Much has been written about the Japanese 'model' of corporate governance. Indeed, Japanese-style corporate governance has been described as an efficient alternative to corporate governance mechanisms available in the West, and as a model for developing economies. As opposed to American-style corporate governance, in which hostile takeovers and managerial incentive schemes play a major role, Japanese firms have traditionally relied on monitoring by large shareholders and banks. This article describes the evolution of corporate governance in Japan since the Second World War, and surveys the empirical evidence on its performance. Although there is substantial evidence on the effectiveness of the Japanese system, there is also evidence on its significant shortcomings. The article also evaluates the effects of the current macroeconomic and banking crises on corporate governance in Japan, and suggests possible directions for future changes, which are likely to make Japan more similar to the USA in this respect.