This most welcome study is a translation of Ihara Ryoji's Toyota no rōdō genba (Tokyo: Sakurai Shoten, 2003), originally published in Japanese. Ihara is a professor at Gifu University who spent three and a half months in 2001 employed as what he calls a “casual” worker at a Toyota assembly plant in the Nagoya region. He thus replicated the participant observation methodology of journalist Kamata Satoshi's 1973 exposé of working conditions in Toyota's “model” factories, which was translated and published in English in 1982 as Japan in the Passing Lane: An Insider's Account of Life in a Japanese Auto Factory (New York: Pantheon, 1982)—but with one key difference. Kamata was a muckraker who was out to expose the social costs behind Toyota's success story (he also spent a full six months in the factory); Ihara, on the other hand, is an academic whose goal in investigating conditions on the factory...
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Book Review| May 01 2009
Toyota's Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor
Toyota's Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor. By Ihara Ryoji. Translated by Hugh Clarke.
Trans Pacific Press,
1pp. $79.95 (cloth); $34.95 (paper).
Journal of Asian Studies (2009) 68 (2): 628–630.
Michael Gibbs; Toyota's Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2009; 68 (2): 628–630. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911809000989
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