Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal

Book launch details:

29 November 2012

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:30pm

13/ 14 Conwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London, NW1 4QP, Nr Baker Street Tube

Organised by The Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation

After becoming President of Olympus in April 2011, Michael Woodford became aware of some large unexplained payments the company had made in relation to overseas acquisitions. When satisfactory explanations were not forthcoming, he kicked up a fuss, only to be dismissed by the company’s board in October. He had stumbled on one of Japan’s largest and longest-running ever “tobashi”, or loss-hiding, schemes. The resulting scandal led to the arrest of seven Olympus executives, including the former Chairman, and a drop of 75% in the company’s stock market value, as well as a revival of broader concerns about Japanese corporate governance and audit standards. Introducing his new book, Woodford will give us the inside story.

“Michael Woodford had everything the corporate world could ever offer. Yet when he discovered rampant corruption at the core of one of Japan’s most prestigious companies, he did not hesitate. This is a sensational personal account of a man of great courage and principle who got to the top, and blew the whistle to glorious effect. In the corporate world Michael Woodford is too rare and exceptional a breed.”    -Jon Snow, Channel 4 News.

* The book will be available for purchase on the day.

Michael Woodford

Michael Woodford grew up in Liverpool and joined Olympus as a medical equipment salesman, rising through the ranks to run its UK, MEA and European businesses. In April 2011, he was appointed President and COO of the Olympus Corporation – the first Western ‘salary-man’ to rise through the ranks to the top of a Japanese giant. That October he was made CEO, but only two weeks later, he was dismissed after querying inexplicable payments approaching $2 billion. He was named Business Person of the Year 2011 by the Sunday Times, the Independent and theSun, and won the Financial Times Arcelor-Mittal Award for Boldest Businessperson of the Year. He lives in London with his wife and two teenage children.

Hedge Fund Activism in Japan: The Limits of Shareholder Primacy

5 July 2012

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Hedge fund activism is an expression of shareholder primacy, an idea that has come to dominate discussion of corporate governance theory and practice worldwide over the past two decades. This book provides a thorough examination of public and often confrontational hedge fund activism in Japan in the period between 2001 and the full onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. In Japan this shareholder-centric conception of the company espoused by activist hedge funds clashed with the alternative Japanese conception of the company as an enduring organisation or a ‘community’. By analysing this clash, the book derives a fresh view of the practices underpinning corporate governance in Japan and offers suggestions regarding the validity of the shareholder primacy ideas currently at the heart of US and UK beliefs about the purpose of the firm.

Dr John Buchanan

Dr John Buchanan is a research associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. His first degree was in oriental studies and subsequently he worked as a commercial banker in Brazil, Japan and Spain, and then as an investment banker in the UK and Japan, at both British and Japanese banks. He has been studying Japanese corporate governance since 2002.

Professor Simon Deakin

Professor Simon Deakin is Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law and Fellow of Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge. He has directed an interdisciplinary programme of research on corporate governance at the Centre for Business Research in Cambridge since the early 1990s. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005.

The book will be available on the day at the discounted price of £48.


Hard Times in the Hometown: A History of Community Survival in Modern Japan

10 May 2012

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

By Martin Dusinberre

Published by University of Hawaii Press

Hard Times in the Hometown tells the story of Kaminoseki, a small town on Japan’s Inland Sea. Once one of the most prosperous ports in the country, Kaminoseki fell into profound economic decline following Japan’s reengagement with the West in the late-nineteenth century. Using a recently discovered archive and oral histories collected during his years of research in Kaminoseki, Martin Dusinberre reconstructs the lives of households and townspeople as they tried to make sense of their changing place in the world. In challenging the familiar story of modern Japanese growth, Dusinberre provides important new insights into how ordinary people shaped the development of the modern state.

Chapters describe the role of local revolutionaries in the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the ways townspeople grasped opportunities to work overseas in the late nineteenth century, and the impact this pan-Pacific diaspora community had on Kaminoseki during the pre-war decades. These histories amplify Dusinberre’s analysis of post-war rural decline – a phenomenon found not only in Japan but throughout the industrialized Western world. His account comes to a climax when, in the 1980s, the town’s councillors request the construction of a nuclear power station, unleashing a storm of protests from within the community. This ongoing nuclear dispute has particular resonance in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

Hard Times in the Hometown gives voice to personal histories otherwise lost in abandoned archives. By bringing to life the everyday landscape of Kaminoseki, this work offers readers a compelling story through which to better understand not only nineteenth- and twentieth-century Japan but also modern transformations more generally.

* The book will be available on the day at the discounted price of £40.

