Intercultural Group

New York & Tokyo

There is no economic relationship on earth more important than the one between the United States and Japan. In spite of this, Americans tend not to know much about the realities of Japanese business beyond the superficial reports on TV and in the newspaper. In these three books, Kuniyasu Sakai reveals one of Japan's best kept secrets, the true engine of innovation that has made it one of the most dynamic economies of the last forty years. These books, published in the United States by the Intercultural Group, are the most exciting on business management I have ever read.

Ken McCarthy


BUNSHA: Improving Your Business Through Company Division

Bigger is NOT better!

Kuniyasu Sakai and his partner, Hiroshi Sekiyama, are legendary managers in Japan. In the process of creating a prosperous group of companies, they discovered how to keep their companies on the cutting edge, their employees productive, and their clients happy, all at the same time. Their method is what Mr. Sakai calls bunsha (literally, 'dividing companies'), a system he and Mr. Sekiyama developed over more than 40 years of real-world corporate management.

Neither an academic theory, nor some uniquely-Japanese management concept, (Mr. Sakai urges managers to forget about studying theories and get back to doing what they do best: managing their companies), Bunsha's message is not merely one of improving corporate profit through downsizing, it is also a format for improving the lives of each and every employee, increasing both worker and manager motivation, as well as a viable plan for the rapid revitalization of any company.

Described here in English, this radical therapy has been documented in major Japanese newspapers and management journals for many years because it produces the best and most dramatic results: It works!

Lives in the Making: The Story of a Manufacturing Family

Much more than the story of one man or one family, Lives in the Making is a story of modern Japan. Of how and why a nation so weak and so poor - a nation of 'walking zombies who once were neighbors' - was not only able to rebuild itself, but to go on to become a world leader in a new age. Beginning with the awakening of Japan and its industrial development, it traces the evolution of the Japanese nation through the lives and line of one family. From their roots as artisans in traditional Tokyo to their position as renowned engineers in the new nation, and, subsequently, to their establishment of one of Japan's largest and most successful manufacturing groups.

No account yet in English matches the stark portrait of a young man who, like most of his generation, emerged out of the post-war rubble to face the desolation of a nation destroyed, both physically and spiritually. And no other account depicts as clearly, the determination of such men to rebuild over the widespread destruction. Not so much to find their place in industry, but to build an industry - and a nation - from the ground up.

Lives in the Making also provides an interesting introduction to the author's business philosophy, which is more fully explained in his book, BUNSHA.

To Expand We Divide: The Practice and Principles of Bunsha Management

Who is Kuniyasu Sakai? And what does he mean when he talks about dividing in order to expand? Co-founder of one of Japan's foremost high-tech manufacturing groups, Mr. Kuniyasu Sakai has spent nearly half-a-century building more than forty stable and profitable companies. Sakai's experience as a successful manager of a large group of small companies led to the development of his business philosophy known in Japan as Bunsha, or "company division." In To Expand, We Divide, Mr. Sakai further explains his "smaller is better" management philosophy by responding with common-sense and practical solutions to questions from managers who are either beginning the process of company division, or considering changing their system of business. Those with long-term vision are invited to consider and adopt Sakai's simple program of Bunsha originally developed and set in motion to insure that his own company would prosper well into the next century.

Third in a series of business books, To Expand, We Divide, furthers Mr. Sakai's ideas on management philosophy set forth in earlier titles, Bunsha and Lives the Making.

The Authors

Kuniyasu Sakai and Hiroshi Sekiyama started a business together in the aftermath of World War II. Over the next few decades they turned it into a highly profitable business. Rather than build a single, giant firm (such as their contemporaries did at Matsushita, Sony, and Honda), they divided it, and then kept on dividing. Always keeping each of their firms at its optimum size. Today the two are senior advisors to the Bunsha Group, comprising dozens of highly-successful companies. They are also in demand as consultants to a wide variety of both large and small Japanese firms. Mr. Sakai has regularly lectured on the subject of Bunsha to corporate boards and at management seminars, not only in Japan, but around the world.

David Russell is an American writer with more than a decade of experience in Japan. His interest in Japanese business led him to seek out Mr. Sakai some years ago. Their discussions formed the basis for three books, all related to the management system Mr. Sakai call Bunsha.


Much has been written lately about the Japanese keiretsu system and the important role played in the Japanese economy by the tiers of smaller suppliers. But no one does a better job that Kuniyasu Sakai. . . Mr. Sakai's combination of first-hand experience and humble wisdom make this book a rare gem.

Alan M. Webber, former Editorial Director, Harvard Business Review

... rich with anecdotes and cultural insights, Mr. Sakai's practical prescriptions for industrial reorganization which challenge many assumptions about Japan's 'economic miracle', deserve careful attention.

Valerie Burch-Abrahams, New York Bureau Chief, Newsweek Japan

Intercultural Group

Hiroshi Kagawa, President

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Last Updated November 14, 1995