Skip navigation
Paperback | $20.95 Short | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780262740142 | 280 pp. | 6 x 9 in | January 1988

The Invisible Link

Japan's Sogo Shosha and the Organization of Trade


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.


"This book puts the sogo shosha under the microscope. It examines the specifics of how they coordinate trade and the flow of goods through the production process and how management keeps these far-flung enterprises working together despite internal conflicts of interest. Along the way, it offers perhaps the best description available of the internal dynamics of a Japanese office. For foreigners wanting to know what makes the point men in Japan's external trade tick, this is a valuable book."
- Business Week