Shashi (社史, Company Histories) are the chronological accounts of a company or corporation, usually written in the form of a book. Their contents typically include information about a specific company’s history, including its foundation, expansion, and changes of administration corresponding to historical shifts in politics and economics. They can also reflect many other aspects of a company’s history, such as the biographies of its administrative members, interviews with workers, exhibitions of historical documents, and special topics about technological improvements.
Value of Company Histories
Shashi can mirror big history. Through the exploration of company histories, details and responses of individuals at the bottom level can emerge, too. Therefore, company histories act as excellent primary and secondary sources for scholars of sociology, history, politics, and technology, for example.
OSU Libraries and Shashi
In 2016, Maureen Donovan, the previous Japanese Studies Librarian at OSU, wrote an article called “Japanese Company Histories as Repositories of Tacit Knowledge” which discusses the importance of Shashi and the value in collecting them. This article is a great resource for understanding how company histories can serve a variety of research purposes.
Individuals who are interested in building library collections of Shashi can join the Japanese Company Histories Wiki project. This project hopes to reach out, through the Shashi Wiki, to increase awareness of Shashi as a valuable resource for research in Japan-related fields. To join the Shashi Wiki Project, just click here and follow instructions under the ‘Let’s Join!’ section of the page. Thanks to Professor Donovan’s efforts, this site also provides a list of the Shashi Collection available at OSU.
An Example of Shashi
Company histories can vary in design and are not always conventional history books. For example, the Nissin Food Products Shashi (日清食品50年史 : 1958-2008, or Nisshin Shokuhin 50-nenshi : 1958-2008) comes packaged as if it were ramen and even contains pop-up images within!
This Shashi contains three books and includes a visual history, the life of founder Momofuku Ando, and then a written history of Nissin Food Products.
For Further information on Shashi, researchers and librarians can refer to Shashi: The Journal Of Japanese Business And Company History. This journal is an annual, peer-reviewed publication on manufacturing and the history of businesses in Japan.
Come to get involved and explore more about Shashi at OSU Library!
Note: One of the reasons we were inspirte to write this blog is because the URL address to the Shashi Wiki Online Resource Page was recently changed. Those who have the old Shashi Wiki resource page bookmarked on their computers should update their links to the following URL address: https://library.osu.edu/wiki/index.php?title=ShashiDB.
Stay tuned for news about other OSUL Wikis that have new URL addresses! (For now, suffice to say, all of our former wikis can be reached via the URL address on this new “Main Page”: https://library.osu.edu/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page.)