Dr Martin Dusinberre

Dr Martin Dusinberre is Lecturer in Modern Japanese History at Newcastle University. His research focuses on the social and cultural history of Japan from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He has published articles on the Japanese nuclear power industry in The Journal of Asian Studies (2011) and on the pre-war Japanese diaspora in Japan Forum (2008). He has also written for The GuardianReuters and the History Workshop website. From 2011 – 2012, he is a Visiting Professor at Heidelberg University, where he is starting a new research project on the maritime history of late-nineteenth-century Japan. He was educated at the School of Oriental Studies, Kyushu University and Oxford University, where he completed his DPhil in 2008. Hard Times in the Hometown is his first book.

Professor Janet Hunter

Professor Janet Hunter (discussant) is Saji Professor of Economic History and Head of the Department of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). Her research interests lie in the economic development of Japan with particular reference to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her publications include: The historical consumer: consumption and everyday life in Japan1850-2000 (ed. with P. Francks, 2011),Women and the Labour Market in Japan’s Industrialising Economy (2003, Japanese edition 2008) and History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600-2000: Economic Relations (with S. Sugiyama, 2001). She is currently working on the economic impact of natural disasters in Japan, focussing in particular on the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

Japan — 日本

JAPAN — 日本


via Montevideo, 9

Mostra fotografica e presentazione del libro – progetto realizzato lungo un viaggio durato 12 mesi in Giappone  .

Vernissage: 8 marzo 2012 ore 18.30 /22.30 – Cocktail by Midori

Sound Curated by Kisk (Apparel Music)

‎Combines XL Gallery , l’associazione atelier spazio Xpo’  e Spazi Possibili sono lieti di comunicare l’evento charity che inaugurerà l’8 marzo-2012.

Si tratta della mostra fotografica e presentazione del libro intitolato:

JAPAN — 日本

Autori e fotografi: Tina Bagué (Barcelona, 1974), Toru Morimoto (Akashi, Japan, 1972)

Testi di: Carlos Rubio, Tina Bagué,Toru Morimoto

Un momento importante di analisi e riflessione per immagini sul Giappone contemporaneo, a quasi un anno di distanza dalla prima catastrofe seguita in diretta con i canali web 2.0 da tutto il mondo tecnologicamente sviluppato.

Si tratta dell’ opening di una mostra fotografica di scatti realizzati durante un progetto itinerante che raccontano un Giappone inconsueto dai clichè. Scatti a colori e bianco e nero realizzati lungo un viaggio  affrontato dai due fotografi, durato 42.000 KM, per 12 mesi.

La mostra sarà introdotta da Christian Gancitano, esperto di culture “asian pop”, arte, costume  e società giapponesi che parlerà di questo interessante progetto di qualità ma anche dell’attuale situazione del Giappone, del movimento antinuclearista che sta crescendo in modo significativo, della percezione dei problemi che questa grande nazione ha considerato primari subito dopo il grande terremoto e la “grande onda” TSUNAMI, già prevista peraltro dalle stampe “Ukiyo-e” con il famoso soggetto de “la grande onda” di Hokusai. Una nazione che si pone il problema dell’approvvigionamento  energetico e di mantenimento dello sviluppo economico, che dopo le bombe atomiche subite durante la seconda guerra mondiale ha saputo divenire la seconda potenza economica mondiale, superata di recente solo dalla Cina.

Un fotografo giapponese e una fotografa di Barcelona, una relazione ideale tra lo sguardo orientale e occidentale che spesso si fondono e si confrontano, per raccontare con le immagini il Giappone attuale nella sua realtà ancora “fluttuante” e per molti aspetti tutta da scoprire.

Mostra fotografica e catalogo tradotto in 4 lingue (inglese, spagnolo, giapponese e francese)

Il 10% del ricavato della vendita delle fotografie andrà alla prefettura di Fukushima in beneficienza ai bambini rimasti orfani dopo la tragedia dello TSUNSAMI dell’11-marzo-2011.

Il libro-catalogo è stato presentato per la prima volta il 31 ottobre 2011
presso l’importante galleria di Konica Minolta Plaza a Tokyo, insieme alla mostra.

La seconda release è stata presso la Galleria “The Private Space” di Barcellona nel novembre 2011. Finalmente il progetto arriva in italia.


Via Montevideo, 9 – Milano

opening: 8 marzo 2012 ore 18.30 /22.30

interverranno gli autori

esposizione dall’8 marzo al 14 aprile 2012

INFO: 02 8323229

Per maggiori informazioni sul progetto cliccare qui.

Japan Society Book Club: IQ84 – Volume 1 by Haruki Murakami

Monday 12 December at 7.00pm

5th View
Waterstones, Piccadilly
203-206 Piccadilly



Free for Japan Society Members

IQ84 follows the paths of four central characters: Aomame, Tengo, Komatsu and Fukaeri in 1984 Tokyo. The book has two distinct story lines. One follows Aomame and starts with assassinating a guest at a plush hotel. The other involves Fukaeri a young 17 year old girl and begins with her manuscript for a literary contest being re-written by up-coming novelist Tengo and his mentor Komatsu. As the book progresses these two unrelated plot lines and parallel worlds converge. IQ84 has many themes including murder, history, cult religion, violence, family ties and love which makes it an intriguing read. The book club will be reading and discussing volume 1 of this trilogy.

