Back in 2008, a Bank of Korea report found that of 5,586 companies older than 200 years in 41 countries, 56% of them were in Japan.
In 2019, there were over 33,000 businesses in Japan over a century old, according to research firm Teikoku Data Bank.
Osaka-based construction giant Takenaka was founded in 1610, while even some global Japanese brands like Suntory and Nintendo have unexpectedly long histories stretching back to the 1800s.
Hara, who worked in Silicon Valley for a decade, says that Japanese companies’ emphasis on sustainability, rather than quick maximisation of profit, is a major reason why so many of the nation’s businesses have such staying power.
“In Japan, it’s more: how can we move [the company] on to our descendants, our children, our grandchildren?” he explains.