to be competitive, but the powers-that-were tried to maintain the status quo. To admit to the need for a newer, progressive policies would be an admission of guilt with regard to their own inadequacies, something you will not get from them. It’s much easier to point fingers at someone else.

  • You have to wonder about that photo. Did Mitsukoshi approve it? That’s a pretty blatant (and by chance red/yellow) banner for a super “refurbishing” sale (under new foreign management?). And as you say, the Photoshop job is crap and an embarrassment to a magazine of this supposed stature.

  • Banker Cat says:

    I see more vituperation in your post than I do in the magazine headlines. I understand you’re crabby, but you lose credibility when you lash out with invectives at media outlets for their use of, um, invectives.

    — Hey! I resemble that remark! Point taken. 🙂

  • I dunno. I see this one fitting a pattern here: negotiate a great deal with a foreigner, and then turn around and b–ch (complain) about it.

    Again, it’s a minority of Japanese who do it here, but they tend to stick out like a sore thumb. The same people who complain about working for a foreign capital corporation, where it isn’t so clear that there is a nice Japanese capital company waiting with a job for them.

  • I thought Rakuten was partnerning with a big Chinese internet sales company. I don’t remember which though.

  • GiantPanda says:

    Did anyone see the inflammatory TV show last night around 7pm “Nihon wa Abunai!” Didn’t really note what channel it was on as I was bathing and putting kids to bed, but it was quite shocking. It showed wealthy Chinese coming to Japan to invest in real estate, and taking tours to Mt. Fujii, and buying cottages to holiday in. This was not shocking of course, but the way in which this information was presented and played out to the Japanese public was. The whole tone of the show was “look at these Chinese!! They are invading Japan!!” and it was borderline offensive if you happened to be Chinese (which my hubby is. And he WAS offended). One part also focused on skilled Japanese machinists going to China and getting work in factories there (good for them, you might say, except this was presented as “China stealing our skilled technicians!”)

    The whole China panic push has been building up for years, but it seems extra efforts are being put into it lately.

  • Luke,

    This article has 2 obvious flaws: it uses a straw man to defeat Paul Krugman’s argument and the false choice fallacy to promote the credibility of Austrian economics, 2 logical fallacies to promote 1 theory.

    The article claims that Japan’s public should rationally expect its central bank to promote inflation because central banks have a history of promoting inflation, so clearly a lack of credible inflation-promoting is not the problem.
    In fact, Japan’s central bank has resisted for decades any smidgen of inflation and inflation effectively has been 0 or negative for as long as I have been aware. What other central banks have done is not relevant, since it has not been relevant anytime in Japan’s national memory. Therefore, this article uses a straw man to strike down conventional economic theory.

    Then, it uses false choice to claim, well, since other schools of economics don’t work, only Austrian stuff is left! This is another classical logical fallacy: if not A and B, then it must be C! What about D, E, and F you didn’t think of?

    An article using 2 logical fallacies to promote the Austrian school of economics as an explanation for Japan’s economic non-growth does not strike me as appealing for the Debito website or indeed any rational person. It’s also completely off-topic, but keeps getting brought up, so I feel it should be addressed and set aside for good.

  • @Bob,
    I disagree with your analysis of the article, but I do agree that Debito’s blog is probably not the best place to discuss economic theory, despite the fact that Luke’s assessment of “unsustainable” is spot on.

    Back to the original post.

    The Nikkei is trying to sell magazines and a headline like that will sell magazines. The problem is the fear and hate mongering that will be fueled by an increase in articles/headlines like this in the Japanese media. When will it stop? Unfortunately, I think as Japan declines in economic power and in population the fear will only increase. I hope that is not the case, but from my own personal experience, I feel that the xenophobia has only increased over the last 10 years. Or maybe I am just more sensitive to it now.

  • “Again, it’s a minority of Japanese who do it here, but they tend to stick out like a sore thumb. The same people who complain about working for a foreign capital corporation, where it isn’t so clear that there is a nice Japanese capital company waiting with a job for them.”

    Ive also observed this while working for a MNC in Japan, so I wouldnt say its a minority. Its one reason why I dont like working for MNCs in Japan. Many Japanese who work there want something different from the old school Japanese companies, but dont want to compromise or conform at the MNC, instead complaining and whinning about the foriegn management and forming groups for security. what a pain.


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