Japan has long been the home of creative ideas. Although they have been involved in some worldwide tragedies over the generations, this island nation has also been the home to innovation in many different industries. Over that time, there have been several famous Japanese leaders that have grown to have a global presence so that they could influence the world. Here is a look at 5 key examples.
1. Eiko Harada
Harada is the CEO of the Japanese division of McDonald’s. He’s also served as the CEO of the Japanese division of Apple and he has built a reputation on moving quickly and decisively. In order to be a strong leader, one must be able to walk the talk of leadership at home as well as in the office, which is what Harada has done. He’s in his 60s, but still regularly runs marathons, and he does so to prove that he can keep up with the pace of the younger generations.
2. Takeshi Niinami
As the CEO of Lawson, not everyone may have heard of this man yet, but one day everyone will be familiar with him. Lawson is a successful chain of convenience stores that has grown outside of Japan to other Asian cities, most notably Shanghai. What has helped him to influence the world is the emphasis on changing the business model of the convenience store. Instead of quick, rather unhealthy food options, Lawson specializes in providing natural foods and produce, while having fixed price small items to upsell.
3. Hirokazu Nakaima
If you think that you’ve got a tough job, then spend a day in the shoes of Hirokazu Nakaima. He is the Governor of Okinawa, which has given up 20% of its total land space to the US military in the form of bases. For the people who call this prefecture home, the end of World War II has not really come as of yet. The economic benefits of 6 military bases cannot be ignored, so Nakaima daily balances the hate for the US military presence with the love for the money that flows into the prefecture.
4. Masayoshi Sun
Sun is a third generation Korean who is the CEO of Softbank, which is long distance from the muddy, manure-filled pig farm where he spent his childhood. He is a naturalized Japanese citizen and has grown to become one of the richest men in the country. Sun’s fortunes were built on risk taking that was calculated, measured, but aggressive. He looks to add companies to his portfolio that will connect the world and enhance communication.
Hirohito was the longest reigning monarch in the history of Japan. He served as emperor of Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. He was the first crown prince to travel to Europe and eliminated the semi-religious views that many had of the Emperor in his culture. Although his involvement in World War II is up for debate, Hirohito was not afraid to break with tradition in order to accomplish a goal. His son broke with a 1,500 year tradition by marrying a commoner, made a visit to the US and Europe while still ruling, and made numerous public appearances to help transform the government after the US occupation.