Ise Grand Shrine, the most important of the Shinto shrines in Japan, is trying to emulate Toyota’s success with “kaizen” in trying to get Japanese words to be used untranslated for key Japanese concepts such as “kami” (deities) , “matsuri” (festivals) and “jinja” (shrine).
As you can see from the comment at the bottom of the article in The Japan Times on this, this could be interpreted as part of the nationalist revival spurred on by Abenomics. Shinto was heavily associated with “rebuilding the nation” during Meiji Restoration and lead up to WWII – to the point that the American Occupation called it “State Shinto” and tried to abolish it.
Other Japanese companies have tried to promote Japanese words as capturing the essence of their management approach, as a differentiator, with limited success so far. For example Mitsubishi Chemical Holding’s “kaiteki” and Kao’s “Yoki-Monozukuri”.
I suppose the message is that Japanese companies’ values are different from Anglo Saxon style shareholder capitalist values, but are therefore not easily translatable into English. Which may be true, but could add an extra challenge in trying to get employees outside Japan to buy in to the corporate ethos.
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