Wasabi Stories vol.139: “Essential Qualities in Business Manager”


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“Essential Qualities in Business Manager”

This is a story from an anonymous article about “a business manager.”

It began with: “There have been many opportunities for me to realize that being a business manager is quite painful.” First, an episode concerning Ryuzaburo Kaku, former President of Canon, was introduced.

The story goes back to 1985, when Japanese export industries were facing a crisis due to a sharp appreciation of the yen.

The anonymous writer could not forget seeing president Kaku during the crisis, and he describes his recollection of Kaku: “He must had been about 60 years old at that time.



However, his hair had rapidly turned grey and it made him look much older. He looked significantly different from the time before the downturn in business. He used to have stormy good looks and was full of confidence before.”

Eventually, Kaku’s business recovred. However, the incident clearly brought home to him how painful it is to be a business executive.


Then the words of Katsuhiko Machida, chairman of Sharp Corporation, were introduced: “I think the work of top management is sinful work.”

He got through a financial crisis by relocating personnel and avoided a dismissal for the purpose of reorganization.

You cannot please everybody. You cannot be easy to employees all the time.

Machida says, “Being too lose causes a management crisis.”


Finally, Japan Airlines (JAL) was introduced.

Currently, JAL is facing an unprecedented crisis and they are planning to reduce pension. Somebody’s comment about whether the employees would stay with them under such conditions was introduced:


“It is up to the character of the business manager. After all, the attitude of ‘I will follow him no matter what’ is more important than theory.”


The article ended with the line: “Business managers are require something more human than just their position titles.”


The NIKKEI 11/19/2009