UCL School of Management

18 February 2019

A Japanese remedy for the UK's ailing town centres

The research found that ‘shinise’ companies held special social status in Kyoto (Image: UCL)

Ailing British town centres should look to the Japanese city of Kyoto for inspiration, according to new research from Professor Davide Ravasi.

Prof. Ravasi has been discussing his latest research in a piece for the Financial Times.

The paper, co-written with Innan Sasaki, Lancaster University, and Evelyn Micelotta, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, studied how business works in the city of Kyoto.

During their study, they found that centuries-old family-owned companies — called shinise — benefit from particular social standing and local support for their products, such as sake, confectionery, lacquerware or kimonos.

“You don’t ‘enter the market’ in Kyoto; you need to be accepted there . . . If you do it in a way that’s not respectful of the local traditions, you’re rejected”, said Ravasi.

It is in this, a re-instating of, and a respect of, local expressive traditions, that could inspire a rebuilding of identity within struggling British towns. 

You can read the full article on the FT website (subscription may be required)

Last updated Monday, 18 February 2019