Japan in the Bluegrass

Japan in the Bluegrass

Edited by P.P. Karan
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Japan in the Bluegrass
    Book Description:

    Fifteen years after Toyota announced it would build a manufacturing plant in the heart of the Bluegrass, Kentucky crafts are being used to help sell Camrys at car dealerships in Japan and sushi and Japanese condiments are widely stocked on grocery shelves in a number of cities across Kentucky. In early 2000, the state boasted more than 100 Japanese companies representing a total investment of more than seven billion dollars, employing more than 33,000 Kentuckians.

    Japan in the Bluegrassis the first book to focus on the regional and local impact of the globalization of Japanese businesses, particularly Toyota, in the United States. Fourteen American and Japanese contributors include geographers, political scientists, sociologists, and an economist, urban planner, and environmental scientist, and their essays go beyond the traditional exploration of politics and economics to examine the social, cultural, and environmental effects of Japanese investment in Kentucky.

    The authors examine the factors that brought these companies to this part of the United States, which range from a well-developed system of highways to cooperation from state and local governments to hefty incentive packages. They discuss the significant influence of Toyota and its suppliers on local communities in Kentucky as well as in Toyota City, Japan. Essays also cover the social and cultural shifts that have resulted from Japanese investment, including educational activities in public schools, the relationship between business and local media, and the integration of Japanese managers and their families into Kentucky communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5933-1
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. A Note on Terms
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. 1 Japan and Kentucky
    (pp. 1-12)
    P.P. Karan

    Until the early 1980s, Kentuckians had formed most of their impressions of Japan on painful memories of World War II. And the Japanese knew of Kentucky only as the home of a famous colonel and his chicken. Time has changed that. In the years since Toyota announced it would locate a facility in Kentucky, the cultural influences of each place have been visited on the other in significant ways.

    Japan, an urban society with 126 million people living in an area 4 percent as large as the United States, was virtually closed to outsiders until 1868. Their culture, in many...

  8. Part I Japan in the Cultural and Economic Landscape of Kentucky
    • 2 Japanese Investment in Kentucky
      (pp. 15-42)
      P.P. Karan and W.A. Bladen

      Japanese foreign direct investment—the setting up of Japanese-owned manufacturing plants—has seen steady rise in Kentucky as well as throughout the southeast United States since the early 1980s. As Japanese firms began to invest overseas following the yen revaluation (endaka) in 1985–1986, the number of Japanese companies operating in Kentucky grew rapidly. This wave slowed down considerably in the mid-1990s after the burst of the Japanese bubble economy, slow economic recovery, weak corporate profits, and continued liquidity problems in the Japanese banking system.

      Two major analytical approaches explain what motivates foreign direct investment and help elucidate the large...

  9. Part II Toyota in Kentucky and Japan
    • 3 State and Local Government Negotiation with Japanese Multinational Corporations
      (pp. 45-60)
      David M. Potter

      Since the 1980s, foreign direct investment (FDI) in American states has been a concern of academics, policy makers, and businesspeople. Since the mid-1980s the inflow of Japanese direct investment, especially automobiles, into the Midwest and South has engendered a corresponding public and academic debate as to its effects. In the academic discussions that have sought to understand that investment, comparatively little attention has been paid to a key question: how do state governments negotiate with multinational corporations (MNCs), and what characteristics of the bargaining environment constrain their ability to secure agreements with MNCs that are also acceptable to their publics?...

    • 4 The Geography of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Corporation
      (pp. 61-97)
      Unryu Suganuma

      The world automobile industry is in transition. In the European and North American continents, the merger of Germany’s Daimler-Benz and American Chrysler on May 6,1998, created the world’s fifth largest car maker (The Economist9 May 1998). In Asia, the currency crisis and many consecutive years of economic recession in Japan, as well as the banking crisis, have had an impact on the auto industry. In March 2000 Daimler-Chrysler offered to take over 34 percent of shares of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, effectively bringing the firm under the umbrella of one of the world’s leading automakers. Renault SA of France has...

    • 5 Yesterday and Today: Changes in Workers’ Lives in Toyota City, Japan
      (pp. 98-122)
      Yuichiro Nishimura and Kohei Okamoto

      Toyota City, Japan, is the headquarters of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). TMC has seven large plants in Toyota City, where about twentyfour thousand people work on assembly lines. About four hundred factories of affiliated companies and subcontractors are scattered throughout the city. About half of the employed persons in the city work for automobile-related industries, and including the employees of related businesses and their families, it is said that around 70 percent of the total population of the city (348,532 in 1997) is involved with TMC to a greater or lesser extent. Thus, Toyota City is a typical company town...

    • 6 Dynamics of Growth and Change in Georgetown, Kentucky
      (pp. 123-152)
      Janet W. Patton and H. Milton Patton

      Georgetown, Kentucky, developed at the site of Royal Spring, which was discovered in 1774 by surveyors from Fincastle County, Virginia. The first permanent settlement of Georgetown occurred in 1785, when Rev. Elijah Craig led a party of Virginia Baptists to Royal Spring. Georgetown was incorporated December 16, 1790, and it became the Scott County seat on June 22, 1792. Scott, the state’s eleventh county, was formed out of part of Woodford County. It is named after Revolutionary War General Charles Scott, who became Kentucky’s fourth governor. Georgetown College was chartered in January 1892 as the first Baptist college west of...

