Great Expectations

Elon Musk started TESLA only in 2003, and finally snatched the world top position in the total market value from TOYOTA this year. Upon learning the news, I felt the big change of the times, and somehow remembered 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.

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 (shocking to me and) indicating the common understanding on Japanese products at that time: a woman cried to see the tag of the dress she was given for her present say “Made in Japan,”

After a lapse of some decades, the situation around Japanese products drastically changed by our ancestors’ untiring efforts, and “Made in Japan” is now used to describe quality products. At the time of sales visits, I’ve been often told “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’s 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.

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