This week, I tried hard to get penetrated with my sales manager in the TOHOKU region, particularly in human network in the City of SENDAI. As my institute’s pilot project to hold a series of lectures for innovative company executives and entrepreneurs in this area, we did a lot to get connected to local business leaders who might be interested in it.
Since I was diplomat and a member of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I always face both pros and cons by doing such a local offensive in Japan. “Pros”, because I can always remain “neutral” and totally “independent” of any specific economic and political interest. As if I were a foreigner in Japan, I can make any decision only from my own viewpoint. However, “Cons”, because I always have huge difficulties to find out someone who is both locally influential and supportive to what our institute intends to do.
This is also the case for this time. From the very beginning of our endeavor to be settled down, we knew almost nobody there, and the majority we encountered didn’t show their willingness to collaborate with me. We were just “aliens” to them.
But, if you have a will, there must be a way to get reach your goal. Meanwhile, one of our local customers who’s successful in digital market, made enormous efforts and kindly introduced us to one of the leading innovators in local manufacturing sectors.
This time, I did two-days marketing offensive in SENDAI accompanied by this innovative leader, whom I’d like to call here “Canopus” in TOHOKU. Till 1990s, he led R&D and marketing projects in SONY, a legendary big venture company in Japan, which made the company’s factory located in TAGAJYO near SENDAI one of the leading places for world-class innovations at that time. Particularly in terms of electromagnetic recording medium.
I personally have the feeling that this “glorious” legend of SONY in TOHOKU is totally forgotten in the Japanese public. Since these electromagnetic techniques and their development seemed to be overridden by digitalization, even the company itself cut its capacity in this regard and fired a number of researchers and innovators without any return tickets. Thanks to detailed explanation and introduction of our “Canopus”, I found out the network of these former innovators with the spirit of glorious “SONY” is locally still alive and still tries hard to innovate the local economy.
The point is this endless endeavor originally has nothing to do with the odious “Great East Japan Earthquake” which took place in March, 2011. After the natural disaster, both the Japanese public and global community still love to regard the TOHOKU region as the place of tragedy, to which preferable measures should be taken forever. In TOKYO, nobody refers to the industrial legend that SONY and other Japanese leading manufactures did extremely innovative works there, especially in terms of electromagnetic and metallurgical engineering. From the ancient time, the TOHOKU region has been very famous for its tradition of splendid metallurgy. Without it, the Japanese manufacturers could never accomplish historical economic development from 1950s to 1980s.
Whenever we refer to restoration of the TOHOKU region after the Great Earthquake in 2011, we Japanese always look at only what the global community both strategically and economically offers. Nevertheless, the genuine restoration there can be accomplished, only if we successfully draw into attention what our own Japanese elder pioneers reached. Only by doing this, eternal innovations can lead the TOHOKU region to revival of its glorious industrial development. The spirit of innovations which our “Canopus” wants to tells us this time exactly reflects such a simple fact we once forgot in the midst of artificial “globalization”.