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author and translator. He was won numerous awards including the Franz Kafka Prize and the Jerusalem Prize. Murakami writes both fiction and non-fiction.

The book club is held on the second Monday of the month. There is no restriction on the nationality of the authors read, but books should be available in translation in both Japanese and English. The discussion is conducted mainly in English, but you can choose the language in which you read the book. The intention is simple: to explore the themes of the book, express personal opinions on the style and content, discuss how the book has changed (or not) in translation and to have a relaxed discussion with others who have similar interests.

Please email the office if you would like to attend.

Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Flight JL123 Crash

Book launch

Published by Routledge, 2011

By Christopher P. Hood

Just as the sinking of the Titanic is embedded in the public consciousness in the English-speaking world, so the crash of JAL flight JL123 is part of the Japanese collective memory. The 1985 crash involved the largest loss of life for any single air crash in the world. 520 people, many of whom had been returning to their ancestral home for the Obon religious festival, were killed; there were only four survivors.

This book tells the story of the crash, discusses the many controversial issues surrounding it, and considers why it has come to have such importance for many Japanese. It shows how the Japanese responded to the disaster: trying to comprehend how a faulty repair may have caused the crash, and the fact that rescue services took such a long time to reach the remote crash site; how the bereaved dealt with their loss; how the media in Japan and in the wider world reported the disaster; and how the disaster is remembered and commemorated. The book highlights the media coverage of anniversary events and the Japanese books and films about the crash; the very particular memorialisation process in Japan, alongside Japanese attitudes to death and religion; it points out in what ways this crash both reflects typical Japanese behaviour and in what ways the crash is unique.

* The book will be available on the day at 30% off the retail price.   


Dr. Christopher P. Hood is a Reader in Japanese Studies at Cardiff University, UK. His publications include:Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern JapanJapanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacyand (as editor) the four-volume Politics of Modern Japan (all published by Routledge).

Norwegian Wood

Piu’ volte, in questo Blog, ho parlato del libro scritto da Haruki Murakami ‘Norwegian Wood’ ed il film tratto dal libro cosi oggi ho deciso di pubblicare la canzone dei Beatles che ne ha ispirato il titolo.

I mentioned several times, in this Blog, the book written by Haruki Murakami ‘Norwegian Wood’ and the film recently made from the bestseller. Today I’ve decided to publish the famous song ‘Norwegian Wood’ by the Beatles which inspired the title of the book.

Norwegian Wood – Murakami

Settimana abbastanza difficile quella appena conclusa. Al lavoro siamo stati molto occupati ed in aggiunta ci sarebbero brutte notizie in arrivo, scopriremo presto. Per quanto mi riguarda la settimana e’ stata rovinata dall’influenza, forte mal di testa e mal di gola, cosa che comunque non mi ha permesso di stare a casa a riposare ma ha semplicemente rallentato tutti i miei programmi.

Dopo aver finito il libro Yakuza Moon ho deciso di leggere (re-leggere) uno dei mie libri favoriti, Norwegian Wood scritto da Haruki Murakami. Devo ammettere che a differenza di molti appassionati del Giappone io non sono un grandissimo appassionato di Murakami in quanto trovo molti suoi libri piuttosto noiosi ma Norwegian Wood e’ veramente bello e semplice da leggere e sicuramente il migliore di quelli scritti dal famoso scrittore Giapponese, obbligatorio da leggere se non si conosce l’autore. Un’altro libro di Murakami che consiglio e’ The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in Italiano L’ucello che Girava le Viti del Mondo, libro molto lungo da leggere, 832 pagine, ma mai noioso.

Per finire questo post vi voglio ricordare/informare che dal libro Norwegian Wood e’ stato fatto un film che prossimamente sara’ disponibile in Europa.

I’ve been trough a difficult week. At work we had been particularly busy and we were informed that things (mainly financially) are not going well and drastic solutions are needed while on a personal level I had a cold, strong headaches and sore throat, which made difficult to achieve all the things I had planed for this week.

After having finished to read Yakuza Moon I decided to read (re-read) one of my favourite books, Norwegian Wood, written by Haruki Murakami. I’ve to admit, I’m not the greatest fan of Murakami as I often found his books boring (nonsense, you might think) but Norwegian Wood is a very well written book and if you have never read it you should consider to put it at the top of your list with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the other book written by Murakami I like, long (832 pages) but enjoyable.

To finish this post I would like to inform/remind that from the book a film was recently made and soon available in Europe.