Losing My Father
In 1959, I applied to Harvard Business School and was accepted to begin in the fall semester of 1960. It was unusual for a Japanese businessman to attend an American university, but I was eager to gain a fresh perspective on business from an entirely different culture. Although Japan underwent some changes, the nation’s corporate culture had remained relatively unchanged since the beginning of World War II. My limited exposure to life and culture outside of Japan made me feel isolated—and I feared this isolation would stunt my growth as an entrepreneur. I wanted to see and experience more of the world.
I also hoped that going to the United States would help me to master the English language. Without a doubt, learning to speak English fluently could yield only positive results. My experience hiring Leonard Craven when I was at Keio provided an excellent opportunity for me to work on my English; however, it had been a few years since that time, and I needed more practice. Moving to the United States would also give me a more nuanced perspective of how people act and react and how other people maintain a cultural identity different from what I knew. The diversity of American demographics appeared to offer something that the racially homogeneous Japan did not. I knew that living and studying in America would change how I thought—and would help me become a full-fledged member of the international community.
These views about the importance of diversity and ...