During the last two decades, the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has increasingly received attention in business practice as well as in academic research. In particular in the United States and European countries, CSR is playing an ever more important role. Despite being of the leading G7 member states, Japan is in the literature often portrayed as lagging behind in matters of CSR. This article focuses on the discussion of CSR in Japan. It argues that in fact, Japanese businesses are not falling behind. Rather, the Japanese economy is characterized by specific forms of CSR, whose emergence can be explained by the historical development of the Japanese business sector and society.