In this paper we examine the trajectory of Masao Uchino from prewar years to postwar period, who was called “my lifelong mentor” by Kazuo Inamori. Masao Uchino (1802–1973) was born in Kumamoto prefecture as a fourth son of Giichiro. He graduated from the applied chemistry course in the department of engineering of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1916. In 1917 he joined Furukawa Mining, and was in charge of the construction of electrostatic dust collection plant and arsenous acid manufacturing plant which contributed to the solution of lead poisoning.
In 1921 Uchino became a plant manager of Osaka Smelting Company as a subsidiary of Furukawa Mining, then joined national Osaka Industrial Institute in 1927. Further he transferred the South Manchurian Railway Company (hereafter SMRC) in 1932, and was in the posts of an engineer, chief of inorganic chemistry section of Central Research Institute of SMRC, and a manager of Fushun temporary aluminum plant. After the establishment of Manchurian Light Metal Company (hereafter MLMC) in November 1936 under the support of the Kwantung Army of Imperial Japan, Uchino became a chief engineer and standing director of MLMC, directed the initial stage of aluminum production based on not bauxite but alum shale. In 1944 he was in the posts of director of light metal association and manager of Korean branch of the association.
Uchino was exiled from public office in 1946 due to the wartime activities, and became president of Higo Wax Company located in Kumamoto, then experienced a severe labor dispute. At the age of 62, Uchino became an engineering professor of Kagoshima Prefectural University in 1954, then encountered Kazuo Inamori, a senior student. In this paper we follow an undulated road of Uchino who had a great influence on Inamori.
In this paper, I would like to discuss the meaning of “integrity” based on Kazuo Inamori’s philosophy and deeds. Integrity has two meanings, honesty and sincerity, both of which are emphasized in Inamori’s philosophy. In this paper, I will focus on integrity as honesty.
Inamori’s philosophy accentuates the importance of practicing primitive morality, whether it is honesty or any other virtue, and not just knowing it. However, there is one episode in which, Inamori professes, he has lied. The story goes that when Kyocera was still a small company with about 100 employees, major manufacturers approached him about delivering a difficult product that the company had never made before, and he pretended to be able to do it and got the order.
By examining whether or not, or in what sense, Inamori lied in this episode, I will clarify the multifaceted nature and depth of integrity as honesty. Specifically, the following two points are suggested: (1) In terms of the past and the present, it is important to distinguish between “not lying” and “not telling the truth” with regard to facts, the former being essential for honesty. (2) In terms of the future, it is not necessarily dishonest to promise something that is difficult to achieve within one’s current capabilities, and in fact such overextension is vital for the growth of the company, but once a promise has been made, you must be faithful to fulfil it to assure integrity.
This paper discusses the possibility of constructing an archival system to contribute to Kazuo Inamori’s research, especially the possibility of expanding from an archive of materials to what could be called an archive of knowledge, from the viewpoint of Actor-Network Theory. Actor-Network Theory, especially the ideas developed by Bruno Latour, suggests that we should treat all things as open to various frames of reference, record their links with various frames of reference, and continue to describe them so that we can discover previously unseen relationships by tracing the links between things. In order to implement this idea in an archival system, and to extend the archive of materials limited to a single frame of reference as bibliographic information, the following three conditions must be met: firstly, to be able to describe things in a way that is open to various frames of reference; secondly, to be able to record links to multiple frames of reference; and thirdly, to be able to trace the relationships between various things, including those frames of reference. In the Resource Description Framework (RDF) standards actually used in the Semantic Web and Linked Data, any thing can be uniquely identified by an IRI, and at the same time, by being a subject, it is open to various properties, i.e. predicates and objects. In this respect, it is possible to describe things in a way that is open to various frames of reference. In RDF, it is also possible to describe multiple predicates and objects for a single subject, i.e. multiple triples with the same subject. In this respect, it is possible to record links to multiple frames of reference. Furthermore, in RDF, it is possible to describe the linkage of things by forming a chain of triples. In this respect, it is possible to trace the relationship between various things including the frames of reference. The use of RDF opens up the possibility of extending from an archive of materials to what could be called an archive of knowledge inspired by Actor-Network Theory.
