This study explained the diversity of corporate financial practices in two nations. Existing studies have emphasized the reliance on equity finance in U.S. firms and bank loans in Japanese firms. In fact, patterns of corporate finance were much more complex. Financial institutions, which were created by national economic policy and regulation, affected corporate financial practices, but corporate financial practices often differed from what policymakers expected. Differences in corporate financial practices between nations also reflected differences in the mixture of industries in each nation. Many factors such as the amount of fixed capital, the process of production, the level of risk, the degree of innovation, and the importance of the industry in the national economy affected corporate financial practices. In addition, corporate financial practices within each nation differed from firm to firm due to managers’ considerations about stock ownership, which would affect their control power; corporate finance was closely related to control over management through ownership. To explain these complexities of corporate financial practices, the study linked corporate finance with the development of financial institutions in the United States and in Japan. While financial institutions affected corporate financial practices, the response of the firms to financial institutions and opportunities were diverse. The study also attempted to grasp variations in corporate financial practices by dealing with companies in three sectors: railroads, public utilities, and manufacturing. Finally, the study examined the structure of firm ownership. Contradictory to the widely held belief that U.S. firms distributed securities more widely to the public than did Japanese firms, many large American firms remained closely held, while some Japanese counterparts built publicly-held corporations.