Japanese Business Hierarchy

If we look at the corporate culture in Japan, then one feature of the business organizations which comes out distinctively is Japanese business hierarchy. The business hierarchies are quite important and play vitally significant role in the Japanese organizations.

The Japanese people are very strong believers of the fact that one should never attempt to do anything beyond or below their status and they have implemented this belief in their corporate culture also by drawing strict lines by defining functionalities & scope of each and every designation or position in the organizations.

The Japanese business hierarchy defines clear functional boundaries for all the professionals of the organization. Hierarchies are extremely vital in the corporate culture of Japanese people and their relative status in the enterprise determines and defines their interaction with other people in the organization.

The hierarchies in the Japanese corporate culture are majorly based on the cooperation & consensus instead of authority delegation and top to bottom decision making process.

Japanese people strongly feel that the trend of delegation of authority and decision making power from top to bottom typifies the western understanding of hierarchy.

Hierarchies for Japanese people do not only define the authority and power that every position possesses but it is a way of actively involving all the people and their contribution in the organization by defining their roles and responsibilities.

As per Japanese business hierarchy the individuals in an organization must be made aware of their position in the organization and with respect to other individuals. As per Japanese belief, the hierarchical arrangement of employees gives them a sense of belongingness to the organization and their group, and this is the way the Japanese organization draw their strength.

The hierarchy outlines the rules and procedures to guide the various activities to be performed by the members of the organization and it also informs the employees that what role they are required to perform.

Japanese Business Hierarchy
Japanese Business Hierarchy

An advantage of hierarchy is that it reduces the external uncertainty through research forecasting and by planning sub-units. Another major function to be performed by the hierarchy in an organization is to reduce the internal uncertainty arising out of the unpredictable, variable and random human behavior within the organization through the control mechanism.

The hierarchies help them to create and maintain a team work and group oriented environment which is permeated to all the aspects and echelons of the corporate life.

While the exact hierarchy followed by each company may vary from the other depending on the scope and objectives of the organization, but basic structure exercised by most of the organizations is quite similar.

The basic framework of Japanese business hierarchies:

  • Kaicho (Chairman)
  • Shacho (President)
  • FukuShacho (Vice President)
  • SunmuTorishimariyaku (Senior Executive Managing Director)
  • JomuTorishimariyaku(Executive Managing Director)
  • Torishimariyaku (Director)
  • Bucho (General Manager)
  • Kacho (Section Chief)
  • Kachodairi (Deputy Section Chief)
  • Kakaricho (Chief Clerk)
  • Ippanshain (general Employee)


The above list gives a basic structural hierarchy image of Japanese companies.