The Greenville Bon Dance Festival (2) Why in Greenville?

ふりがなつきぶんはこのページのしたほうにあります。/ Scroll down for the Japanese translation. 
This is the second of three posts: "The Greenville Bon Dance Festival”. Click here for the first post, the report of the Japanese festival. この投稿とうこうは、「グリーンビルのお盆祭ぼんまつり(全三回ぜんさんかい)」のだいかいです。おまつ当日とうじつ報告ほうこくについては、「ここをクリック」してください
Photo 1 グリーンビル地域(ちいき)はサウスカロライナの「アップステート」と呼(よ)ばれます Image by Acntx at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, edited by Amity Language Institute

1. Recent business climate in Greenville area

Today, Greenville is a small city with a population of less than 70,000.

However, it’s also the center of a commercial-rich region in the northwest of South Carolina State. Currently the fastest growing area in South Carolina, this region is between two big cities, Atlanta, GA, and Charlotte, NC, connected by Interstate 85.

From this point of view, things look differently.

For example, the total population of the region of Greenville and its neighboring cities (we will call it the Greenville region for convenience) has been growing rapidly, reaching almost 1.5 million in 2017.

The reasons of the rapid development: Low wages, tax benefits and less unionized labor of this area. 

Therefore, in the last couple of decades, many foreign companies such as Michelin and BMW have invested in this area. Japanese companies are among them.

A century-old textile industry in this area deteriorated because of the growth of China and other countries, and manufacturing of fiber and parts for automobiles are getting more and more popular.

Photo 2 A map to show the locations of Atlanta, GA, the Upstate, SC and Charlotte, NC
ジョージア州(しゅう)アトランタ、南(みなみ)カロライナ州(しゅう)のアップステート、北(きた)カロライナ州(しゅう)シャーロットの位置(いち)関係(かんけい)を示(しめ)す Image by Alexrk – Own work, CC BY 3.0, and edited by Amity Language Institute

2. Japanese companies in the Greenville area

In 2013, there were 112 Japanese-related companies and they employed 15,000 people in South Carolina. Japanese companies invested a total of $4.9 billion by 2012. 

Also, the investments suddenly increased after 2011, and was $3.4 billion just between 2011 and 2017.

As for the Upstate region where Greenville is, there were 55 Japanese companies as of 2017. It is reported that they invested $2.2 billion in ten years from 2007 and created 2500 jobs. 

To name a few Japanese companies in this area: AFL Telecom, Asahi Kasei, Fuji Photo Film, Hitachi Electric Devices, JTEKT North America (reported in 2018 to expand and create at least 100 new positions by 2020 with investment of $5.8 million), Kyocera Electric Devices, Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Toray Project, etc. Also, Teijin’s web pages announced in 2018 that it expected to create 220 jobs with $600 million worth of investment around 2030.

3. Why an “old” Japanese community in Greenville?

We have shown many numbers and names, hoping this explains a presence of many business expatriate families from Japan in this area and yesterday’s successful Bon Dance Festival.

However, we still don’t understand fully. 

According to the local “The Greenville News”, Japanese companies invested heavily only these past ten years or so.

On the other hand, this year’s Greenville Bon Dance festival was the 24th. The host, Japanese-American Association of South Carolina was established in 1988.

Why, then, does the Japanese community here have such a long (relatively speaking) history? 

4. Three waves of Japanese investments in the Greenville area

As we searched for an answer to this question, we came to think that there have been three waves of Japanese investments in this area since the second half of the 20th Century.

The first wave was represented by a Japanese investor. 

The second was the time in the late 1980’s when a lot of Japanese companies tried to expand with the strong appreciation of the yen. 

And the last wave is the one which has been happening during the last decade or so.

In the next post, we will continue and begin with the unusual story of the Japanese businessman who represented the first wave.

For references, please see the bottom of this page.
A foreign company in Greenville, SC
Photo 3 As we drove in Greenville, we passed a big foreign company along 385./グリーンビルを車(くるま)で走(はし)っていて、高速道(こうそくどう)385沿(ぞ)いの大(おお)きな外国(がいこく)企業(きぎょう)の前(まえ)を通(とお)り過(す)ぎました。










2. グリーンビルいきほんぎょう



いくつかげると、AFLテレコム、あさひせいフォトフィルム、Hitachi Electric Devices、トヨタグループのジェイテクト(2018ねん報道ほうどうによれば、2020ねんまでに580まんドルのとうおこない100にんようてい)、Kyocera Electric Devices、Mitsubishi Polyester Film、Toray Projectなどなど。また、帝人ていじんは2018ねんしゃサイトで、2030ねんごろ6おくドルのとうおこない、220にんようするとべています。

3. グリーンビルになぜ「ふるい」ほんじんコミュニティーが?












=> The Greenville Bon Dance Festival (3) The Three Waves from Japan to Greenville / グリーンビルお盆祭り(3) 日本からグリーンビルへの三つの波


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