Dr Hendrik Meyer-Ohle

Associate Professor

Department of Japanese Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore




  • 1994 (December) Dr phil Philipps University Marburg (Dissertation on innovation and dynamics in Japanese retailing)
  • 1991/1992 Double degree in Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann) and Japanese Studies (Magister Artium) - Philipps University Marburg
  • 1986 to 1992 Undergraduate Studies in Business Administration and Japanese Studies - Philipps University Marburg


National University of Singapore

  • December 2022 – Head Department of Japanese Studies
  • January 2011 - June 2015 Head Department of Japanese Studies
  • January 2009 - December 2010 Vice Dean Graduate Studies and International Relations - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • January 2007 - December 2007 Acting Head Department of Japanese Studies
  • August 2005 - December 2007 Assistant Dean Graduate Studies and Research Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • August 2005 - December 2006  Deputy Head Department of Japanese Studies
  • July 2005 - Associate Professor  Department of Japanese Studies
  • January 2000 - 2005 Assistant Professor Department of Japanese Studies

German Institute of Japanese Studies, (DIJ), Tokyo

  • February 1995 - 1999 Senior Research Fellow - German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo

Japan Centre - Philipps University Marburg

April-September 1994 Research Associate - Japan Centre - Philipps University Marburg

Longer Overseas Research Periods and Awards

  • February 2020-June 2020 Sabbatical – Waseda University, Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Economics
  • January 2016 - December 2016 Sabbatical - Waseda University, Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Economics
  • January 2008 - December 2008 Sabbatical - Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto) - College of Business Administration
  • 2005 January - July: writing scheme Asia Research Institute (ARI) (NUS)
  • 2004 December: invited visiting researcher Japan Institute of Labor Policy and Training (JILPT)
  • 1993-1994: scholarship recipient at the German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo



Regularly Taught

JS2101 Approaches to Japanese Studies I

JS2225 Marketing and Consumer Culture in Japan

JS2230 Itadakimasu - Food in Japan

JS3222 Japanese Business Management

JS3227 Entrepreneurship: Self-made in Japan

JS4232 FDI and Local Development: Japanese Firms in Asia

JS2880A Field Exposure Japan: Fashion Business

GEH1016 Understanding Consumption


Modules previously taught

JS1101e Introduction to Japanese Studies

JS2221 Organization of Japanese Business

JS2226 Global City Tokyo

JS3101 Approaches to Japanese Studies II

JS4227 Japanese Political Economy

JS5102 Reading in Japanese Studies II


Graduate Student Supervision

I am supervising research students writing their theses on topics of Japanese business and economy. If you are interested in graduate studies at the Department of Japanese Studies at NUS, please visit the departmental homepage for more information on programs and scholarships.




Current Research:


Organization of Human Resources Management of Japanese Firms

This project looks at the way that Japanese companies organize the human resources management function. What role does the human resources management department play in Japanese companies and is this role changing? What are the expectations towards people working in human resources management and is professionalization advancing? This project is being conducted in collaboration with Harald Conrad from Dusseldorf University.


Current Issues in Japanese Retailing

I continue my longstanding interest in retailing in Japan and the role of retailing in Japanese society. I have recently looked at how convenience stores are to play an increasing role in catering for an aging and shrinking population. I have also looked at employees in retailing, especially how companies have been dealing with increasing labour shortages. Currently, I am looking at employment in the fashion industry as well as the consequences of a now long period of shopping mall development on the outlook of Japanese cities.


Internationalization of Human Resources and Diversity in Japanese Companies

Japanese companies have begun to systematically recruit foreign employees into their operations in Japan. I am investigating this new trend under the issues of international human resources management, workplace diversity, migration brokerage and international talent mobility. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Harald Conrad from Dusseldorf University.


Previous and Other Research Interests


Shopping Centers as Places of Marketing and Consumption

The number of shopping centers has been increasing rapidly in Japan over the last decade with developers in an intensifying competition constantly testing the frontiers in terms of locations, size, or tenant mix. The development of shopping centers is taking place in a climate of an aging and shrinking population, economic uncertainties and increasing differentiation within Japanese society and between metropolitan centers and the rest of Japan. Thus with this project I not only want to look at the managerial techniques of shopping center development in Japan but also want to look at shopping centers as places that mirror and to a certain degree also drive the above developments. A sabbatical in Japan provided me with the opportunity to visit a large number of shopping centers and inner city shopping districts.

