Skip to content


Gilberto Morales

Ganko Keitai. Los «gansos voladores» dinamizan la economía del sudeste asiático.

- The model studied is based on the trends towards learning the most relevant economic-industrial techniques, methods and production processes in the international market.

Ganko Keitai. Los «gansos voladores» dinamizan la economía del sudeste asiático.

The States try to satisfy the needs of their population in a self-managed way, however, in the current market system it is impossible not to depend on the rest of the nations to complete the minimum requirements for a dignified life. This is demonstrated with the theory Ganko Keitai, wedge development, flying geese or flying geese by Kaname Akamatsu, in which there is a model or prototype of action, in this case Japan, where the rest of the nations equate their industrial processes to repeat the great results projected in its economic growth.

1. Approach to the Japanese industrial sector, a new dawn, causes of economic takeoff

After the devastating effects of World War II, Japan's industrial growth was substantial due to the following factors: 1) Realignment of economic conglomerates; 2) Revitalization of the trade union movement; 3) Agrarian reform; 4) Emphasis on heavy industry and technology; 5) Massive stimulation of employment; 6) Improvement of the work division process and subcontracting system; 7) Rapid growth of the middle class and equalization of wages; 8) Diversification of demand. (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean -CEPAL-, 1989)

Mainardi (2018) refers to other elements that forcefully promoted industrial production in the Japanese country and its reproduction in neighboring countries: A) Relationship established with peer countries in the region, by taking advantage of geographic-cultural proximity; B) Window of opportunity for the United States to win the ideological war against Soviet communism,

By stimulating and teaching capitalist practices of industrial processes in Asian countries; C) Internationalization of Asian national companies, through an importer-producer-exporter system; D) Good acceptance and use of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); D) Establishment of Free Trade Zones (ZLC), in order to attract companies with foreign capital; E) Virtuous cycle, in which the investment-export factors are complementary and dependent on their growth; F) Exchange of Know How with Japanese companies that arrived in South Korea, when analyzing the case study presented.

2. Kaname Akamatsu, a renowned economist in Asia, unnoticed in other regions of the world

Kaname Akamatsu, Japanese economist and educator, was born in 1896 in northern Kyushu. His academic-professional training is developed in various prestigious institutions in the field, as explained by Oizumi and Muñóz (2014): "Akamatsu graduated from the Kobe Higher School of Commerce (currently Kobe University) in 1919 and from the Higher School of of Commerce of Tokyo (currently Hitotsubashi University) in 1921” (p.204). Likewise, the cited authors mention the relevance of the experience learned from him, between 1924-1926, in Germany and, above all, the United States, mainly at Harvard University, from which he extracted invaluable knowledge to develop his theory Ganko Keitai .

Akamatsu's intention, in its wedge development model (flying geese) that it proposed in the 1930s, with the national and international experience acquired, consists in facilitating production processes, strategically, so that Japanese companies experience the approach, adherence, reproduction and distribution to a global market, of local and regional manufacturing products, since it was intended that the aforementioned country would be the leader and model for the rest of the Asian nations, due to its greater industrial and technological development . (Mainardi, 2018) However, his scientific contributions are not recognized outside of Asia and go unnoticed by countless economists.

In this regard, Oizumi and Muñóz (2014) compile and synthesize the three scope phases that Kaname Akamatsu raised in his theory:

The first phase of the original model begins with the importation of foreign products, so that when domestic demand increases to a sufficient level, domestic production begins. The rationalization of the new industry created from the impulse of imports proceeds immediately. Later, when production reaches a level where it can export, it starts exporting, and subsequently this export comes to exceed import.

This second stage or export period produces the transition from import substitution to export promotion. In this period the fundamental political decision on which industries are going to be protected and which are going to be abandoned is posed. Generally, industries that cannot become competitive must be abandoned or their production must be transferred abroad.

From then on, imports once again exceed exports, but these are imports that the national industry itself -national companies now carry out abroad, taking advantage of the lower production costs of an already mature industry in the interior. (pp.208-209)

The three stages previously analyzed constitute a very successful strategy to generate abrupt growth in the internal industrial sector of any State, especially in developing nations, for the following reasons: First, it seeks to stabilize the company in the territory of origin, when importing foreign products, making them known to national customers and encouraging them to buy routinely; Second, the national companies begin with the production of those same goods and their internal commercialization, by satisfying the national demand and avoiding significant financial losses; Third, when surpluses are produced with respect to the goods produced and sold, it is possible to export to other countries.

3. Japanese Industrial Triforce, Southeast Asia's Leading Goose

Toledo (1997) defines the governing triforce in the production processes that allowed the economic takeoff of Japan and Southeast Asia: 1) The State, 2) Companies and 3) Workers. These three protagonists coordinate harmoniously, for the purposes of Confucian thought, to contribute from their position to the industrial development of the brand "Japan Inc."

