Japanese Pearl Industry
The aim of this report is to analyse the creativity and barriers that exist in terms of increasing creativity in Taiyo Pearl Inc. (TPI) in Japan, by using the appropriate theories, concepts, and models. First of all, the context of the organisation that is related with a meaningful and workable notion of creativity will be explained. Secondly, how increased creativity might affect performance in the organisation will be evaluated. Thirdly, the barriers that affect increasing creativity in the chosen organisation will be identified.
Finally, an action plan will be produced to reduce the barriers. The context within which Taiyo Pearl operates in Japan Since Kokichi Mikimoto finally perfected the technique of cultivating pearls in Japan in 19191, it has become a traditional custom in Japan for women to wear pearl products at formal events, such as weddings and funerals. Usually, Japanese women wear two or sometimes three of the simple pearl necklaces, earrings and rings at these formal events.
Moreover, it has become another custom that a bride is usually given a set of pearl necklaces and earrings by her mother, grandmother or husband when she gets married. As a result of these customs, the demands for the formal pearl products have dramatically increased and the cultured pearl industry has become one of Japan’s most important fishery industries until the beginning of the 1990s2. Since TPI in Kobe, Japan, which deals in pearls, was established in 1957, the company had gradually been growing until the beginning of the 1990s.
This was done by going into partnerships with a lot of department stores such as Daimaru, the third biggest in Japan. In 1990, its turnover had become approximately 36 million pounds. There are two main reasons for its successful business until the beginning of the 1990s. The first one is the high increase in demand, for the formal pearl products. The other is that TPI deals in quite high quality products that were sold at very competitive prices.
This was because they have their own pearl farms in the Tsushima archipelago in Japan, which has received the first prize three times for the quality of cultured pearls in Japan. Its main customers are usually high-income 40 to 70 year-old people, such as doctors, managing directors, politicians and their wives. The department stores give these customers particular service as their special customers and whose needs are basically high quality products rather than low price ones.
In short, the products of the company had completely corresponded with the needs of its market until the beginning of the 1990s. However, during the 1990s, the company was faced with two changes that caused serious problems. First of all, the needs of their customers had gradually been changing, especially in the urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. These needs moved away from formal pearl products to fashionable ones, such as designed pearl necklaces, rings, earrings and brooches, because the market for the formal pearl products had already grown into the mature stage.
On the other hand, there were great opportunities in rural markets, because the markets were still undeveloped and had the high potential for the designed products. Secondly, water pollution and virus problems in the mother-of-pearls had diminished cultured pearl production and quality since the beginning of the 1990s. Gary (2002) says that as a cultured pearl is a bead-nucleated product, the purity of water and use of high-quality mother-of-pearl beads are important to the pearl growth with the roundness and nacre consistency.
Furthermore, Dana (1998) says that a mysterious virus has teamed up with disruptive weather patterns to kill more than half the oysters in the world’s busiest undersea factory in recent years and in Japan, the problem has been building for a decade, but became acute in 1996 and 1997. As a result of these problems, the production of the high quality pearls had extremely decreased in our pearl firms and the sales had gradually decreased since the beginning of the 1990s.