Japanese Workplaces in Transition

In this project, I looked at changes in Japanese workplaces from the 1990s onwards. Here I employed an innovative research approach by combining traditional research sources with accounts of restructuring as found in online diaries (blogs). In their online diaries employees provide vivid accounts of experience at their work places and talk about their concerns and motivations in an employment system that is showing signs of grave changes. In this project I looked at employee perspectives on three areas, the downsizing of corporations, changes in employment conditions for regular employees and the increasing number of non-regularly employed people and substantiated the findings from blog accounts through survey results from Japanese government agencies and think tanks. (Book details below)

Consumer Goods Distribution: especially Retailing

In the study of the Japanese distribution system I am looking at several areas: The first area is the development of Japanese retail formats. In my book "Dynamics and Innovation in Japanese Retailing (details see below) I trace the development of retail formats in Japan from the 1950s, beginning with the introduction of techniques such as self-service and chain management and leading to the conceptualization of food supermarkets, general merchandising stores, drug stores, home centers, and convenience stores. In looking at these developments I find it of special importance to look at changes in the environment. For Japan emphasis has to be given to governmental distribution policy and I have especially looked at the political economy of the retail sector. Another major factor are manufacturer-retailer relationships. Japanese manufacturers have long strived for a dominance of their distribution channels and were slow in accepting mass-merchandisers as legitimate sales channels for their products. Since the 1990s various changes have occurred in the relationship between retailers and manufacturers and I have tried to analyze these changes at an early stage. However, developments in retailing cannot be explained without looking at entrepreneurial initiative and as in other countries Japan's retail sector has produced its fare share of entrepreneurs.  I have looked at entrepreneurship in Japanese retailing in the past and today and have found it to be a fascinating area of research with entrepreneurs in this sector being strong and colorful personalities forcefully pursuing not only the growth of their companies but also the diffusion of their retail concepts and philosophies. I have also looked at the activities of foreign companies in Japan and here especially at how they are trying to drive change in the Japanese distribution system (a short outline is here).

International Marketing of Japanese Companies in Southeast Asia

Within this research I focused on the marketing strategies of Japanese companies for the emerging markets of Southeast Asia. Together with a colleague (Jochen Legewie) I have led a project that looked at strategies of Japanese and European companies in Southeast Asia and have edited the book Corporate Strategies for Southeast Asia after the Crisis, myself focusing especially on issues of marketing. I have also done additional work on Japanese retailers in Southeast Asia.

Publications (Selection) (For details and table of contents please click on book covers)




Japanese Workplaces in Transition - Employee Perceptions, Houndmills,Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan  2009.





亨德里克.迈耶.奥勒  日本零售新和动态:从技业态,再到系, 识产权出版社 2010




Innovation and Dynamics in Japanese Retailing


Innovation and Dynamics in Japanese Retailing - From Techniques to Formats to Systems, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan  2003.




ヨヘン レゲヴィーヘンドリック マイヤーオーレ平澤克彦 編『日欧多国籍企業のアジア戦略アジア経済危機後の展開』 白桃書房 2002.



Corporate Strategies for South East Asia After the Crisis


(Editor with Jochen Legewie) Corporate Strategies for Southeast Asia After the Crisis. A Comparison of Multinational Firms From Japan and Europe, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave 2000.



Lebensversicherung und Konsument in Japan (Life Insurance and Consumer in Japan). Marburger Japan-Reihe Bd. 10. Marburg 1993: Förderverein Marburger Japan-Reihe.




Dynamik im japanischen Einzelhandel. Einführung, Durchsetzung und Fortentwicklung neuer Betriebstypen 1954-1994 (Dynamism in Japanese Retailing: Introduction and Development of New Retail Formats 1954-1994). Gabler Edition Wissenschaft. Wiesbaden 1995: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag.


Japans Wirtschaft im Umbruch. Schlaglichter aus dem Deutschen Institut für Japanstudien (Japanese Economy in Transition: Spotlights from the German Institute for Japanese Studies). Iudicium 1999. (Editor with Jochen Legewie).





