100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2017-2018 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Nakayama Seimitsu

President Shinichi Nakayama

Osaka Prefecture
Message to young people
There are some people pessimistic about younger generations, but I am not. Those in the younger generations seem to be acting on their own discretion, and seem to have an active attitude for their jobs. Don’t be distracted by what other people think about you; be down to earth, believe in yourself and move forward.

When I was young, I was a withdrawn child and I had a strong feeling of inferiority. Because of that, I was not good at communicating with people at all. Rather, I enjoyed the time when I could indulge myself working on something at my own pace. I loved to build things such as plastic models. It was very easy for me to work on something little by little for a long time. That may be why I felt that I wanted to work in academic research when I was in college.

In college, I studied in the pharmaceutical faculty and started working at a pharmaceutical company after graduating. I thought I would be working on pharmaceutical research projects, but I was assigned to the sales division. My life over the following five years was not easy at all, as my quiet personality did not suit the role well. But experiencing things that are difficult can be rewarding; I learned how to work on something I wasn’t good at. By keeping in mind the reason I was doing it, I continuously worked toward my goals.

Things changed when the financial performance of Nakayama Seimitsu, which was run by my parents, started deteriorating. I understood that someday I had to take over the company, but I was reluctant to do so, because I saw my parents working late at night, covered in oil from their factory next to the house. But, it would be good for the company if I were to take it over and turn it around; that’s what I thought when I joined the company. It was like betting on a possibility.

I was building my career after joining the company, but it wasn’t easy. It was especially difficult after I was assigned to the factory in Kumamoto Prefecture; I think the workers there looked at me and wondered, “What’s the president’s son doing in this factory?” I had a strong sense of isolation among the workers, and I had strongly believed that I should do something about it. I couldn’t use my withdrawn personality as an excuse for not doing anything and I always tried to have more interactions with them.

By early 2002, however, the company’s profit fell by two-thirds. We launched cost-cutting measures to make our manufacturing process more efficient by integrating a factory in Osaka Prefecture into the Kumamoto factory. Unfortunately, we had to lay off many of the Osaka factory workers. Back then, I was one of the executives responsible for talks with the Osaka factory workers, and it pained my heart to have to lay off about 50 workers. After that, I made a pledge to never lay off workers again. We are still here today, even after those hardships. After I became company president, we went through the global financial crisis and other difficult times. However, I am working to protect our workers’ livelihood and maintain the life-long employment policy of this company.

We are a company that manufactures things and that means the people working for it need to enjoy their work. I believe that is a very basic tenet of manufacturing; it is meaningless to merely pursue short-term profits if the employees are unhappy. You only live once; whatever you choose to do, I want you to find — and have — something you enjoy and work as hard as you can at it.

Company Profile

Nakayama Seimitsu
Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
Designing, manufacturing and selling abrasion-resistant precision equipment such as cemented carbide.