Fascinating Stephen, I think you would write an interesting book if and when you decide to!
This reminds me of a good friend of mine's experience working in the "corporatocracy," to borrow your term, of an enormous global Japanese firm. I'm not going to name any names, or make any generalizations or judgements, as I probably wouldn't do that, even if I was qualified to do so. I'm only sharing an anecdote really. One that in some ways echoes your story.
My friend was moving up the corporate ladder quite successfully, and after more than a few years, he hit a ceiling which, according to him, was based entirely on his not being Japanese. It was quite a specific cultural thing, as he tells it, and not at all out of the ordinary. I recall this being his primary motivation for finding a different career path at that time.
For myself, being a fan and consumer of Japanese culture, I find these stories quite interesting. Especially, considering the history of different cultures, and how they adapt to the globalization of this modern era, with more open markets, sharing of ideas, and the growth of D.I.Y. which accompanies the advancements in technology. Yet at the same time, the 'corporatocracies' shall we say, remain strong as ever. Perhaps they're even stronger than ever before?
And to the point of how this affects luthiers? Even more interesting as a guitarist! I'd love to hear more.
"And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives" Khalil Gibran