Japan appears consistent in saying, yes, rebuilding or swapping out components keeps the identity. You see this attitude in "Japan's oldest temple, burned to the ground and rebuilt every 20 years". In the west we might argue that burning a building and rebuilding, would count as a new building.
Similar in Japan's family business the lineage can be preserved by adopting a adult man capable of continuing the business. It needs not be common, but it does serve to ensure family businesses will not end due to a failed marriage or lack of kids. In the west this would just come across as giving your business away to another person, yet in Japan it is considered a valid continuation of the family.
I do not think this is the single biggest reason Japan has such old businesses, but I think it is a key tool which has preserved many.
This is just how wooden boats are, whether you do it bit by bit, or as a big project, eventually you replace just about all of it every 100 years or so.
If you replace one specific part of the shit(Keel), it is by law a new ship. It needs to be accredited again if it is to be used commercially.
That's an interview I would like to listen to
A lot of times the chain of custody and the history is what makes a boat valuable or interesting and government recognition of the new boat is the difference between the original and the replica in a lot of people's eyes because without that recognition there is one boat and with it there is two, a real one and a replica. Sometimes people just work done right and if the hassle of creating a "new" vessel in the eyes of the government can be reasonable avoided it will be (but this is rare reason, most of these people would rather buy a different boat, nobody does that kind of work on a boat that isn't historically interesting or of sentimental value).
It's common (as common as something can be in a niche part of a wealthy people's hobby) to have a boat in crap shape and park it in a shop, deconstruct it enough to take critical measurements and then rebuild it in the adjacent bay starting from the keel using all new material and then reinstall all the original fittings, hardware, etc, etc, off the original boat.
So yeah, you're "supposed" to re-title the boat with a new title in the same way that you're "supposed" to drive 55mph on a four lane interstate highway. In my observation the fraction of people who do what they're "supposed" to is about similar and those people tend to be motivated by special circumstances.
I assume commercial vessels follow the letter of the law but you don't exactly see a lot of commercial vessels getting keel repairs short of scrapping the vessel (or selling it overseas) and buying a new one.
Thank you for the link.
Either way -- whoa.
At one time I worked with a guy who had lost the index and middle fingers of his left hand. He used to raise it up and say "peace!" Then laugh and put a cigarette in between what remained. Great guy to work with but as you say -- whoa.
Imagine explaining that GE would make a thing called a “jet” engine that would let people fly between continents in a few hours. Or that they’d be building power plants that worked by splitting atoms. And then tell all the workers that all light bulbs they’re making will be made in China instead.
By this Ship of Theseus reasoning it would seem that GE is not the same company it was when they were making incandescent bulbs in 1920s Oakland.
Oh, and that the 21st century is a way of counting centuries of the west, that was just being invented around that time, that would be implemented in Japan about 4 centuries later
The first western style skyscraper was built in 1890 and demolished in 1923.
But Japan had pyramids long before that, there are speculations that the underwater pyramids of Yonaguni could be the remains of a civilization 5 thousands years old
In the west the business would get sold and merged. Only in Japan does the adoption make it a family or lineage thing.
No. Every culture worldwide accepts adoption. A child, grandchild, nephew, etc, continuing a business keeps the business in the family. Whether the child is adopted or not, and regardless of the age of adoption.
In Japan, the longevity of the thing has a value of its own, so much so that they’ve invented adult “adoptions”, simply to keep an old business going. The business could be mediocre and barely profitable, but if it’s 300 years old, they’ll find a way to keep that line going.
Maybe they exist, but I’m not aware of any other culture that has taken up the practice of adopting adult males to ensure that a family business remains “family”.
Are adult adoptions common at all?
Note how often these adult men are being adopted along with marrying the daughter of the family. I dare say outside of Japan such an arrangement would be considered weird.
How does that work? They become both husband and brother to the same person?
In practice what it means is that the couple adopts the family name of the wife, not the husband, which is the name associated with the family business that he's taking over.
E.g. Fuller's (London brewer) now owned by Japanese conglomerate, Church (Northampton shoes, was still in the family) bought by Prada.
That is a wrong example/comparison. Even in the west rebuilding an heritage is not considered as a new building.
In Europe rebuilding after a catastrophic event like fire is sometimes a requirement. Would you consider restoring Notre Dame as new building? I would not think so. What about Sagrada Familia? They are still not finished with the building. What about the Cologne dom? They are still not finished with the building.
