Takara Tomy

CEO & President

Kantaro Tomiyama

Message to young people
Contribute to making Japan a better country.

In the postwar period of restoration and economic growth, my family wasn’t affluent but I had a happy childhood and adolescence. When I was a child, I liked to play with plastic model guns and railroad cars I had bought. During junior high school days, I loved to bowl. Just before graduating from a Japanese university where I majored in plant design and production management, I went to England at the time when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was carrying out reforms for Britain. After learning English at a language school in London, I entered Hull University and graduated at the top of my class. I have made many mistakes, but never fail on my second attempts.

I returned from Britain at the age of 28 and entered Tomy, then run by my father. The next year, I married and went to the United States with my wife and for 15 months I worked closely with the president of Tomy Corp. America. The U.S. toy market was undergoing radical changes due to tremendous television commercials and mergers and acquisitions, causing Tomy Corp. America’s market share in the U.S. to drop. We returned home with a son born in the United States and I was determined to revitalize domestic sales. But the Plaza Accord in September 1985 made it harder for the company to get out of the doldrums or crisis, to put it more aptly.

The company made and carried out restoration and restructuring plans to close three of four factories at home and dismiss many employees. It gave up owership of Tomy Corp. America. I was promoted from vice president to president of the company, succeeding my father, at the age of 32.

After going through a bitter restructuring process, the company somehow got through the crisis. I call the first 10 years of my presidency "a decade of destruction" and the following 10 years "a decade of creation." When I wanted to gain something, I always abandon something else. I changed the company structure from factory-centered to marketing-oriented, and went through the personnel system and salary scheme, abolishing seniority tradition and introducing result-oriented evaluation. Throughout these decisions, I did not hesitate to throw away old traditions, if they didn't meet the needs of the time. I think what we should keep is an invisible relationship of trust, not the visible tradition. At the end, I also closed the development division, which existed from my grandfather's time and closed down the last factory.

Company Profile

Takara Tomy
Planning, manufacturing, development and sales of toys