A Personification of Logical Thinking


The Matrix Reloaded, Blues Brothers 2000, Speed 2, etc. These movies prove it’s difficult to surpass the great originals. On the contrary, there’re some exceptions such as Terminator 2 and The Hustler 2. The second president of CondeHouse can be said to be one of such exceptions. I’m not flattering just because he is still at the desk near me as the chairman of the company. It is more like retrospective or hindsight. The company is still thriving (and I’m here) because he was a great successor. If I explain in short, from my personal perspective, he is a personification of logical thinking.

In 1984, still in his 30’s, he was transferred to the US to establish a branch office. The first thing he worked on was CI development. He brought together experts and prepared everything such as a brand name, a logo mark, shop interior planning, etc., without the approval of the founder, a man of hot blood (see last article). His behavior doesn’t sound so logical? Please remember it was about 40 year ago. I imagine very few people would have even heard of CI (such a systematic way of developing a new business) in Japan at that time. How logical and strong-nerved he was! He already showed something of a big man in the game.

Watanabe wants to show the world what Japanese furniture can bring to the table.

The above episode shows his great ability at the time of offense. What about at the time of defense? As the Art of War says, defense is much more difficult than offense. I personally think it is defense that showed his true value. When the Japanese economy seriously deteriorated after the 2008 Financial Crisis, everything without exception was logically judged. He didn’t hesitate to make a drastic cut in labor costs including his own salary. Consequently, CondeHouse survived the hard time while about 16000 companies went bankrupt in Japan in 2008.

I once asked “Even logical thinking can’t predict future correctly. How do you judge future issues?” He grinned and answered “If s/he comes to me for approval again even after being rejected three times, I will give a go even for application that my logical thinking says no to.” Even passion or human irrationality seems to be logically taken into consideration by him. After the feverish early days under the founder’s administration, the logical thinking of the second president made the company position on the growth path.


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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