The Maintenance and (Co-)Creation of Tradition in Japanese Transnational Corporations/Organisations in Indonesia

Yukimi Shimoda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


This study considers a boundary between tradition and modernity. Transnational corporations and organisations are often associated with the image of providing ‘the essence of modernity’ through business activities across geographical boundaries. In turn, close observation in everyday activities in the workplace reveals that individual employees are maintaining and (co-)creating tradition. This makes a sharp contrast with the image of ‘modernity’.

This study based upon ethnographic field work in Indonesia explores the daily activities of both Japanese expatriate and Indonesian employees, who worked for Japanese transnational corporations and organisations. In transnational office spaces, Japanese expatriate and Indonesian employees encounter and engage in maintaining and (co-)creating each other’s traditions as obligation and/or in a positive manner. They cross geo-spatial boundary of the two countries, and time, which they spent for fostering their traditions in home countries. These changes occur subtly and slowly in everyday life among employees. It depends on the point of view whether changes brought by their interactions are considered as detraditionalisation or modernisation. In conclusion, this study highlights the ambiguity of the boundary between tradition and modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTraditionalism and Modernity: Issues and Perspectives in Sociology and Social Anthropology
EditorsA.H.M. Zehadul Karim
PublisherPartridge Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4828-9141-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4828-9139-3, 978-1-4828-9140-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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