Articles and Book Chapters

Working the shopping mall: Labour shortages and the dualities in Japan’s labour economy. Contemporary Japan, 34(1), pp.42-57.

with Harald Conrad, Training Regimes and Diversity: Experiences of Young Foreign Employees in Japanese Headquarters. Work, Employment and Society, 36 (2) 2022, pp. 199-216.

Business Models, Stakeholders and Capabilities in Coping with Societal Grand Challenges: the Case of Japan’s Convenience Stores. Asian Business & Management, 20 (4) (2021), pp. 465-487.

with Harald Conrad, Japanese Multinational Companies and the Control of Overseas Investments. Mobilities of Labour and Capital in Asia: Spatialities, Institutions, and Cultures, Preet S. Aulakh, and Philip F. Kelly, eds, Cambridge University Press 2020, 48-71.

with Harald Conrad, Transnationalization of a Recruitment Regime - Skilled Migration to Japan. International Migration, 57(3) (2019) pp. 250-265, online open access at

with Harald Conrad, Overcoming the Ethnocentric Firm? – Foreign Fresh University Graduate Employment in Japan as a New International Human Resource Development Method. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(17) (2019), pp. 2525-2543.  Online 1 June 2017, online open access at

Post-Bubble Department Stores, in Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan - A Transdisciplinary Perspective, Katarzyna J. Cwiertka and Ewa Machotka (eds), Amsterdam University Press 2018, pp. 31-48, open access to whole book at;keyword=Consuming Life

with Harald Conrad, Brokers and the Organization of Recruitment of ‘Global Talent’ by Japanese Firms — A Migration Perspective. Social Science Japan Journal, 21(9) (2018), pp. 67-88, online open access at

with Kikuchi Kazuo and Nishi Takahiro, シンガポールの流通と日系百貨 (Singapore Distribution and Japanese Department Stores), in 日系小売企業のアジア展開 (The Development of Japanese Retailers in Asia), (Yanagi Jun), 鳥羽 達郎 (Toba Tastsuro) (eds.), Chuo Keizaisha 2017, pp. 161-176.

Consumer Goods Distribution and Logistics in Japan, in Routledge Handbook of Japanese Business and Management Parissa Haghiran (ed.), Routledge 2016, pp. 340-349.

Japanese retailers in Southeast Asia: Strong Local Partners, Shopping Malls, and Aiming for Comprehensive Internationalization. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 24(5) (2014), pp. 500-515.

Two Asian Malls: Urban Shopping Centre Development in Singapore and Japan, Asia Pacific Business Review, 15 (2009), (1), pp.123-135.

Labour Market and Labour Market Policies for the Ageing Society, The Demographic Challenge: A Handbook about Japan, Florian Coulmas, Harald Conrad, Annette Schad-Seifert and Gabriele Vogt (eds.), Brill 2008, pp. 947-962.

with Yu Jie, Working for Japanese Corporations in China: A Qualitative Study, Asian Business & Management, 7 (1) (2008), pp. 33-51.

Flexibilisierung des japanischen Arbeitsmarkts: Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten für Jung und Alt, aber zu welchem Preis? (Flexibilisation of the Japanese labor market - employment opportunities for the young and the old, but at what price?), Japan nach Koizumi - Wandel in Politik, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Japan after Koizumi - changes in politics, economy and society), Michael Behrens and Jochen Legewie (Ed.), Nomos 2007, pp. 165-175.
Wal-Mart's Entry into Japan as Discussed in Three Domestic Trade Journals, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 17 (2007), 1, pp. 23-42.

Veränderungen im japanischen Distributionssystem (Changes in the Japan's distribution system), Japans Zukunftsindustrien (Japan's Future Industries), Andreas Moerke and Anja Walke (Ed.) Springer 2007, pp. 351-361.

Unternehmertum im Japanischen Einzelhandel seit den 1990er Jahren (Entrepreneurship in Japanese Retailing since the 1990s), Konvergenz oder Divergenz? Wandel der Unternehmensstrukturen in Japan und Deutschland (Convergence or Divergence? Change in enterprise structures in Japan and Germany), Cornelia Storz and Bernard Langeman (Ed.), Metropolis 2005, pp. 271-298.

