Have you ever used an American Standard toilet or sink? I know I’ve seen that name on quite a few facilities that I’ve used over the years. So I was quite surprised to see that they were recently bought by a Japanese company called Lixil for over half a billion dollars. Even more recently the same company pulled out another four billion to acquire Grohe, the largest bathroom fittings manufacturer in Europe. My interest piqued, I decided to look up about this company on Wikipedia. However, all you can get is this:
That’s from the “List of Japanese Companies” article.
That red text indicates that there is no English Wikipedia article for that company. American Standard and Grohe both have English articles, but apparently nobody knows enough about the corporation large enough to buy them both to write even a tiny piece.
It rather puts me in mind of the 1980s and makes me think that very little has changed since then. Some dark horse from Japan comes in and takes over another major American company and everyone is left standing around thinking, “Where the hell did they get the money to do that?”
And it is just as funny these days. Back then everyone was upset that this upstart country that lost the war and was supposed to be this backwater was now making such great gains in the world. Nowadays everyone accepts Japan as a developed nation, but one that is in steady decline. I’m not really sure when Japan’s hey-day was supposed to have been. It seems that, according to this theory, Japan went straight from up-and-coming to being a has-been, never enjoying any time at all as a prosperous nation.
So the place is held up as an example to the West, a warning of what not to become, and a sink for pity. But then it comes in and buys all your companies like it’s the good ol’ days, defying all your explanations. Because that’s all it ever has been: an attempt to explain away Japan’s success and America’s decline. No one wants to consider that running things the American way might be wrong, or that Japan may be doing some things right.
That kind of analysis would take a lot of time and effort anyway, and we can’t even be bothered enough to have enough information to get a basic stub of a Wikipedia article for a huge, billion-dollar, multi-national corporation.