This article aims to clarify some obstacles for creative activity which have been existing in Japan – especially through socio‐cultural views. (It may be refreshing to see an article about several of the weaknesses of Japan because so much can be seen about the success of Japanese firms!) First, how the Japanese education system has discouraged innovation is discussed, followed by a description of some characteristics of Japanese management and how the features are both encouraging and discouraging – with the emphasis on the latter – for innovation. Then, historical and cultural backgrounds are explained, and a brief summary offered.
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