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science, but for most of her energetic life she did nothing to demonstrate that conscience beyond writing missives to the editors ofCharleston newspapers. Her compassion had clear limits. She apparendy showed litde understanding of the consequences her preservation efforts had on the city's social geography. An exchange in 1935 between Frost and a union official over public housing is revealing . The union leader complained that die use of zoning ordinances to prevent the construction of affordable housing in the preservation district was intended to keep "laboring men" from enjoying the same rights as the "capitalist." Frost dismissed the complaint, claiming that the zoning ordinance said nothing about "the social orders" but instead dealt with "architectural values." The social consequences of Frost's attitude are evident to any visitor to the city today, where racial and class lines are etched with exceptional and shocking precision. Bland might well have used tiiis exchange as the pretext for an extended discussion ofthe fundamental relationship between elitism and the preservation movement in Charleston and elsewhere. But on this important matter and others he has little to say. Japanese Industry in the American South By Choong Soon Kim Routledge, 1995 206 pp. Cloth, $5 5.00; paper, $16.95 Reviewed by W. Miles Fletcher III, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of TheJapanese Business Community and National Trade Policy, 1920—1942. In this concise book, die first to focus onJapanese firms in the South, anthropologist Choong Soon Kim provides many useful insights into a timely topic. As he notes, the sharp rise inJapanese investment in the United States during die 1980s and early 1990s has attracted much attention and has produced sharply ambivalent feelings among Americans. Although local politicians have gone hat-in-hand to Tokyo to plead for foreign investment and local workers have treasured new opportunities for well-paying jobs, other citizens have resented die foreign intrusion into their communities. Moreover, controversies have arisen over the hiring and promotion policies ofJapanese companies. Academic interest has also focused on Reviews 1 1 5 the less explosive but still fascinating issue of the interaction of two quite different cultures as Japanese and Americans adjusted to each odier's unfamiliar ways. One of the strengths oíJapanese Industry in the American South lies in its lucid analysis ofthe operations ofthreeJapanese firms, whose identities remain confidential , in Tennessee. One is part of a large company, while the other two represent smaller enterprises. Kim presents a convincing case that these companies have created a hybrid form of management that mixes Japanese and American practices. For example,Japanese managers have not transplanted the well-known permanent employment system to subsidiaries in the United States, but compared to American counterparts, they have placed a priority on providing employment security and in some cases have gone to great lengths to avoid layoffs. Instead of the large, open group offices common inJapan or the American-style private office, the companies tend to use semiprivate offices divided by partitions . Firms have not followed the Japanese practice of regularly rotating employees in different jobs, but diey have placed a special emphasis on company identity and equality among employees. Executives do not have the privilege of reserved parking places, and often all employees wear uniforms. This study also confronts major controversies surroundingJapanese firms in America. Critics charge, for example, that Japanese executives prefer to operate in the South in order to avoid labor unions. Kim points out that although some firms, such as Nissan, take an overtly hostile stance toward unions, other companies in Tennessee and other states cooperate well with them. The location of relatively few Japanese operations in West Tennessee, which has a relatively high proportion ofAfrican Americans, has led to accusations ofdiscrimination in hiring . Statistics show, however, that Japanese companies readily locate in counties with a high percentage ofminorities. Kim argues that in general the availability of a well educated work force, the quality ofinfrastructure, and the proximity to interstate highways have the greatest influence in determining a firm's location. If this assessment ofJapanese firms' policies seems too rosy, the book does point out some problems. An assignment in America...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 115-118
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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