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Brad Richardson Memorial Lecture: Gil Latz, "Effective Leadership in Japan: The Case of Shibusawa Eiichi, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist"


Friday, February 28, 2020, 4:30PM - 7:00PM


Gil LatzVice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs Gil Latz lectures on "Effective Leadership in Japan: The Case of Shibusawa Eiichi, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist" at the Brad Richardson Memorial Lecture on Friday, February 28 in 01 Jennings Hall.

Latz will address possible lessons for twenty-first century Japan by reviewing the leadership and vision of Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931), a significant figure in modern Japanese history who played a key role in the country’s transformation into a modern nation. 

Eiichi is widely regarded as a key leader in the development of Japan as a modern country, as a dynamic force in the industrial world, and as a person dedicated to social and public welfare. To realize a new and more appropriate social system for the country, Eiichi argued that Confucianism legitimizes economic activity as a rational act, laying the foundation for Japanese leaders, and society-at-large, to embrace the need for change from feudal to modern.  Such neo-Confucian thought included a distinguishing characteristic: all social organizations are expected to define their relationship to the public interest, and to do so hand-in-hand with their mission or profit-seeking agenda. 

There is a remarkable similarity between the national challenges tackled by Eiichi throughout his long life—values, citizenship, and world affairs—and those facing Japan today. Were he alive, Eiichi would not be alone in arguing for discussion of these factors and their contribution to Japan’s social cohesion. His voice is noteworthy, however, because of the unique, Confucian-based principles he brings to such discussion.

Eiichi approached Japan’s modernization based on a framework that recognized roles for entrepreneurship as well as for philanthropy, particularly in relation to government, business, and NGO collaboration.  The presentation incorporates this framework to address two themes: first, the role of historical analysis in understanding Japan’s realities, identifying the challenges and opportunities facing modern Japan; and second, Japan’s future, by identifying practical strategies for the emergence of a “New Meiji.” Specifically, by introducing ideas related to individual empowerment and better governance, as well as venture philanthropy, I identify the elements that might comprise new international and regional development thinking that creatively address various challenges and opportunities facing Japan in the first quarter of the 21st century.

The presentation is based on: G. Latz. “Effective Leadership in Japan: The Case of Shibusawa Eiichi”. Japan's Future and a New Meiji Transformation: International Reflections. Ken Coates, Kimie Hara, Carin Holroyd, Marie Soderberg, ed. Routledge, 2019, pp. 120-29.

Event Flyer

Doors Open: 4:15 p.m.
Opening Remarks: 4:30 - 4:45 p.m.
Lecture with Q&A: 4:45 - 6:15 p.m.
Reception: 6:15 - 7 p.m.

This event is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant to The Ohio State University East Asian Studies Center, the Brad Richardson Memorial Fund, and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit. 

Location : 01 Jennings Hall
Contact : Stephanie Metzger, metzger.235@osu.edu

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