But I don't understand this view. I like the design of old buildings. Why can't we build them again? It's just putting rocks on rocks. Why is it less authentic then putting rocks on rocks according to an uglier, isolating design?
In any case, we're constantly maintaining old buildings. Who knows how many parts of the buildings have been removed and put back, so they can replace some weak part inside?
I think it's highly unlikely that they will be lies. I went to see some old buildings in Indonesia, and they very happily said "we needed to make this construction more stable and restore it, so we removed all the stones, rebuilt the foundations, and put them all back in place".
No-one is lying.
(And if there is some problem, the problem is that modern architects always want to abandon tradition and build ugly buildings that look tacky in 50 years. Humans are capable of showing creativity and following tradition.)
When the church falls over and needs a total repair it changes. Today we can build those same churches much quicker, cheaper and with higher accuracy. We can pump out those buildings in a decade that used to take 300yrs. Replacing the building with modern industry changes the meaning of the building to reflect how much a society can pour into maintaining the past. The original achievement fell apart when the bricks gave way.
People who say it still represents the same thing it did when it was built are not telling the full truth.
The last two are very modern buildings
Notre dame was rebuilt a few times, but never completely
We do "conservation of cultural heritage" in the west and we have been doing it for centuries
The "Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano" Is
> a 600-year-old organization that was established to supervise the construction of the Cathedral of Milan (the "Duomo"). The organization is still active and involved with the maintenance, preservation, and restoration of the cathedral.
Since I was in Trier after Christmas, and learnt they have the oldest university in Germany, except for all the times it didn't exist. It's not claimed "Trier had the first university in Germany", but "Trier has the oldest university in Germany".
Others dispute this claim, since they want the claim for the university their heart inclines towards, but Germans - surely a species of Westerner - are still capable of entertaining and uttering such claims of continuity-through-discontinuity.
I can add to Dresden and Nuremberg. Both of them where nearly destroyed and rebuild. But the rebuild is not an exact rebuild. It is new and modern buildings.
But there are exceptions like the Frauenkirche in Dresden and alike buildings here in Nuremberg. They are almost exactly rebuild in the name of conserving heritage. Yes, they are also rebuild or even retrofitted with new things like electric and plumbing. But that doesn't mean they are new buildings.
This attitude is reflected in their homes, also. (I'm talking about sub-urban or rural, not metropolitan) They tend to build their homes to last around 20-30 years, then they'll knock them down and rebuild them. But they would still refer to it as the same family home for [x] decades.
Agreed, a few types of brain cells do not get replaced, but everything else does. My point still stands. Physically, we are not what we were a few months ago.
This is laughably false.
I was merely expecting a “this is false because of X”. Rather than “this is false”
I guess we all have our biases.
Adult neurogenesis or brain plasticity is a fact. Skin cells, blood cells and all types of cells have a finite lifespan - a few days to a few months.
Osteocytes in human bone can live up to 50 years.
"New neurons are made in just two parts of the brain—the hippocampus, involved in memory and navigation, and the olfactory bulb, involved in smell (and even then only until 18 months of age). Aside from that, your neurons are as old as you are and will last you for the rest of your life. They don’t divide, and there’s no turnover."
But while it applies to many cells over varied lengths of time (up to many years), it doesn't apply to all cells.
So the idea does apply but not exactly as you claim and it's definitely not absolute, even for atoms, let alone cells.
Classic comedy works on so many levels.
Interestingly enough, by that notion most churches (at least in towns) in the former Roman empire date back to Antiquity. But we usually only date the date of the main standing structure as the building's birthday.
To be honest, I dearly prefer their model of slow incremental adaptation compared to a gig economy, that is sadly established in many western nations to a larger degree. I would even go so far as to say that it could severely limit long term prosperity growth.
Some say Japan has some problems on that account. I think we should look at it 50 years later an see who is laughing.
At other times, including perhaps these last 2-3 decades, it is more valuable to try and mostly fail in the interest of discovery. The Long Tail, above the Bell Curve. At such times as these Japan generally just holds and waits. For instance, the Edo period lasted 250 years, with very little change. Meanwhile, from 1600, Europe and the New World were changing like gangbusters.
>> I think we should look at it 50 years later...
Fifty years is a fairly long time to make predictions, but I'd argue that you'll only see Japan having re-emerged as leader in 2070, should a clear new order have already become apparent. If not, they'll certainly still be waiting patiently with serious intent.