3.1. State:

It is the articulating center of economic processes in Japan, it is constituted as an imposing figure of power, but, at the same time, flexible and with decisions oriented to the maximization of profits in industrial processes. It is not a simple return to the mercantilist model, on the contrary, it represents an entity that is more aware of the needs for the evolution of economic activities, to generate qualitative and quantitative advances in production relations, sufficient to trigger the catch-up process. ) of the most developed countries.

3.2. Companies:

Japanese companies have particularities that distinguish them from the rest of the other countries and project them with highly efficient results, the main ones consist of:

I) A complementary and symbiotic relationship with the State to develop the national project, through industrial policies and economic facilities, which allows to obtain maximized profits;

II) A rigid organizational structure, in terms of discipline and professionalism, but flexible in terms of the acceptance of modern methods and techniques;

III) The idea of "family" between companies of different sizes, which contributes to the creation of organizational networks for the use of subcontracting and subsidiarity mechanisms;

3.3. Workers:

The fundamental characteristics of the Japanese workers, which drive the perpetuity of the Akamatsu economic model, are unrestrained obedience to the orders of superiors and a tireless passion for work. The great achievement of Japan was to establish the so-called golden pillars: "A) Lifetime employment system, B) The determination of salaries by seniority, C) The union by company or house" (Toledo, 1997, p. 147). This triad sustained the labor relations in Japan, since the end of the Second World War, and demands the following attributions of the collaborators: “multifunctional workers. with a high vertical rotation. or intra-company, and little horizontal or inter-company rotation” (Idem).

4. Keys to understanding the Ganko Keitai model, of wedge development, of flying geese or flying geese

Any successful, long-lasting and reproducible process entails the establishment of solid pillars that resist any threat to its stability. Therefore, the leading goose (Japan), implemented seven key elements to ensure its economic production system, as presented by Toledo (1997), known as the seven samurai:

I) Efficient administration, endowed with traditional Asian properties but open to learning modern techniques from the West and from other latitudes of the planet;

II) Avant-garde technology, in which the United States served as a prototype for Asian countries to develop their own infrastructure;

III) Capital, the imperative use of which must be allocated towards the investment of greater capacities in all areas of interest, to form and reproduce more capital;

IV) Government support, in which political leaders coordinate the national project of economic growth, together with businessmen (entrepreneurs, industrialists, bankers) and the national and regional bureaucratic elite.

V) Wide international network, informative, business, marketing, banking, etc., that represent and defend the Japan Inc. brand, against other competitors in the international market, by projecting the values of discipline, perseverance, quality, timely compliance, accessibility, improvement, sophistication, typical of Asian cultures.

VI) Keiretsu Strategy, with a banking institution as the core of the structure, guarantees full trust and collaboration between the different companies that make it up, to establish structures for the transfer of production stages, likewise, subcontracting between the most specialized in specific activities, with the primary objective of saving costs throughout the process.

VII) Sense of national mission, a kind of nationalist feeling impregnated in the governmental, business and worker spheres, to convince them of a project integrated by all, for the benefit of the total population of Asian countries, without reproach no hesitation, the sole purpose is to magnify the brand “Japan Inc.”

González and Loaiza (2014) add other essential aspects to understand the economic model of flying geese in Japan and the countries of Southeast Asia:

A) Comparative advantages:

The application of the principles of David Ricardo's classical international trade theory, in which factor endowments, labor conditions and costs, would become the basis of production, as well as international trade, led countries to begin to insert themselves in trade flows. (...) Additionally, the geographical proximity made transfers of production processes from Developed Countries (PD) to Less Developed Countries (LDC) more propitious.

B) Facilities for investors:

In a period in which in the majority of underdeveloped countries there was animosity towards transnational corporations, in many countries of the region, the borders began to be opened, to receive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the main transnational companies in the world ( North America and Europe, mainly). In this sense, the countries of the region were ahead of the financial liberalization processes of the late eighties.

C) Institutional reforms:

In countries such as Japan, South Korea, the People's Republic of China, as well as the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), institutional and economic reforms, especially, began to lay the foundations for rapid adaptation to changes. that they introduced into their economic systems, to adapt their production systems to the great world changes, which were already beginning to take shape in the world since the beginning of the seventies, but especially in the eighties.

D) Oriental values:

Although there is no certainty about the values that are practiced in Asia, influenced above all by China and India, talking about these values is basically talking about respect for authority and hierarchy, for the supremacy of the collective over the individual. , to the search for harmony and personal relationships and compliance with the word; to the feeling of honor and integration of the family.

