Institute for the Economy of Japan

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Analysis of the Competitiveness of Japanese Companies

Bachelor Seminar: WP 24 - Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Japans II

Course instructor: Dr. Horst Melcher

Course Overview

This seminar seeks to evaluate Japanese corporate strategies, their successes and weaknesses, and draw a picture of the state of Japanese competitiveness today. Lead by an experienced practitioner with extensive work experience in senior roles in Japan, students will engage in in-depth case study discussions of current Japanese business ventures.

The course is taught in German.

Course Goals and Organization

Starting with Michael Porter's seminal work "Can Japan Compete?", the seminar employs practical case studies to evaluate the competitiveness of selected Japanese companies (e.g. Toyota, Nissan, Nintendo, Fujifilm, etc.). This analysis will be embedded in Japan's overall economic development since 1945 and include her specific competitive circumstances. The selected case studies (taken from the Harvard Business School library) will be introduced through one student presentation each week and assessed in detail in seminar papers. The in-depth discussions will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the main drivers of competitiveness within the broad spectrum of Japanese enterprises.

Examination requirements BA Business Administration: Seminar paper 22,200 characters and a 15-minute presentation (50% towards your final grade each)

BA Japanese Studies: Seminar paper 16,200-19,800 characters and a 20-minute presentation (50% towards your final grade each)

Credits BA Business Administration: 6 ECTS
BA Japanese Studies: 3 ECTS
Prerequesites BA Business Administration: Students are strongly recommended to have completed the lecture "International Management" before participating this seminar



To apply, please refer to the course's LSF page and register during the registration period. Results will be announced via your campus email address. Please note the prerequisite course requirements for all students, before applying for this seminar. The course if offered during the winter term only.

Further information

Further information can be found on the course's LSF entry. If you require additional details, please contact Dr. Horst Melcher at