Thats only in Ise. Dont make generalizations. For about every other old building in Japan something burning down is a tragedy, even if they try to rebuild it afterwards. For example Osaka castle is technically standing now but nobody is fooled by the fact that its an empty shell compared to the original building. That is precisely why Himeji castle is so precious in comparison.
It's a shrine, not a temple, it's torn down, not burned down, and whether it's the oldest is a matter of whether you believe the legends.
Radio Yerevan answered: "In principle, yes. But first of all it was not Grigori Grigorievich Grigoriev, but Vassili Vassilievich Vassiliev; second, it was not at the All-Union Championship in Moscow, but at a Collective Farm Sports Festival in Smolensk; third, it was not a car, but a bicycle; and fourth he didn't win it, but rather it was stolen from him."
I suspect that there is a degree of translation loss in those quotes.
In general if you ask someone about this they'll indeed reply that their temple is 1,000 years old (example). Then if you ask whether this means that this building right here is 1,000 years old they'll may very naturally reply that no, they rebuild it every so often.
I'm thinking that the concept of e.g. 'temple' might be different than the actual buildings the temple is made of.
Now, sometimes the buildings really are hundreds of years old.
Every day, the product on the shelf is new. New customers go through the door. Even the product formula or process may change.
Generations pass, and entirely different people are standing in that building selling those (changed) products. The people may have some genetic similarity to those that stood there before. But any human would have substantially the same cell chemistry, which is many millions of times more in common than a particular strand of molecules. So won't any human be enough?
The definition of a 'business' is a human idea. Its not rooted in physics. So if we want to say a business is old or continuous, I guess go ahead.
This is often put out as something uniquely Japanese, and perhaps in modern times it is, but the Roman Empire used to to this pretty regularly as well: nominating heirs by adopting adult men.
Better example - well here but it's in Danish https://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/kirke-tro/marmorkirkens-s%...
of course the principle is not universal, for example old St. Peter's Basilica and new st. Peter's Basilica
are at the same location and of course are distinguished from each other by the descriptive old or new.
They've learned plenty from the United States, but they haven't learned that in order to succeed, others must fail. They should be trying harder to make these businesses succeed hard or fail. After all, life isn't about living - it's about how much we can accumulate at the cost of others.
They should also learn the Unites Statesian way of "going out of business" for the purpose of selling the old company's assets to a newly create company for pennies on the dollar while defaulting on debt and loans. Heck - many Hollywood companies do this from one film to the next!
Gah! These Japanese people are amateurs!
There is something refreshing about the feeling of permanence I got when I was in Japan. There is so much old infrastructure that's still working, because it's maintained. In the west, we assume we'll be replacing pretty much everything within 5-10 years so why bother with upkeep, and who cares if it doesn't even function that well when you built it.
Our electrical grid is unparalleled in the world. Our phone/internet.
These things are not so wonderful in other countries (when they even have them at all).
What infrastructure, exactly, in the US is not functioning well?
We have a lot of trouble with aging bridges: https://www.artba.org/2018/01/29/54000-american-bridges-stru...
We have a lot of trouble with aging water systems: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378...
A lot of the infrastructure that were built around the population boom post WWII are reaching the end of their lifespans and we don't have a plan and budget (despite 'infrastructure week') to get these upgraded.
Everybody seems to be excited to point out, that infrastructure investment is at a low now. E.g. Obama's 'shovel-ready' money didn't go to sewer and water, since those are 'invisible'. So pointless visible projects like cables-down-the-freeway-media got built instead.
This is of course obvious. This thread has become a place to vent about that, which is fine.
The point that was sent across in your comment was that we have an “unparalleled” power grid (and Internet, apparently, which I could also easily take apart) and we should feel fortunate because outside of America, things like that are worse or nonexistent. Aside from the mild xenophobia and casual dismissal of cultures not your own, the overarching point you built out of this was: there isn’t really a problem and our infrastructure is world-leading. The words are right there for all of us to see, including you, and I feel on pretty firm ground about how I interpreted (and attempted to engage) your thinking. I even answered your call to action directly, pointed out counterexamples exactly as you requested, and you didn’t even bother to click the links. At all.
I don’t know why you’re calling this second point obvious (it certainly isn’t) or going after people passive aggressively who engaged you on the point you originally made, by saying those who disagree are venting. It’s okay to be wrong. Pretty much the entire comment was Americentric and a denial of reality with a backhand for the rest of the planet. It was wrong. That’s fine. Moving the goalposts like this just makes the whole thing stupid. Try this out: “You’re right, there might be a problem. I disagree with you on scope, but perhaps we can meet in the middle.” It isn’t hard. It won’t hurt.
