Charismatic Japanese Executives

Proper Noun Trivia

*This series explains the meanings of proper names, including names of places, companies, people, brands and others.
Name 松下 幸之助
まつした こうのすけ
Kanji meaning Pine tree / under / happiness / of / help
Founder of Panasonic, Japan’s largest consumer electronics company. Dropping out of primary school, he started work at the age of nine. His success was such that he was nicknamed the “god of management.” He also established a school for educating future politicians. (1894 – 1989)


Name 本田 宗一郎
HONDA Soichiro
ほんだ そういちろう
Kanji meaning main (book) / rice field / essence / first (one) / son
Founder of Honda, a multinational automobile and motorcycle manufacturer. Leaving management to his business partner FUJISAWA Takeo, he concentrated on the development of technology. People magazine placed him on their “25 Most Intriguing People of the Year” list for 1980. (1906 – 1991)


Name 井深 大
IBUKA Masaru
いぶか まさる
Kanji meaning well / deep / big
Ibuka is an electronics producer and co-founder of Sony – a company known for its innovative technology. Co-founder MORITA Akio concentrated his energies on promotional activities. Sony’s portable transistor radio and audio cassette “Walkman” became smash hit products. (1908 – 1997)


Name 稲盛 和夫
いなもり かずお
Kanji meaning rice plant / prosper / harmony (Japan) / man (husband)
Founder of Kyocera, where he implemented his Amoeba Management system. Established KDDI, Japan’s second-largest telecommunication services provider. He successfully rebuilt Japan Airlines, after it had been made bankrupt. He received the 2011 Othmer Gold Medal. (1932 ~)


Name 孫 正義
SON Masayoshi
そん まさよし
Kanji meaning descendants (grandchild) / justice / loyalty
Founder of SoftBank. Son established Yahoo! Broadband and acquired Vodaphone. According to Forbes magazine, “he is the richest man in Japan.” He donated one million yen to help victims of the East Japan Great Earthquake, and has pledged to donate all his salary until retirement. (1957 ~)


Name 柳井 正
YANAI Tadashi
やない ただし
Kanji meaning willow / well / justice
Yanai is president of the retail holding company Fast Retailing which is known for its subsidiary Uniqlo – which in turn is famed for its fleeces and heat-tech wear. Received the 2010 International Retailer of Year Award from the National Retail Federation in the US. (1949 ~)

[From Hiragana Times article]


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