The Inamori Library, which holds all documents relating to Inamori Kazuo, is one of the most precious archives in Japan and the world in terms of both quality and quantity, comparing favorably with those of Shibusawa Eiichi, Matsushita Konosuke, Honda Soichiro, and others. In this paper, I present the appeal of the Inamori Library from the perspective of archival research as well as discuss the challenge of developing its library functions further, referencing the long-term archival development project of the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation.
The Inamori Library “focuses on Kyocera founder Inamori’s philosophy of life and management, and showcases his path as an engineer and business leader, as well as many philanthropic activities,” with the aim of being a place of learning for its visitors. It is a treasure vault of primary sources for managers and researchers with an interest in Inamori Kazuo or Kyocera.
The focus of this paper is the documents organized and stored in the library room. I discuss how it can be made easier to use mainly for researchers studying Inamori or Kyocera, considering three perspectives: (1) method of archivization (organizing unorganized documents and storing them), (2) method of making documents available, and (3) organizational development for archivization. Based on that, I wish to offer advice for enhancing the library’s future potential.
To speed up the progress of this work, it is crucial that I properly decide on detailed practical elements. As such, this paper goes beyond theoretical analysis and touches on practical aspects as well.
From the perspective of Japanese business history, it is of significance to research Kazuo Inamori because he was the entrepreneur of the “eras” of the Showa era and the Heisei in the sense that he made small enterprise grow greatly throughout the Showa era, succeeded in new businesses, revived company that had fallen into a slump, and trained young entrepreneurs in the Heisei era. Moreover, research on Inamori also have great significance in that it is a representative example of establishing managers, which is one of the main types of top managements in postwar Japan.
As a study of Japanese business history, it is also of great significance to elucidate the historical background and conditions of creating and introducing the Kyocera’s unique management method, Amoeba management because Kyocera is a successful company in leading industry of postwar Japan. In addition, as Kyocera is a representative of “V-Type” companies with excellent adaptability to environment, it is very useful to research the history of Kyocera.
As research subjects on Inamori, it is very important to clarify empirically the relationship between the management philosophy of Inamori, the Kyocera Philosophy, and management style of Kyocera. It is significant to examine the attributes Kyocera’s board members over the long periods of the time as well.
Furthermore, with regard to the business structure and the organization of Kyocera, and interfirm relationships between Kyocera and its customers, there remain a lot of important research topics.
In this paper, I studied what kind of organizational culture Kazuo Inamori tried to foster in Kyocera by analyzing the message of him published in Kyocera’s in-house newsletter “Respect the Divine and Love People (Keiten-Aijin)”. Through the quantitative text analysis, it’s found that since 1973, his remarks have increased dramatically, and he tried to convey a lot of messages to employees in response to changes in the environment inside and outside the country.
What is characteristic of the content of the remark is the large number of words “heart (Kokoro)”. It is probable that Kyocera’s values, which Inamori himself called “heart-based” management, were reflected in the in-house newsletter. The content of the remarks varied from year to year, and there was a change in the relative frequency of mentions, especially in the 1970s and after 1981. In the 1970s, there were relatively many references to issues, policies, and goals within the company, but since 1981, there has been an increase in references to the inside of people. It seems that this is because Inamori tried to extract Kyocera’s values and management principles from his own experience and pass them on to employees before he retired from the front line.
At the same time, the meaning of “heart” seems to have become more multifaceted and fertile. In addition to the good intentions and sincerity that form the basis of people’s relationships of trust, the “heart” has come to represent the criteria for decision-making and the driving force for realizing aspirations. Finally, I mention some future issues.