Management in Japan is a pretty big issue from what I see working here (I work in improvement, including management improvement).
They are in a weird position, some of the companies still managing like 50 years ago which is terrible and inefficient (and sometimes deadly for the employees), but on the other side some companies try to be younger and more international, and end up doing way too much and losing all logic and structure, losing their goal and priority in the process.
My current company, for exemple, got so excited about "3D printing" and "laser manufacturing" to be pioneers in Japan, that they invested a fortune in currently useless very expensive machines for R&D, while they completely "forgot" to keep money to buy spare parts or machines on the critical and fragile machine our entire production depends on. We obviously have only one machine like this, and the entire production stops anytime we have an issue with it. Great management, right ?
Their usual excuse is that "no-one in the company has management training or experience", and it seems pretty usual because foreign friends in other companies tell me the same thing. It's entirely possible that the GF management is just completely incompetent and got lost in their "let's innovate with new titles" stuff.
I've heard and experienced things like this many times during my time here in Japan too. I was working with management at an NGO and they wanted to spread a story, so they made an animation (one of the most terrible I've ever seen) and spent 200,000+ yen recording it professionally, but forgot to check the script before doing so, and ended up leaving a bunch of mistakes in, so they threw away all that money for nothing (and that's a fuckload for a non-profit). Friends at Rakuten have told me how poor management there is too. Seriously, leadership over here seems to just be awful no matter where you go. As you say, Game Freak is obviously no different, sadly.
Compared to France, I almost never see here advertisement for management schools, and I think it makes sense. Leadership is non existent in Japan, the hierarchy is usually made depending on the age of people. When they get older, they get promoted, and nobody cares if they are good managers/leaders or not. They don't delegate either, the CEO decides a ton of small stuff, even if he doesn't know anything about it, because you don't have leaders under him.
Seriously, they asked me to "manage from the bottom", because even the guys who are 4 or 5 levels above me in the company and "manage" 50 people have no idea how to manage a team or project. They're technical experts, but worthless as managers.
Society being way more important than the individual, they are educated to be part of a strong society, but in the other hand they are "weaker" as individuals: no leadership, less initiatives, less problem solving capability, less innovation. They're great at following orders, but terrible at deciding the right orders. And of course, even if the manager gives terrible orders, people will obey without saying anything.
Last edited by Faelco - on 12 June 2019