100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2012 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Hitachi Inada Group

CEO Norifumi Shibanuma

Message to young people
When you get out of the students’ small world and become a member of society, you will face many unimaginable challenges and difficulties. It is up to you to pursue the course you set. There will other ways to get away from it and follow other paths, but do not drop the ball. You will find the new you after you overcome the challenges.

When I was a child, I heard that I was strong-willed and used to bother my parents. In study and sports, I used to make an easy escape from obstacles, but it was the turning point for me to meet the founder of my high school. Hearing his story, I started to realize that I had “to believe my power” and “the power to move people, by teaching people with good faith.” At that time, I started thinking about my future realistically, although I had never thought about taking over my family’s business.

The foundation of my family’s business was in 1917. Taking root in the region, a center well-known for stones, we have had more than 90 years of history. The founder was my great-grandfather and my grandfather and father have taken over his business. Seeing them depending on the original tradition my great-grandfather built, I came to question my family’s business before long. This question changed to a conviction when I became a university student and I started thinking that the company would go bankrupt if it remained as it was. As a successor of the company, I was determined to turn the company from a “family business” into an “enterprise,” which led me to become the new representative.

As we have such a long history, I was reminded that we have quite a few things that needed to be changed. To be honest, it was the time when we had to face a deadlock of the family management when I took over the business as the fourth representative. The second generation was depending too much on the basis the founder built. The history and tradition that were supporting us was instead burying our new steps. Yet, I came to feel it was the mission imposed on me to change the dead-end flow.

What I am currently working on is to create a community-based venture company. Taking over the tradition and history, I seek the new type of business going along with the times, which I think will eventually create a new wave to the business field. Recently, I have the opportunities to go for a business trip to inspect stones in Asia and Europe. As a stone distributor, it is also my mission to give out new information, not depending too much on the tradition we have built. Treating a stone not just as “materials” and expressing the craftsman’s feeling into stones as “things,” I would like to bring a change into our business field. As one of the approaches, I am going to establish the “Stone Culture Hall.” Also, I want to work as a consultant for successors of firms in years to come by making use of my own experience.


Hitachi Inada Group
Distributor of stone materials