As the barber cut my hair, I asked him about the shop. He said that it was ninety years old—the area had escaped bombing during the war—and that his grandfather and father had run the shop before him.
If someone opened a similarly shambolic barbershop today, it would almost certainly fail, as Japanese consumers are picky about appearances. But he said he had a steady clientele, including customers who themselves were the second or third generation in their families to get their hair cut there. He also turned out to be pleasant to chat with, and I had no complaint about the quality of the haircut.
The cost of the haircut was on the high side, and as he lives behind the shop in a house he inherited he must have minimal overhead. He looked to be in his forties. He should have no trouble keeping the shop running well past the century mark.
In some cases, family succession helps to maintain quality and traditions and to keep the company intact; in others, it can lead to inertia, internal strife, and business failure.