PERSONAL: Born in Dublin, Ireland; married; wife’s name Miyuki; children: two. Education: University College Dublin, master’s degree, 1979; Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ph.D.; also diplomas from Osaka Gaidai (University of Foreign Studies) and Alliance Francaise de Paris.
ADDRESSES: Home—Japan. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, consultant, and educator. OM-Consulting, founder and director, 2005—; Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, Japan, lecturer. Worked as a volunteer in Bangladesh, an engineer on a construction site in New South Wales, a teacher in a pacifist school in the mountains of Fukushima, and for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.
The Blue-Eyed Salaryman: From World Traveller to Lifer at Mitsubishi (memoir), Profile (London, England), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals and academic journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Niall Murtagh has had a wide-ranging career working mainly in the Far East, and is a longtime resident of Japan. In his first book, The Blue-Eyed Salaryman: From World Traveller to Lifer at Mitsubishi, the author chronicles his younger days as a world traveler and then his decision to join Mitsubishi, one of Japan’s most traditional and conservative corporations. The author then details life as a Westerner, that is, an outsider, in the Japanese corporate world, where he is referred to by the Japanese alias of Muruta-san and works as a computer programmer. He details his efforts to fit into a corporate culture, where he even receives a reprimand for parking his bicycle in the wrong place. In fact, according to Murtagh, the company’s rules are so exhaustive that they touch upon almost every aspect of the employee’s life, both within and outside the company.
“The book is full of wonderful vignettes and details,” wrote Harriet Sergeant in the Spectator. Sergeant also commented: “In simple, straightforward language Murtagh tells how it is. This is not a romanticised version of Japan, but a Japan instantly recognisable to the majority of Japanese—the life of the traditional salary-man.” A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that author’s “sometimes cynical, always waggish, text.” A reviewer writing in Management Today commented: “There are several years’ worth of anecdotes in the book, providing a comical picture of life on the corporate frontline. Murtagh makes us laugh at the oddities of Japanese working life without being condescending.” In his review in the New Statesman, William Leith referred to The Blue-Eyed Salaryman as “a fascinating book,” adding that “it will make you look at the logos of Japanese products and feel full of wonder.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Murtagh, Niall, The Blue-Eyed Salaryman: From World Traveller to Lifer at Mitsubishi, Profile (London, England), 2005.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of The Blue-Eyed Salaryman, p. 561.
Management Today, May 31, 2005, review of The Blue-Eyed Salaryman, p. 35.
New Statesman, March 21, 2005, William Leith, review of The Blue-Eyed Salaryman, p. 53.
Spectator, April 2, 2005, Harriet Sergeant, review of The Blue-Eyed Salaryman, p. 45.
Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri (Japan), February 12, 2006, review of The Blue-Eyed Salaryman.
Niall Murtagh Home Page, http://www.niallmurtagh.info (January 23, 2007).
OM-Consulting, http://www.om-c.biz/ (January 23, 2007), brief profile of author.
Profile Books Web site, http://www.profilebooks.co.uk/ (January 23, 2007), brief profile of author.