Politicians like cutting ribbons in their district. They do not like investing in maintenance, and operators are left to scrape together budgets to make things work. They often make bad calls because they’re forced to.
This has been known for several decades.
The electrical grid in San Jose failed dramatically because someone, yet to be identified, hit a substation off 101 with a rifle. Power engineers constantly warn about incoming failures if we don’t invest in security and maintenance, and power grid security has recently become a Homeland Security concern. The power grid in California has evolved into literally killing people, and they have to turn it off when it’s windy. Yeah. Unparalleled. Your mildly xenophobic subtext of knocking power grids in non-American contexts is noted, but throwing stones and all.
I struggle to imagine a scenario where all of this is news to you.
The California power grid fires were on the television in a pub in northern England last time I was there, not to put too fine a point on it. Speaking of, you should visit Europe and get back to me on infrastructure, especially continental transit. I’m an American and even I’m tired of Amerisuperiority, because it’s that kind of willful ignorance that drives said underinvestment.
Our electrical grid is actually in a terrible state, and allegedly just one solar storm away from total failure. Our ancient power lines regularly cause forest fires and power companies don't seem to be held accountable.
Some 9.1% of bridges in the U.S. are in a dangerous state of disrepair. Most major cities in the U.S. are known for having terrible roads under constant maintenance (not sure how roads in dense cities fair in other nations, but things seemed much more efficient in Korea).
It's pretty bad all around  and honestly I don't understand why no recent president has committed to a massive infrastructure project. It would likely have bipartisan support, create millions of semi-permanent, semi-technical jobs across the country, and simultaneously act as a public welfare project and a very much needed modernization/repair effort with people being paid to perform necessary work on massive scale. Not to get political, but it's one of the few things I like about Bernie, since he's at least mentioned such a commitment.
The US phone system is plagued by robocalls at a far higher rate than is common in Europe, and phone and internet tend to cost much more due to local quasi-monopolies rather than a functioning market. People are always complaining about Comcast.
I get where you're coming from, but you can make the same one-sided joke post about Americans.
Having done both...
- started YC backed startup while in SF and worked at Uber for 4 years
- in Tokyo for the past 2 years
I honestly think that the outcomes here in Tokyo are much better than in SF. Yes, incomes are lower, but your QAPP (quality-adjusted purchasing power) is significantly higher, at all income levels - https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/08/21/commentary/j...
He _IS_ joking about Americans :-)))
For example, Yahoo Japan (still more popular than Google Japan AFAIK) pays collage grads $36k a year starting salary. I think USA Google Interns get ~3x that.
I know it's just one data point but it's not far from the average. For Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, NEC, Rakuten, etc it will definitely be in the same ballpark. You can probably get 2x that if you have 10 years experience but if you're over 35 you're considered too old to code by many companies.
There are exceptions like maybe Mercari as they are doing well. And western companies, Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, pay well.
I have no idea if this is why but I'm guessing one reason is they have a captive market. If your only language is Japanese you can't work anywhere else in the world.
Japan as a country is also hi tech. But it seems that they are not worried about the effect of automation and people losing jobs. There are plenty of jobs that machines still can’t do and the Japanese appreciate handcrafts. A lof of Japanese knives are still handmade. Candies, gifts, a lot of them are handmade.
Granted. Japan is the nation where it is mostly relatively closed compared to other far east Asian nation. They won’t give citizenship easily (around 10 to 20 years), they don’t take influx of immigrants, and they care about Japanese more other than non Japanese. All of this is motivated by the preservation of culture and the Japanese way. Japan would rather have their island sink than opening doors to more immigrants to avoid Eternal September that is plaguing the US and Europe.
More conformity meaning easier for the government in terms of economy, policy, etc. Less troublemakers, less lawyers and lawsuits, less crime. But in order to achieve social conformity Japan doesn’t have to be like China where they monitor and watch everything. Conformity is ingrained in every minds and hearts of the Japanese. That is the Japanese way.
You should tell the Japanese lawmakers this ;)
Skilled immigration is now done on a point based system where most white collar working professionals could quality to residency with little effort.
Japanese naturalization is now a 5-10 year process, not 10-20. This is in line with the US process.
