Microbrew event in Tokyo

On Monday, March 14, the DIJ (German Institute for Japanese Studies) Business and Economics Study Group is hosting a presentation titled “Putting the ji in ji-bīru: Policy, deregulation and entrepreneurship in the Japanese microbrewery industry.” Sounds like it might be a good one if you’re interested in government policy and its impact on our favorite hoppy drinks.

Jesper Edman, Tokyo Office director for the Stockholm School of Economics’ European Institute of Japanese Studies, will give a talk beginning at 18:30 along these lines:

This presentation examines the evolution of the Japanese micro-brewery (ji-bīru) industry from its initial establishment through deregulation in 1994 to the present. Drawing on archival data as well as first-hand interviews, I show how deregulation of the brewing industry merged with a larger policy goal, the rejuvenation of regional prefectural economies.This policy agenda subsequently resulted in a discourse and logic that shaped the entire industry and its economic trajectory. In particular, the emphasis on regional revitalization served to mobilize a particular group of both entrepreneurs and support actors and institutions. I show that deregulation is not simply the removal of rules, and that entrepreneurs are not simply independent and atomized actors. The very identity of entrepreneurs in the ji-biru industry, the definition of the ji-bīru product and the standards by which it was judged, were a result of the interaction of entrepreneurs, supporting actors and institutions, and the state through the process of deregulation. I also examine how these various aspects impacted the long-term survival and growth of the industry as a whole.

Following the presentation, Coedo Brewery CEO Asagiri Shigeharu will give a short introduction to his company, followed by a tasting of its products. Sounds like a nice way to unwind after the talk. You’ll need to register by March 10 by writing to Florian Kohlbacher at the DIJ (kohlbacher at dijtokyo.org).

The Business and Economics Study Group is “intended as a forum for young scholars and Ph.D. candidates,” but I know a number of people in Tokyo have a healthy interest in this industry, and it shouldn’t be a problem to attend this even if you aren’t an academic.

You can read the full announcement at the H-Japan mailing list archive. Click that link for the details.