E) Competitive Mindset:

That makes them look for the improvement and refinement of processes, procedures and results. Seeking quality over quantity, detail over coarseness and the insatiable will to seek to improve themselves and overcome adverse situations that prevent them from reaching their goals and objectives.

F) Society organized based on hierarchies:

Society and social classes know that, based on work plus effort, everyone can ascend socially. For this reason, it is essential to start from the bottom of the business-labor hierarchical scale, to know all the processes, to have acceptance because he knows how to command as well as how to do things. This form of organization prevailed until a few years ago, but little by little it is changing, after the reforms introduced in the labor systems, after the 1997-1998 crisis.

G) Long-term vision:

Counting on the capacity not only to visualize oneself in the long term, but also to count on the institutions, even if they are authoritarian, that have allowed most of these countries to plan their future, with the support of technical instruments, political organization, business and social, to trace the critical path towards the achievement of the great national goals.

H) Flexibility and adaptation:

Having flexibility coupled with the perception of what works and what does not work, to change it wisely and efficiently, is a great quality of these countries, whose characteristic, from the economic point of view, was essential for the In the 1960s and 1970s, the vast majority of these countries modified their import-substituting industrialization development models for one that promoted exports. What, in the end, was important for them to achieve their current goals of growth and industrial, economic and social development.

I) Spirit of collaboration and regional identity:

Derived from the European occupations, in the 17th to the 19th centuries, but, above all, Japanese, during the so-called War or occupation of the Pacific, it has allowed them to create regional organizations for government cooperation, economic integration and collaboration on issues of health, environmental, economic, financial, technology, etc. Thanks to this, the formal and informal integration processes have favored inter- and intra-regional communication and support in their area. (pp.11-13)

Two other factors that contribute greater efficiency to the impressive industrial growth of the Southeast Asian nations are: 1) Competent bureaucracy, with the structuring of a solid and efficient institutional scaffolding in the key positions of the central government dependencies, especially those related to economic-political issues; 2) Integrated autonomy, so that national companies can direct and allocate financial resources towards optimal industrial investment, with both political and structural facilities from government agencies, but without the institutions being co-opted by interests private individuals. (Kasahara, 2013)

5. conclusions

Japan represents a resilient, disciplined, obedient nation, focused on the collective, demonstrated in the joint efforts of its triforce (State, companies and workers) to execute the master plan for economic growth of Kaname Akamatsu, formulated under the following theoretical denominations, in different languages: Wedge development, Ganko Keitai, Flying Geese or Flying geese.

The model studied is based on the trends towards learning the most relevant economic-industrial techniques, methods and production processes in the international market, therefore, the first step is the acquisition of know how from American and Western companies, in the case of Japan, with its neighboring countries as a domino effect. Then, national production begins in Asian countries with the satisfaction of internal demand. Exports of surplus products continue to catch up with developed countries, being competitive in the most demanding economic markets.

This economic theory, proposed by Akamatsu, is based on postulates of internationalization of Asian companies, the virtuous cycle of the economy, the practice of the keiretsu strategy, an efficient administration of companies and capital, a feeling of national mission but with regional integration actions, intensive but not invasive coordination, but facilitation of the State, companies and workers, the effective reproduction of oriental values, especially absolute individual commitment added to unconditional loyalty to the national project of Asian countries.


    Comisión Económica para América Latina y El Caribe -CEPAL-. (1989). La industrialización en Japón, 1955-1980. Estructuras y características de las manufacturas. LC/R. 798.

    González, J. y Loaiza, M. (2014). Nuevo modelo asiático de desarrollo para el siglo XXI. Una estrategia regional de competitividad global. Tiempo Económico, VIII (26), 5-20.

    Herrera, B. (2009). La conglomeración económica: una vía de desarrollo para las pyme. Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Contables, 16 (32), 51-64.

    Kasahara, S. (2013). The Asian developmental state and the flying greese paradigm. United Nations, 213, 1-30.

    Mainardi, M. (2018). Ciclo virtuoso de la economía del este de Asia. Estudio de caso de las empresas japonesas en la República de Corea. En L. Bolinaga y B. Bavoleo (Comps.). Procesos políticos, económicos y sociales en la península coreana (pp.91-103). Editorial Teseo y UAI Editorial.

    Oizumi, Y. y Muñóz, F. (2014). Kaname Akamatsu y el Modelo de Desarrollo Industrial Japonés. Revista de Economía Mundial, (37), 201-224.

    Toledo, J. (1997). El modelo asiático de relaciones industriales ¿hacia una japonización del Asia del Pacífico? Iztapalapa, 42, 135-160.

The best content in your inbox

Join our newsletter with the best of CEMERI

Related articles

Morales, Gilberto. “Ganko Keitai. Los «gansos voladores» dinamizan la economía del sudeste asiático..” CEMERI, 15 sept. 2022,