The ´´Secret´´ of the Centennial Japanese companies

Shinise is how  Japanese refer to those companies with more than 1 century of operations. It is known that today, in Japan there is several of the oldest companies in the world. They have maintained ownership within the same family and continue to do, the same activity during that time. This is what the meaning for the “shinise“ word is. Now the question is how do they do it? How have they never fallen into bankruptcy?

Shinise The Guaridan of Japanese traditions

Kyoto, was the ancient capital of Japan, also  thes city  with the largest proportion of these centenary companies. These companies actually satisficed  the need of traditional Japanese activities.  Traditional sake, traditional candies, and traditional Japanese arts and crafts, are some of the ``Shinise“ companies activities.

This`` Shinise“  company Gekkeikan is currently almost 400 years old and is managed by 14 consecutive generations of the Okura family. This company its dedicated to the sake manufacture. An other example its also,  the company Sasaya Iori, which has just completed 303 years of being in operations. The Sasaya Iori company its actually dedicated to the manufacture and sale of traditional candies.

But what is really the secret of these companies?  Itss well known that part of the key to its success is maintaining a high social status in Japan. This in spite of, a volatile commercial environment characterized by the loss of  values ​​and traditional practices. This with westernization of Japan and the increase of competition from larger companies operating internationally. Makes that the “Shinisen“  companies, have to be the guardian of Japanese traditions

Its well know that, the high social status  of the ´´Shinisen´´ companies, is due in part to the traditional emphasis of these companies. In addition to selling their products, they represent the typical customs of Japanese culture. In the same way they embody and reproduce the values ​​of the local community, shinise signatures function as custodians of local traditions.

But part of its centennial success is that, in the Japanese culture there is, a lot of love for  traditions. Which generates prestige among consumers and the local community.  Shinise companies are very committed to the communities where they are located. In addition to maintaining Japanese values ​​and an excellent quality of their products. This companies emphasize a great commitment to the welfare of the community.

Part of the secret is to focus on the long term

The reason that ´´Shinise´´ firms last so long,  is that they place a great emphasis on tradition and longevity.  Although companies want to obtain short-term profit.  It is known that these companies do the opposite, since they are very patiently focused on long-term profits. Adding that thiw companies are extremely cautious about deviating from their original approach. This companies are always balancing opportunities to innovate and maintain tradition. These companies believe that, when a business its created, it should be emphasized so that it can live for a long time and not for short-term profits.

The sizes of the shinise firms vary, some of them are giants companies and some others not so big. But what the ´´Shinise´´companies, have in common is that, many of them prioritizing the fulfillment of their existing commitments instead of seeking short-term gains or rapid growth. If they grew, they did it keeping these commitments.

Shinise companies play a role in their community, that of the prevention of  cultural erosion in local communities. The deal is that the community supports them with a high social position, generating many sales amid the pressures of the current market.

The Dark side of the shinise companies

The dark side in the success of shinise firms are the difficulties in maintaining their high social status. They feel the constant pressure of their community for not innovating (and focus only on maintaining the tradition) making these a monotonous work. Adding to the fact that the families that own shinise companies constantly make personal sacrifices. This sacrifices are to, maintain the continuity of their family and business. In a shinise, the company forces its owners to sacrifice their own will as feelings and will. Forcing future generations to continue with the business for their own pleasure in that particular  industry.

Shinise companies constantly have to discourage their innovations sometimes by the previous family generation. Because the interested in maintaining tradition, or by similar businesses that are concerned about maintaining the tradition of the industry as a whole. Ultimately, we find that these companies achieve such a long life through long-term sacrifice, both personally and in the organization.

-Wriiten by Luis Pedro Chávez