100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2014 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Ohshima Industry Co.

CEO Yasutomo Ohshima

Message to young people
I understand that nowadays there are many young people who cannot make decisions for themselves. It isn’t obvious whether it is better to decide something for themselves or leave it to others and they may not know for sure until they suffer a disadvantage because they left a decision to someone else. However, there are some times when it is better to leave a decision to someone else, so it is important that young people learn which situations are best decided for themselves and which are best to leave to others. But, on the premise of it, there is no wonder that they do all their best at work.

My childhood was all about baseball, and when I was 15, I left my hometown of Fukuoka to attend the prestigious Minoshima High School in Wakayama Prefecture determined to fulfil my dream of becoming a professional baseball player. But while practicing and playing with the team, I was overwhelmed by the high level of the other players and wanted to cry over my inferior ability. I also suffered from homesickness and practiced so hard that I was sacrificing my sleep to make my dream a reality. What I learned during my time playing baseball still has a strong influence on my business.

Because my father was ill, I had to return to Fukuoka after graduating high school and take over my father’s company. Although I yearned for a new car, I drove an old used car for work without thinking about taking any pay for about the first five years. Since all the employees were older than me, there was no way for me to earn their respect without closing some deals. As a manager, I also worked hard not to harm my employees’ livelihoods. I did my best all the time not because I liked working, but because I had no choice but to work hard.

Although I got along with the staff, I often fought with my father over ways of doing business. He hadn’t really accepted my methods, but he called a week before he died and said, “I can’t do it anymore.” I think he was speaking of both his physical ability, but also his realization that his business methods were behind the times.

If I start a new business in the future, I would like to work on corporate revitalization in any field. Because companies are evolving, I want to approach it like I would an exam. The worst thing is to get in a rut, so I would keep challenging myself. If I were unsuccessful, I’d take the opportunity to analyze why and try it again.

Company Profile

Ohshima Industry Co.
Logistics and construction