Discourse Analysis of Japanese “Black Companies”

M. Takahashi , A. Kimata, N. Teramoto, S. Ito and T. Nakamura


Issues concerning Black Companies have been extensively discussed in Japan recently. This paper aims to understand how discourses on Black Companies have been constructed and altered within the Japanese social context. To achieve this, we conducted discourse analysis using the case of Dentsu Inc., focusing especially on the multi-levels of discourse and power relations. We find that the process of power emergence in Black Companies and of values relating to the ethic of hard work on the part of employees relate to three levels of discourse: micro-discourse, meso-discourse and macro-discourse. This paper contributes to discourse studies by establishing that one discourse emerges under the influence of other discourses. As a practical contribution, this finding will assist those struggling with injustices in their organisation by enabling them to change their difficult situations via involvement with various discourses.

Keywords:   Black Company, Discourse, Labour relations, Long working hours, Power