This is my third time participating in the Seiwajyuku World Conference in Yokohama. Seiwajyuku is a dojo (school) started by Dr. Inamori, an ex Japan Air Line Chairman and CEO. This year, about 4,300 business owners and executives gathered in Yokohama’s Pacifico conference center.
Seiwajyuku is the Japanese name of Dr. Inamori’s leadership dojo. Today with over 8,000 members worldwide, the dojo continues to thrive. I belong to the Chicago Chapter of Seiwajyuku and we have five chapters in the United States. Our organizations are in Japan, China, Taiwan, the U.S. and Brazil. Most of the members are Japanese business owners, but non-Japanese membership is growing.
This conference lasts two days and consists of eight selected business owners’ presentations about their business and personal histories. At the end of the two-day conference, Dr. Inamori and the executive members choose three top prizes and Dr. Inamori gives us a one-hour seminar. This year, his lecture topic was the 12 management principles.
Different from all other presentations, eight selected business owners presented their struggles and how they overcome these struggles by applying principles that they learned at the dojo. This year’s top prize went to a person who runs an agriculture business in Shodo Island in Japan. He inherited a small firm on a very small island. He turned it into a profitable business involving olive oils and other olive related products. Today, his sales exceed $30 million and his company has more than 120 employees. The seven other participants’ presentations also were very impressive.
Dr. Inamori does not teach management know-how. Instead, he teaches these subjects:
- Company’s role in our society
- Company’s obligation to people who work for them
- How to live a wonderful life as a good person
- How to conduct day-to-day life as a human being
- What a leader should do to protect employees and make a positive impact on their material and intellectual lives.
By following these teachings, members achieve at least 10% operating profits and thrive in today’s business world. Examples are two Japanese publicly traded companies (Kyocera and KDD.) Both were founded by Dr. Inamori. Of course, Japan Airline was a bankrupt company three years ago. Dr. Inamori turned it into the most profitable airline in the world. All eight participants showed examples of companies with tremendous growth and very high profitability.
Each year, I learn a few things from this conference that I can apply to my life and business. They impact me positively as a person and also in the business segment for which I am responsible. We call members of the Seiwajyuku dojo soul mates. Once soul mates get together, we open our minds and treat each other as if we are brothers and sisters. We discuss each other’s issues and provide suggestions with sincerity and open minds. We also encourage each other to improve our companies and our lives as human beings in general.
If you are a business owner and are interested in joining our group, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. This group is a great way that you, as a business owner, can work to improve your company and yourself.