Kinds of companies in Japan

When you conduct business in Japan, you might hear the names of various kinds of companies such as "Kabushiki-Kaisha," "Gomei-Kaisha," "Goushi-Kaisha" or "Goudou-Kaisha".
However, the "Kabushiki-Kaisha" is the most relevant kind of company in Japan.

The number of incorporations in each type of company during 2012 is indicated in the following table:











As you can realize from this table, "Kabushiki-Kaisha" demonstrates an overwhelming majority among Japanese companies.

There is also a type of company called “Yūgen-Kaisha” (which means limited company), but it is no longer permitted to incorporate in Japan. Only pre-existing “Yūgen-Kaishas” are allowed to continue their operations under special rules. As a result, these companies will not be covered in this article.

What is the difference between "Kabushiki-Kaisha" and the other companies?

Members of "Kabushiki-Kaisha" are called “Kabunushi” (which means share holders). The "Kabunushi" are not involved in the management of the company, but only have shares representing an equal stake in the capital of the company. As a result, they are not operators but rather owners of the company.
Moreover, they can receive a certain part of the profits made by the company according to the number of shares they have.

On the other hand, "Gomei-Kaisha," "Goushi-Kaisha" and "Goudou-Kaisha" are classified as “Mochibun-Kaisha” (which means membership company similar to partnerships). Members of “Mochibun-Kaisha” do not have shares but "Mochibun" (which means equity interests); they are not only owners, but also operators of the company.

This type is an unlimited liability company so all members are liable for any liability incurred by the business operation. 

This type is similar to a limited partnership. Members are divided into two categories: ①partners who have unlimited liability and ②partners who have limited liability only up to the amount they have invested to the company. 

This type is similar to a limited liability company. All members have limited liability only up to the amount they have invested to the company.

In any case, it's no exaggeration to say that when we say “company” it generally means only the "Kabushiki-Kaisha" currently in Japan.

We can help you to incorporate any type of the company that you would like. 
Please feel free to contact us for any inquiries.