Business Tips: Great Expectations Are Hope That the Sun Also Rises


The wane of the king TOYOTA

Elon Musk started TESLA in 2003. Only 17 years from then, he finally snatched the world top position from TOYOTA in the total market value. The news made me feel the big change of the times and somehow remember a scene from the movie “BACK TO THE FUTURE.” Doc said “No wonder this circuit failed; it says Made in Japan.” Marty said back “What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.” I imagine if someone came from the future to the present time, s/he might be surprised to see cars are still made in Japan. Today, rather than just mourning the economic downfall of Japan, I’d like to express my appreciation for the heritage inherited from our ancestors.

The dawn of the Japanese manufacturers

When I first saw the movie, I was just under 10 years old, not a whiz kid, but already knew that “Made in Japan” was a synonym for high quality. In 1960s, Japanese products were dominating the world market, not with quality but with price. I heard a story well indicating the common understanding on Japanese products at that time. A woman cried for joy when receiving a dress as her birthday present. After seeing the tag of the dress say “Made in Japan,” she made another cry of sorrow.

Our factory staff is upholstering the seat of a dining chair with a staple gun.

What remains last is product reliability

After a lapse of some decades, the situation around Japanese products drastically changed by our ancestors’ untiring efforts. The words “Made in Japan” are now used to describe quality products, like Marty said in the movie. At the time of sales visits, I’ve been often told from clients “No need to explain quality.” People seem to have full confidence in the quality of our products, even though they don’t know a lot about us. Probably in the near future, Japan will tumble from the economic-power-country position. Even if that is the case, I want to keep working hard to pass the good impression on Japanese products down to the next generations.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.