The slowing birth rates have resulted in Japan opening up significantly more to immigration and naturalization of these immigrants.
In many ways 1920 doesn't really seem all that far away to me while 1860, 1870, 1880 (a century from when I was a child) seemed to be forever ago.
When I look at film and photos from 1920 I see modern people, people I could see meeting and having relatively modern conversations while when I look at media from the mid 1800s I see ancestors who I share very little with.
I'd also reckon you can more easily relate to people who lived with older technology, having lived pre-internet yourself. When you are young, everything just is, and it's hard to relate with living differently.
It seems like if you were to graph the pace of change, there would be a hump around the First World War. I think the coming of the information age is creating another hump, but at the same time it seems like so far, surprisingly little has changed as a result of it.
If this idea is true, those in the 1920s share more with us (familiarity with cars, mass media, urbanization) than those just 50 years prior.
"You know in school, in history class, 100 years seems like a long time. It's not really."
I can imagine how the transitions they experienced through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s may have seemed to them much like how my world evolved in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. While I can surely find some milestone events in my personal life, I do not see stark boundaries I would consider truly different ages/eras for society as a whole. I remember how every recent transition took years and perhaps never completed.
I wonder if certain cultural artifacts and stories in history and pop culture give us a more consistent sense of past eras/ages prior to our own experiences. Things like railroads, electrification, automobiles, film, the great depression, airplanes, films with sound, color film, TV, antibiotics... they all were smeared over many years but we can easily ignore that when talking about the past.
I wonder what someone born now will feel about the 1920s once they are old enough to communicate their opinions.
So he proves this out by taking an example of what happens if you hit someone on the head and assuming that person sleeps for a long time, how will he feel out of place in the world. Here are the examples I remembered he used (paraphrasing):
1. If you take someone living in the 1700s, knock them on the head, and have them wake up any time till the mid 1800s, to that person, life feels almost the same even though 100s of years have passed. Sure, maybe there are more buildings, more people, more horses, weapons are more or less the same, etc but essentially life is still familiar.
2. Now take someone living in, lets say 1850, knock them out and have them wake up in 1880. Holy shit, suddenly the world is so much brighter and there are "lights" everywhere. What witchcraft is this?? The world will look so different from what he/she remembers them.
3. Now take that same person living in 1880, hit them on the head again and have him/her wake up 35 years later and it is 1915. HOLY DOUBLE CRAP, what is this new fangle machine on wheels on the streets people are on and where have all the horses gone?? Ok I need to go into the toilet and wash my face...OMG WHAT IS THIS FLUSHING THING AND THIS METAL SPROUT CREATES MY OWN CLEAN RIVER??? Walks to the city and wow, look at all these buildings looking like mountains! And not only that, he/she looks up in the sky and sees gigantic "metal birds"...WTF YOU CAN RIDE THEM AND NOW GET FROM LA TO NY in a couple of hours?? The world will look completely magical to them.
Now here is the interesting thing - if you take someone from 1920s, hit them on our head, and put them in 2020.. that economist surmises that life will look pretty much the same to that person, not unlike scenario (1) where you take someone from 1700s and put them in the 1800s. Vehicles might look a bit more modern, buildings might look a bit more taller or "sleek-er", there are way much more people but essentially, the world hasn't really change much. Oh, there is this new computer & internet thing but that's it.
So yep, it is nothing to do with you. We just happen to live in a time where we have yet to experience a "leap" in invention where life has become completely magical to us. My guess will be, the day space tech becomes a common place and attainable, that will be when the world looks magically different to those of us living today and that generation will feel the same leap as the inhabitants living from 1850~1920.
But I thoroughly agree that they are the two (one?) biggest revolution in history.
The UI layer is all still prototypes. The economic layer, very early prototypes. The programming languages are prototypes. You can tell because <1% of the population can even use them. Imagine what cars or T.V.’s were like at that penetration. We have barely begun.
I'd argue that nowadays there are more people that use the internet/smartphone devices than there are people that drive cars or watch TVs.
Internet usage has far overtook both cars and television by now. Nobody cares about programming languages or "UI", just like most people that drive cars really don't care about the internals of the engine.
This sentence is doing an unbelievable amount of work. I don't think you realize how strange it is that we have instant-speed trans-Atlantic communication that can transmit massive amounts of data. Computers are practically foreign objects to plenty of people born in the 60s, who grew up as they were invented. You don't think someone from 1920, with no prior exposure to them, would think that a smartphone is just a standard part of everyday life?
