News & Highlights

  • June 2022

Case Centennial Webinar: The Case Method in Japan

This June in collaboration NUCB Business School in Nagoya, Japan, the JRC held a webinar to celebrate the HBS Case Centennial. The webinar began with Professor Shinichi Takeuchi of NUCB Business School discussing the history of the case method, including how it started and how it has been developed globally. In the second part, Nobuo Sato, Executive Director of JRC, shared highlights of the case creation process. After that, Professor Hiroyuki Kurimoto, Chancellor of Nagoya University of Commerce & Business (NUCB), and Nobuo Sato discussed successful examples of case method and its introduction at NUCB Business School under the leadership of President Kurimoto. Professor Shinichi Takeuchi moderated the fourth part of the event which featured a panel of professors from across Japan: Professor Koji Mori, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Professor Michiko Shinoda, Nihon Fukushi University, Professor Yukari Takehana, Tokyo Gakugei University, and Mr. Tomohiro Tanno, President of Jikeikai. They shared how they have been making use of the case method in their field. More than 300 people joined the session.
  • JANUARY 2022

Scrap the Big New Year's Resolutions. Make 6 Simple Changes Instead.

Self-improvement doesn't need to be painful, especially during a pandemic. Rather than set yet another gym goal, look inward, retrain your brain, and get outside, says Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi. In this article Professor Takeuchi explains how business leaders can use the six practices to guide their own self-improvement efforts in the new year.
  • NOVEMBER 2021
  • Case Centennial

HBS Case Centennial: Benihana of Tokyo

“Benihana of Tokyo” case author W. Earl Sasser and Ryan Buell discuss the case, its importance to the field of service operations, and the joy of teaching it today 50 years after it was first written and taught.
  • September - November 2021

Sustainability Speaker Series with HBS Club of Japan

In collaboration with the Japan Research Center, the HBS Club of Japan launched a series of webinars on sustainability and invited guest speakers to share and promote their current thinking on sustainability issues in Japan and Asia. The speaker series kicked off with a webinar by Professor George Serafeim in September where he introduced his research on Impact Weighted Accounts (IWA). In November, Senior Lecturer John Macomber discussed his current research on how climate change will transform the way we build and invest. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman, Ayala Group and Koichi Narasaki, CEO, Palantir Japan and CDO, SOMPO Holdings joined as panelists and discussed the actions we can take on a practical level.

New Research on the Region

  • July 2022
  • Case

Building a Mishap-Free U.S. Navy

In 2021, Kevin “Bud” Couch, a retired Navy captain who was now working as a civilian employee of the Navy Safety Center, was trying to determine how best to reduce the risk of Navy mishaps. The Navy had experienced a series of major mishaps in 2017 that had led to a closer examination of how it operated and what it could improve.

  • February 2022
  • Case

Sekisui House and the In-Home Early Detection Platform

By: John D. Macomber and Akiko Kanno

To address an aging population and sales declines, major Japanese homebuilder considers pivoting to provide and support an in-home health detection platform, in competition with tech companies. This case considers the point of view of major builders regarding how aggressively to adopt smart home technologies as the nature of demand changes and as they navigate the digitalization of a very traditional bricks and mortar industry. The company has to consider its core business of building and selling homes, which is now under pressure in Japan as the creation of new households is slowing and the population is aging. Should the company incorporate smart home components, particularly regarding health monitoring and early response to health crises, and establish an ongoing service relationship with the occupants? How will major building products manufacturers like Toto and Panasonic respond? Health insurance companies? Can the company's health detection service compete with voice recognition offerings like Alexa and Siri from Amazon and Apple? With respect to serving this aspect of an aging population, will expertise in the tangible real property aspects of homes be a stronger or weaker influence than digital services in this evolution of business and global society?

  • February 2022
  • Case


By: Lauren Cohen and Akiko Kanno

Mitsuharu Kurokawa was the 18th generation leader of a family firm that produced and sold premium Japanese sweets, Toraya Confectionery Co., Ltd. He had succeeded the business from his father, Mitsuhiro Kurokawa who had led the firm for thirty years. Mitsuharu was committed to following his predecessors who had strived to please customers with delicious Japanese sweets. The challenge was how he could further improve product quality and diversify the product line to please the customers of today without affecting Toraya's brand image. Mitsuharu also believed that plant-derived "yokan" (a traditional sweet using azuki bean paste) was healthy and had the potential to become a global popular sweet, like chocolate. Thus as a long-term goal, Mitsuharu had an ambition to offer Japanese sweets to customers around the world. In planning ways to further grow the business, Mitsuharu had to pin down exactly how the family business was defined in relation to his family. He also needed to identify what role of prominence his family’s position within the highest tier of decision-making meant for the rest of the larger “Toraya family,” which included longtime employees. Would Mitsuharu’s endeavor to expand the product line to reach a wider customer base be in line with the well-being of the company? Would there be a risk of damaging Toraya’s image as a luxury brand? Would global expansion be the right decision for the firm with a long history of offering traditional sweets to premium customers in Japan?

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Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
Executive Director
Akiko Kanno
Assistant Director
Akiko Saito
Senior Researcher
Yukari Takizawa
Office Manager