Japan is home to many centuries-old businesses, and Ichiwa, a mochi shop in Kyoto, is one with a 1,020-year history. The shop was founded to provide refreshments to weary travelers coming from across the country to pray for pandemic relief in the year 1000. This business, like similar ones in Japan, has survived by putting tradition and stability over profit and growth. That allowed them to weather wars, plagues, natural disasters and the rise and fall of empires. “Their No. 1 priority is carrying on. Each generation is like a runner in a relay race,” said Kenji Matsuoka, professor of business at Ryukoku University. These businesses have a set of core values known as “kakun," which have guided their decisions through the generations. They look after their employees, support the community and strive to make a product that inspires pride.

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