Not to mention all the other massive changes to society that you ignored. Commercial flights started in the 1920s and are now commonplace in everyday life. Digital audio; televisions; massive changes to cars; ATMs and credit cards. Can you imagine someone from the 1920s trying to operate a Dyson AirBlade?
This is before accounting for the crazy rate of cultural change that would shock someone from 100 years ago. Half the words used in daily conversation wouldn't even make sense to someone from 1920.
I think a lot of modern tech is really just 19th century tech done (a lot) better, smaller, faster, more conveniently, and much more widespread.
1920 was at the beginning of the wave of post-1914 turmoil of the end of empires. Europe had been swept by war and revolution, and nobody would have known how that was going to turn out. Poland was still about 10% Jewish. China was still in the "warlord era" before the rise and fall of the KMT. India (and much of the rest of the world) was still British.
For a sense of the quasi-feudal pre-war Europe, I will always reccomend A Time Of Gifts, Patrick Fermor's walk across Germany and Eastern Europe in the 1930s.
And yes. When I first time a programmed a real computer in 1972, I was truly amazed, because I tought the "programs" were just a way represents algorithms and the "computer" was just an theoretical machine. At first I thought there was another human at the other end of Teletype-line, but the bloody "computer" was just too fast.
One unspoken difference from "just" computers directly between 1920 and now is checking in on farms or factories is wondering where everybody went and if they checked in on a nursing home would likely make them think there was an underpopulation crisis.
The SPT Airboat Line  was the closest to an airline in the US at the time. It operated 20 mile flights across Tampa bay for 6 months in 1914 before ceasing operations.
Flying from NY to LA was not happening on any regular basis, and took much more than a couple of hours. The first transcontinental flight in 1911  took 80+ flight hours over more than a month. Fast forward to 1933, transcontinental passenger flights took 20+ hours . Nonstops finally became available in the late 40s and early 50s.
I count the last technological leap as the transistor. We could have conceptually come up with computers and the internet any time over the past couple thousand years, but the use of electricity brought possible designs down to a useful speed, and transistors finally brought them down to a useful size.
edit: tbh, I think CMOS was also a big jump. A big leap in the efficiency of power consumption would also spur a massive revolution.
E.g. We're no where closer to having a utopian-level of control over our government. Something that the rise of ubiquitous tech should have solved. On some level, we're all very averse to the notion as well, almost as if our attitudes to it have not changed and we have not worked on making tech good enough for us to be comfortable with it.
Or: Government structures have not changed at all. As a libertarian, I struggle to even conceive how people in the government can even change the structure and ordering of government at this point. We got to our current structures somehow in the past, but we seemed to have stopped the evolution and have almost doubled-down.
Why do you think it should have happened already? We’ve only had good lithium ion batteries for a decade or two. Same for the internet, maybe 20 years of widespread use. Solar cells are only just starting to compete with coal. There is much work to do, and we’re doing it but it takes time.
Information can travel instantly, that’s an important change, but the process of actually building the semantic router is not trivial. And the tech for affordable off-grid civilization is really juuust maturing right now.
What makes you say that?
To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever carried out a rigorous analysis on the stability (in the dynamical systems meaning of the word) of our societies; whether they trend to dystopia or utopia.
But it isn't very difficult to argue that the US, at least, is currently trending dystopic. Look no further than citizens united.
As the barber cut my hair, I asked him about the shop. He said that it was ninety years old—the area had escaped bombing during the war—and that his grandfather and father had run the shop before him.
If someone opened a similarly shambolic barbershop today, it would almost certainly fail, as Japanese consumers are picky about appearances. But he said he had a steady clientele, including customers who themselves were the second or third generation in their families to get their hair cut there. He also turned out to be pleasant to chat with, and I had no complaint about the quality of the haircut.
The cost of the haircut was on the high side, and as he lives behind the shop in a house he inherited he must have minimal overhead. He looked to be in his forties. He should have no trouble keeping the shop running well past the century mark.
In some cases, family succession helps to maintain quality and traditions and to keep the company intact; in others, it can lead to inertia, internal strife, and business failure.
There is that old adage in multi generational businesses that goes - "The first generation kicks off the business, the second generation builds upon what the first generation did, and the third generation squanders everything the first two generations did". In my 40+ years of business consulting I have actually seen this happen multiple times.
