THE BLUE-EYED SALARY MAN by Niall Murtagh

THE BLUE-EYED SALARY MAN

From World Traveller to Lifer at Mitsubishi
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Please remove your shoes and please put on your office slippers and learn from a foreigner how to become a lifer in a mighty Japanese conglomerate.

Globetrotter Murtagh, born in Dublin, settles down and discovers how to succeed in business in the world’s most evolved corporate culture. After a suitable graduate education, Muruta-san (his Japanese alias), is issued his Mitsubishi business cards—a testament to his existence. He lodges in a Mitsubishi dormitory, dons his Mitsubishi jacket. He confounds the Mitsubishi eye exam, not calibrated for blue. He attends meetings and lectures. He stays late and keeps his desk tidy. Proficient in the language and married, after a successful courtship of her parents, to clever, pretty Miyuki, Muruta does his best (as required by the Mitsubishi rulebook). He moves from city to city, as necessary. He assumes the suitable salaryman style, paying due obeisance to the honor of the corporation. Muruta becomes a permanent employee—a lifer—as well as a permanent foreigner in a land particularly bewildered by foreigners. (A touch of xenophobia may be evident in a place where people politely remind him that he may have forgotten to go home.) What exactly he does for the firm seems less relevant than the way he does it. “People in Mitsubishi always do what they say they’ll do, as long as it’s in the rulebook.” Of course, Muruta eventually become Murtagh again. He paroles himself and renounces his lifetime commitment to the corporation. His sometimes cynical, always waggish, text refers to customs like proper bowing angles and to corporate flags and anthems. He says nothing concerning hara-kiri.

An anthropological business book made in Japan.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2006
ISBN: 1-86197-789-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Profile Books/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2006