SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.20 (2024)

The Process of Establishing a Group-wide
Welfare Organization in the Mitsubishi Group:

Case Study of Unified Management of Yowa-kai and Mitsubishi Club

HATA Fuminori

Department of Japanese History,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

corporate-group, Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Group, welfare, foundation, Mitsubishi-Club

The objective of this paper is to clarify the process by which the welfare organization that covers the entire Mitsubishi Group was formed and how the relationship with Mitsubishi changed. Specifically, the authors analyze the process by which the Yowa-kai, which was a welfare organization for Mitsubishi Group employees, was reorganized based on internal documents such as the Yowa-kai Minutes. The Yowa-kai is a foundation that originated from the former Mitsubishi Club, which was an internal organization of the pre-war Mitsubishi Zaibatsu, and was involved in the process of merger and reorganization between this and the newly established Mitsubishi Club within the Mitsubishi Group after the war.

In Section 2, the authors summarize the impact that dissolution of the Zaibatsu had on Mitsubishi and the subsequent reorganization of the Mitsubishi Group, which is the premise for Section 3 and subsequent sections. An overview of the changes in the Mitsubishi Club, the group’s internal organization, is discussed. In Section 3, the authors examine the process by which the Yowa-kai, which once had a policy of operating independently from the Mitsubishi Group, began to re-establish ties with the Mitsubishi Group and the process of organizational integration with the Mitsubishi Club. Initially, an organizational merger with the Mitsubishi Club was considered for the purpose of stabilizing the Yowa-kai’s finances, but once the finances were stabilized, the Yowa-kai decided to return to its ideal form, similar to the former Mitsubishi Club during the pre-war and zaibatsu era, which became the key to organizational integration. In Section 4, the process by which the Yowa-kai and the Mitsubishi Club were merged to become the “Mitsubishi Yowa-kai” is addressed. The Yowa-kai, with an approval from the Friday Association, Mitsubishi’s presidents meeting, added “Mitsubishi” to its name, solidifying its character as a welfare organization for Mitsubishi, but at the same time it was renamed as a foundation. It has become clear that the organization has contradictory characteristics, as it is also an organization for public benefit purposes.

This paper clarifies the process by which the Yowa-kai was reorganized as the Mitsubishi Yowa-kai. The reorganization into the Mitsubishi Yowa-kai was carried out with the aim of bringing it closer to the former Mitsubishi Club during the zaibatsu era. Behind this, at a minimum, the Mitsubishi Group’s identity can be seen in that the form of its welfare organization is the correct and “ideal” form of the former Mitsubishi Club during the pre-war zaibatsu era. This paper further clarifies how the Mitsubishi Yowa-kai tried to balance its activities in later years as an organization for Mitsubishi with its activities for public interest purposes as a foundation. The authors also present future issues that need to be addressed.