My Hometown and Mujin Culture
What's most essential to the long-term growth of corporate value is the trust that society place in the company. Yoshitsugu Ishihara is an experienced financial expert who maintains Kito trustworthiness by managing the flow of money, which to corporate operations is like blood to a human life.
Ishihara says, "The most memorable event in my 38 years with Kito was a Management Buyout by a foreign investment fund. We went through many difficulties in the four years before Kito was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, this time in the First Section. What kept me going then was my trust in the company and conviction that the situation would improve."
Ishihara is loved by many in and outside the company for his kind, warm personality and rich knowledge and experience at work. We asked him about the kind of workmanship that builds trust.
"First, I deal with everything honestly. I commit to making every deadline, no matter how tight it might be. When I give our documents to outsiders, like banks or accountants, I try to explain them myself. I never forget to express gratitude to others. Then comes a smile. A smile naturally attracts people and information. Of the three (honesty, gratitude and smile), I think the smile is most important."
What makes Ishihara smile is cheering on his favorite soccer club in Yamanashi Prefecture, Ventforet Kofu, of which Kito is a local sponsor.
He says, "Ventforet Kofu is like a family that we want to support, including the fans and sponsors. I've been cheering the team on for years, so I feel as if it were one of my kids. I like the atmosphere of the home field, unique to Yamanashi. I go to most of the home games. In their fair-play declaration, children tell the supporters of the visiting club in cute voices, 'Thank you for coming to Yamanashi today,' and all the home fans applaud. "
In Yamanashi there's a traditional practice called Mujin. Local people and coworkers in a company come together for regular meetings to support one another. Ishihara still attends such meetings with colleagues who joined Kito at the same time he did. Kito's main plant moved to Yamanashi 35 years ago. The honest feelings of people helping one another as seen in the Mujin tradition could be one of the origins of Kito trustworthiness.
"Now Yamanashi natives account for a large part of the Kito workforce, but 38 years ago in Tokyo I was one of the first hired from Yamanashi. At first I felt foreign even though the plant moved to my home soon after. I kept working hard without giving up, even in the company's hardest times, when my love for the company grew. The firm that felt like a “visiting team” when I joined has become my one and only home."