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

Ohshima Industry Co.

President Yasutomo Ohshima

Message to young people
Wisdom is the most important thing in surviving in any society and in any industry, and it can only be acquired through experience. Collective wisdom based on experience is much more powerful than a pile of knowledge and information you learned from someone else.

Ohshima Industry Co. is a logistics and construction company in Fukuoka Prefecture. Logistics and construction are two different business categories, but they are not too far apart because roads, bridges or tunnels are indispensable in delivering goods by truck.

Still, there are differences, too, for example, a new high school graduate can earn a salary from the day he is given a truck. On the other hand, a new recruit in the construction department would know almost nothing about construction, and it takes a lot of time and investment until he passes a national exam.

However, being an expert in both fields helps not only the company but also the employees themselves, so I encourage logistics staff to learn about construction and vice versa.

Ever since I decided to shift my path from pursuing a career in baseball to taking over the family business at the age of 18 due to my father’s illness, I have devoted myself to growing the company.

From more than 30 years of experience in leading the company, I firmly believe that the “mind” is what is most important. Business is not just about making money, it is about how one lives one’s life. This is why I talk to my employees about their families, hobbies and whatever else there is in their lives other than work.

I put the truck drivers’ children’s birthdays on their license plates. It is not just out of simple kindness, it is because I want them to focus their minds on every action they take. You don’t want to cause an accident when you are driving a truck with your child’s birthday engraved on the license plates.

It could also serve as a conversation starter between my workers and myself. There’s a hearing-impaired person and people from overseas among my workers, and I try to reach out even more to those who have difficulty communicating.

The size of the working population is decreasing. Logistics and construction have typically been regarded as a “men’s business,” but we have hired a few female workers during the last few years. Now we are even considering launching a recruitment project on Instagram.

It is important to learn from the past. We should not just automatically replace every old thing with a new one, but it is important to be open to new ideas and think about how to adopt them in the most effective ways for our particular situations.

Wrapping trucks was another new idea that we tried in a bid to cheer up the community. Among the trucks with the word “Ganbaru! (Work Hard!)” on the side, are two trucks that have magnificent pictures of Okinoshima Island in Fukuoka.

All eight natural and cultural assets, including the sacred island and three reefs, as well as Munakata Taisha Shrine pavilions and ancient tombs, were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in July.

When the island was first nominated to be added to the list, it occurred to me that we could use a truck as a huge billboard to promote the sites. I wanted to contribute to the community that has long been supporting our company. “Forget the favors you have done for others, but never forget what others have done to help you,” is one of my life’s mottos.


Ohshima Industry Co.
120 (as of 2015)
Logistics and construction