There must be something different about the Japanese cultural and philosophical outlook of building a business and handing it over to the next generation to carry on.
You have the numbers mixed up, Kongō Gumi had been founded in 578 AD so its run was over a millennia.
• It was started just right at the end of Kofun period when Japanese tribes started political centralisation (578 AD).
• It has survived unification of Japan under Tokugawa shogunate (1603 - 1868).
• It has survived forced opening of Japan to the outside world by the western forces (1854).
• It has survived World War I (1914 - 1918).
• It has survived World War II (1939-1945), ending in the near total destruction of the country.
Yet, when Japan survived to become a Trillion dollar economy; Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. was liquidated and acquired by Takamatsu Construction Group (2006).
What does it take to build a Business which lasts over 1000 years now? Would humanity even last for next 1000 years with current geo-politics, inequality and hatred?
What part of WW2 resulted in near total destruction of the country? The two atomic bombs were tragic, but the near total destruction of two cities is a far cry from the near total destruction of a country.
No family stays poor for three generations.
And no family stays rich for three generations.
There are banks in Europe older than 400 years as well.
On the contrary if you take the Balkans in Europe every few centuries the ruling power changed. First was the Roman Empire, then the Byzantine Empire, Bulgarian Empire, many other nations come to power for different periods, then the Ottomans, the Soviet Union and in the present day most of the companies and corporations in the Balkans are very proud if they have a history of 20-30 years (after the collapse of the Soviet Union)
Yugoslavia, who basically nobody cared about, had casualties of 7-10% in WW2.
Big, relevant nations are highlighted way more than the little guys.
2) He's right. Japan post-WW2 endured foreign occupation yes, but without significant internal turmoil. Other states that underwent massive change (e.g. Russia: WW1->Civil War->2 Revolutions) had significant internal turmoil. This helps explain why so many "old" businesses survived in Japan.
I have companies in both Japan and the US. It's a fun though experiment at the very least. I don't think I'd ever execute on something like this, but a software development agency "since 1876" would be a great conversation starter.
They had an idea for a college brand of clothing and repurposed an old, dying hunting brand in the company lineup to give the new brand authenticity and a nice number to follow “est. “ in their branding.
In your example the younger company is absorbing the older one, so the old ceases to exist.
These things are neither universally good nor bad: I do believe the Japanese conception of duty (and how it diverges from an American sensibility) plays a large role in the fact 33k businesses are over 100 years old. As an American this many businesses is definitely an impressive number, but then again, 100 years ago the US was only 143 years old. We’re ~3 lifetimes (8 generations) away from the signing of the Declaration of Independence. ️
I think you're right about the sense of duty, it leads people to turning their innovation into something that can help their existing company versus taking it and starting their own firm most of the time.
On the flipside, company management seems more accepting of occasionally taking these radical ideas and rebuilding the whole business around them. Nintendo is a good example.
These facts are directly related, through the Yamato region, from which the Yamato family ruled for some centuries.
This does mean that they may not have massive spurts of growth, like Apple or Microsoft, but it also means they can weather storms fairly well.
Remember that many Japanese companies had their assets turned to kindling in WWII, and survived.
FN Herstal, Mossberg & Sons, Smith & Wesson, Winchester, Browning, Walther all tick the 100+ year mark.
However, most of them trace their roots back to the industrial revolution, and didn't make the transition from bespoke pieces to mass production like Beretta did.
In Spanish, with photos:
As it was told to me...
Her great great great grandfather had a small bank of sorts, then he or perhaps his children, I forget the reason why, moved into food. Primarily sourcing food for upscale restaurants.
Her uncles and mother run the business now, although they are in their late 60s so I doubt it will stay going for another generation.
Her two brothers have their own careers, we live in the other side of the world and her cousin lives in the US.
It is a strange combination of having smaller families, career aspirations and globalisation which makes it less appealing I guess.
Company, firm, and business have specific meanings.
Given BBC is UK based, a company would mean a separate legal entity to its members (a 'corporation' in US).
A firm means a group of people in business together, either a company of more than one member or a general partnership.
And a business is the true catch-all.
I doubt these businesses going back hundreds of years are incorporated entities. Back in the day those took an act of the state to form. The first KK in the country (Inc. equivalent for those in US, or Ltd. for UK) was only formed in 1873.
And I doubt businesses have been general partnerships continuously for hundreds of years -- since these desolve automatically when the membership changes e.g. by a death.
Especially to journalists, these details should matter.