HOME La strada Index Article 9

The founders’ “desire to carve out a future”

Our company began in 1919 when two colleagues from Tamurakoma & Co., Ltd. struck out on their own and began trading textiles. The export of textiles was subsequently expanded, and in 1934 the company ventured into manufacturing textiles. In addition, in accordance with the act for industrial adjustment in wartime, we began manufacturing electric wires from 1944.

Later, we withdrew from the textile business and began specializing in manufacturing of electric wires. While we have switched business categories, we have remained in business for 92 years. In the year the Treaty of Versailles was signed (1919), those two young men aged 21 and 20 could not have imagined the company we have become today. They launched the business on their own from a desire to pave a future for themselves, but the company of today is a product of the choice to change with the times in order to provide the value sought after at those times. During that process, there were undoubtedly many difficulties and discouragements that had to be overcome to get to this day. I believe the source of that ability to overcome stemmed from the founders’ desire to carve out a future for themselves. It is quite difficult for a company to survive, but companies needed by society and those that offer the value sought after by society will endure.

The words of a Zen monk, “One spear of iron for ten thousand li.”

In our company, there remain several writings penned by a Zen monk from Eihei Temple who gave guidance to our founders. One of the writings state, “One spear of iron for ten thousand li.” The following explanation is given in Introduction to Zen Terminology, written by Bunnyu Kusumoto.

Even an extremely long distance of ten thousand li (one “li” is approx. 3.927km) can be traversed with one spear of iron. This is interpreted to mean being unchanging from beginning to end, or unceasing.

The phenomenon of diversity is constant change, but deep within this phenomenon there is a core that is a fundamental thing never changing, and which constitutes the phenomenon. In Buddhism, the core of the universe is called tathata (thusness or suchness), jisso (true aspect), dharmata (real condition of existence), and the Buddha nature. Rokusodaishi (the sixth patriarch) also referred to this as one’s own nature. It is also the central figure and the true countenance.

All these expressions differ, but are at the same time synonymous and absolute truths that never change. These absolute truths that are eternally unchanging, transcend space and time, and are consistent from beginning to end, are expressed as “One spear of iron for ten thousand li.”

Zen terminology and the state of business

This can also be understood to indicate the state of business. Our company has found the way forward by advancing ahead while aiming for a single direction without being sidetracked, even when up against sudden economic shifts or natural disasters. What kinds of value can we offer to society today? We will continue to take the initiative so that we can be a company that seeks answers to that question and does all we can to become a company sought after by society.

December 6th , 2011