The Japanese Distribution System



This chapter focuses on the Japanese distribution system and its recent developments in the retail market. Westerners used to criticize the Japanese distribution system as a closed shop while Japanese in contrast argue that it is of close cooperation, a crucial element for constant harmony which benefits all of society. It will be shown (1) that in recent years the distribution system and the retail market changed remarkably and (2) it will be shown that there are foreign firms enjoying market success in Japan.


Foreign Firm Department Store Retail Market Convenience Store Japanese Firm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abegglen J (2007) Seiko suru gaishikei kigyou (Success of Foreign Multinationals in Japan). Kokumin keizai zashi, (J Political Econ Commercial Sci) 196(1):119–133 (Kobe University; original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  2. Bebenroth R (2011) Ryūtsū kakumei: The Japanese distribution revolution. In: Mann A (ed) Herausforderungen der internationalen marktorientierten Unternehmensführung. Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden, pp 525–536Google Scholar
  3. Buckley DR (2007) Economic integration a new approach to reform: the EBC report on the Japanese business environment. The European Business Council in Japan, Japan, pp 20–21Google Scholar
  4. Czinkota MR, Kotabe M (2000) An overview of Japanese distribution strategy. In: Czinkota MR, Kotabe M (eds) Japanese distribution strategy. Thompson Learning, Belmont, pp 3–5Google Scholar
  5. Daiyamondo (2009) Yunikuro zekkouchou de hi ga tsuita hi–to iryou sensou (Splendid order of heated clothing at Uniqlo [war of heated clothing]). Original in Japanese, Daiyamondo, Tokyo 12(19):14–16Google Scholar
  6. Daiyamondo (2010) Tokucho: yasusa purasu alupha de (Special issue: Inexpensive plus alpha), 2(6):45 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  7. Drew M, Howard C, Herbig P (1998) The Japanese distribution system. Eur Bus Rev 2:109–121Google Scholar
  8. Gekiryu (2010) Hankyu no shinso fukei made hokai shita: Shiten rashu—no shozodai (Destroying landscape of Hankyu mental image: Rush of smallness through store closing. 4:68–71 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  9. Ishibashi C (2010) Seben netto shoppingu (Seven net shopping). Gekiryu 4:14–17 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  10. Kano C (2010) Yamada denki, Yodobashi camera, big camera: okata demise no hitsuzen ga umu shohin to benrisei no sougouka. (Necessity of products from big scale branch stores and adjustments of practical use of general products). Gekiryu 4:46–48 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  11. Maguire K (2001) Penetrating the Japanese market: the challenge of non-tariff barriers. Eur Bus Rev 13(4):241–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Meyer-Ohle H (2007) Veränderungen im japanischen Distributionssystem. In: Andreas M, Anja W (eds) Japans Zukunftindustrien. Springer, Berlin, pp 351–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Min H (1996) Distribution channels in Japan: challenges and opportunities for the Japanese market entry. Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage 26(10):22–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nestle (2007) Japanese market. Data received from Nestle Confectionery K.K. at Kobe, JapanGoogle Scholar
  15. Nikkei Business (2010) Mitsukoshi—Isetan no kake: Nebiki ha koukyaku no tame narazu. (The game of Mitsukoshi—Isetan: Discount is not for customer). Nikkei Bus J 2(22):26–38 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  16. Pirog III SF, Lancioni R (1996) US-Japan distribution channel cost structures: is there a significant difference? Int J Phys Distrib Logist Manage 27(1):53–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Reuters (2013) Analyst research report snapshot. Accessed 24 July 2013
  18. Schaede U (2008) Choose and focus. Cornell University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Shao AT, Herbig P (1993) The future of sogo shosha in a global economy. Int Mark Rev 10(5): 37–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Suka S (2010) Seichi naki tempo heisa de otozuwareru sebun ryu no hyakaten keiei no shinka (Closing of holy dreams of department stores and true management value). Diamondo 17:2–6 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  21. Tamura M (2000) Foreword: changing structure and strategy of distribution in Japan. In: Czinkota MR, Kotabe M (eds) Japanese distribution strategy. Thompson Learning, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  22. Tsuruta T, Yahagi T (2002) The large-scale retail stores act and its “erosion” in the 1970s—1980s. In: Miwa Y, Nishimura KG, Ramseyer JM (eds) Distribution in Japan. Oxford Press, Oxford, pp 114–147Google Scholar
  23. Yamaguchi K (2009) marubeni kokumotsu ngamba uan shosha no yashin hi no maru meja– no genjitsumi. (Ambition of marubeni trading house to become number one in grape business in recent time [round sun major]. Daiyamondo, Tokyo 92–97 (original in Japanese)Google Scholar
  24. Yamaguchi Y (2012) Japan’s pain is wal-mart’s gain. In: Bloomberg business. Dec. 15th. Accessed 17 March 2014
  25. Yearbook Commerce (2013) Yearbook of the current survey of commerce (in Japanese). METI source. Accessed October 2014

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kobe University Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB)KobeJapan

Personalised recommendations