Walking with Dinosaurs: General Trading Companies in the Reorganization of Japanese Consumer Goods Distribution,  International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 32 (2004), 1, pp. 45-55.

Networking Bricks and Clicks: Convenience Stores and the Organization of E-Commerce in Japan, Asia and Europe in the New Global System : Intercultural Cooperation and Competition Scenarios, Sung-Jo Park and Sierk Horn (Ed.) Palgrave 2003, pp. 283-202.

The Crisis of Japanese Retailing at the Turn of the Millennium A Crisis of Corporate Governance and Finance, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 12 (2003), 1, pp. 13-28.

Ein Blick auf die Wettbewerber – Internationale Marketingstrategien japanischer Unternehmen für südostasiatische Konsummärkte (A Look at the Competitors - International Marketing Strategies of Japanese Companies for Southeast Asian Consumer Markets), Marktstrategien Asien Pazifik, Karin Dietz (Hg.), Wiesbaden: Gabler 2001.

(with Daniel Dirks, Martin Hemmert, Jochen Legewie, Franz Waldenberger) The Japanese Employment System in Transition, International Business Review 9 (2000), pp. 525-553.

(with Jochen Legewie) Does Nationality Matter? Western and Japanese Multinational Corporations in Southeast Asia, European Review 8, 4 (2000), pp.. 553-567.

Collaborating for Change in Japanese Consumer Goods Distribution Strategic Alliances, Team Merchandising and „Enemies in the Same Boat“, Japanese Distribution Strategy, Michael Czinkota und Masaaki Kotabe (Ed.), London: Thomson Learning 2000, pp. 117-134.

Konsumgüterdistribution Suche nach leistungsstarken Partnern und einer zukunftsweisenden Arbeitsteilung (Consumer Goods Distribution - Search for Strong Partners and a Forward-looking Distribution of Functions), Japan ist offen – Chancen für deutsche Unternehmen, Heinz Riesenhuber und Josef Kreiner (Hg.), Heidelberg: Springer, 1998, pp.89-106.

Struktur und Organisation des Distributions- und Dienstleistungssektors. In: Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien (ed): Die Wirtschaft Japans (The Japanese Economy). Heidelberg: Springer, 1998, S. 183-210.

Dienstleistungen in der japanischen Wirtschaft ein Überblick (Services in the Japanese Economy: An Overview), Japanstudien 9 (1997) pp.25-56.

Revolution in der japanischen Distribution? Großunternehmen des Einzelhandels in einer Phase der Neuorientierung (Revolution in Japanese Retailing? Large Retail Companies Going Through a Period of Reorientation). In: Handesforschung 1996/1997, Jahrbuch der Forschungsstelle für den Handel Berlin (FfH) e.V., pp. 379-397.

Binnenhandelspolitik, ein Stiefkind japanischer Wirtschaftspolitik? Konzepte, Maßnahmen, Hintergründe und Akteure der Politik für den Handel (Distribution Policy, a Stepchild of Japanese Economic Policy? Concepts, Measures, Background and Actors). In: Japanstudien: Jahrbuch des deutschen Instituts für Japanstudien der Philipp-Franz-von-Siebold-Stiftung (München: iudicum verlag), Vol.7 (1995), pp. 279-321.

Wer kauft wo? Zur Einkaufsstättenwahl japanischer Konsumenten (Who Shops Where? Store Choice of Japanese Consumers). In: Japanstudien: Jahrbuch des deutschen Instituts für Japanstudien der Philipp-Franz-von-Siebold-Stiftung (München: iudicum verlag), Vol.5 (1993),  pp. 171-207.

The Future of Japanese Manufacturer-Retailer Relationships. In: Best Paper Proceedings. The Association of Japanese Business Studies (AJBS) 9th Annual Meeting Nagoya, Japan, S. 303-314.

Other Activities

I have reviewed papers and book manuscripts for Routledge, Association of Japanese Business Studies, Euro-Asia-Management-Studies Association, Japanstudien, Sloan Management Review, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, Asian Business and Management, and others.

Dr Hendrik Meyer-Ohle, Department of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore, Blk AS8, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260, Email:, Tel. +65 - 6516 8942, Fax +65 - 6776 1409