  10. Part III Economic, Social, and Environmental Impacts of Japan in Kentucky
    • 7 Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, and the Kentucky Economy
      (pp. 155-166)
      Charles F. Haywood

      In December 1985 Toyota Motor Corporation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky announced plans to build a plant to assemble passenger motor vehicles at a site in Scott County near the city of Georgetown and fifteen miles north of Lexington. With the prior approval of the Kentucky General Assembly, Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and Toyota President Shoichiro Toyoda signed on February 25, 1986, an “Agreement” confirming the commitments between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Toyota Motor Corporation.

      State government’s participation took the form of an incentives package covering the costs of certain construction activities and the training of workers. Its...

    • 8 Social Impacts of Japanese Businesses in Small Communities of Kentucky
      (pp. 167-200)
      Yukio Yotsumoto

      Japanese direct investment since the mid-1980s is partly responsible for a strong manufacturing expansion in Kentucky. In 1999 more than one hundred Japanese companies were operating in Kentucky. These companies are located mostly in small rural communities, and most are related to automobile production. Nonautomotive-related companies manufacture a variety of products such as vacuum cleaners, plastic bottles, and animal feed additives. The Japanese companies, located in thirty-nine Kentucky communities, employ about thirty-five thousand Kentuckians and a small number of Japanese expatriates.

      In this chapter the social impacts of Japanese companies on small Kentucky communities are examined. As Japanese direct investment...

    • 9 Japanese Corporate Environmental Practices in Kentucky
      (pp. 201-221)
      Miranda Schreurs

      While there has been much research about Japanese investment at the aggregate level, there are relatively few in-depth studies of the effects of Japanese investment on specific American communities. Moreover, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no appraisal of the implications of Japanese investment for environmental protection in the United States. The commonwealth of Kentucky provides an interesting laboratory for this kind of study. Japanese investment into the state rapidly took off in the mid-1980s. Thus, it is possible to assess what the sudden influx of Japanese corporations has meant for Kentucky’s environment.

      This chapter is divided...

    • 10 Assessing Environmental Performance of Japanese Industrial Facilities in Kentucky
      (pp. 222-260)
      Gary A. O’Dell

      Representing more than $7 billion invested in more than a hundred plants, Japanese corporations have been the most important source of foreign direct investment in Kentucky during the past decade. The economic impact of this investment is substantial and benefits the commonwealth through direct employment, increased tax revenues, and multiplier effects. Other aspects of the Japanese presence are less easily quantifiable. Although the proliferation of manufacturing firms serves to diversify and strengthen Kentucky’s economy, quality of life in Kentucky is not limited solely to economic considerations but includes the state of the environment.

      Economic activity places stresses on the environment...

  11. Part IV Attitudes and Public Perception of Japanese Investments in Kentucky
    • 11 Attitudes toward Japanese Investments in Kentucky
      (pp. 263-274)
      Stanley D. Brunn

      How can we gauge public reactions to crucial issues facing a population and an economy? This is the central query of this paper. Reactions and perspectives might be obtained through public opinion surveys, advocacy or opposition groups, and official statements and pronouncements of public and civic leaders. However, we also can use the media to help measure sentiments. We can evaluate the amount and content of coverage of particular events and issues, the positioning of stories (on the front page of a newspaper or at the top of the news hour), letters to editors, cartoonists’ depictions, and editorials.

      In this...

    • 12 Public Perception of Toyota Motor Corporation in Kentucky
      (pp. 275-308)
      James G. Hougland Jr.

      The national and world economies currently are characterized by a geographic redistribution of industry and employment opportunities. Considerable attention has been devoted to the problems of localities experiencing deindustrialization (e.g., Bluestone and Harrison 1982). Historically, the impact of new industry on communities also has been a matter of research interest (Summers et al. 1976). Such attention is appropriate because new industry can represent a significant source of change for a community. As Hallinan(1997) notes, social change is neither linear nor predictable. At times, it is sufficiently disruptive that one cannot predict whether a system confronted with change will collapse completely,...

  12. Part V Prospects for the Future
    • 13 Japan and Kentucky in Perspective
      (pp. 311-328)
      P.P. Karan

      Japanese investment in the United States is a subject that has elicited considerable attention ranging from the highly journalistic to the scholarly. During Japan’s boom years in the 1980s, Japanese investment in the United States soared, leading many to raise questions about what this investment would mean for the U.S. economy as well as for society. The paranoid concern that Japanese investment elicited in the 1980s has given way to more balanced assessments in the 2000s. Perhaps one reason Japan’s investment surge became such an issue is because of the different cultural traditions of Japan and the United States. Considerable...

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 329-332)
  14. Index
    (pp. 333-342)