The Invisible Link takes a close look at the influential trading houses like Misubishi, Misui, and C. Ito which are known as sogo shosha. These uniquely Japanese institutions play a key role in the economy. Numbering nine in all, sogo shosha control about half of Japanese imports and exports, coordinating a vast array of business functions that range from the procurement of raw materials, to the fabrication of manufactured goods, and the sale of finished products both in Japan and abroad.
M.Y. Yoshino is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Thomas B. Lifson is a management consultant in Berkeley, California.