When he was a youth, Kiyomu Shimomura found his mentor in the late scholar Masahiro Yasuoka. Yasuoka wrote the draft of the statement made by the Emperor Showa at the end of World War II. That was the first time for a Japanese emperor to speak to the people, and in his radio address to the nation he announced that Japan had surrendered.
|Kiyomu Shimomura has always saved five things throughout his life: money, a good reputation, relationships with contents, service to other people, and a human network.|
Shimomura learned from Yasuoka, he said, “that there is magic in the relationships between people.” He took for himself the philosophy that Yasuoka propounded: “A person who is unknown has power. A person who is famous has no power.” The thoughts behind these messages have propped Shimomura throughout much of his career, and determined his more recent activities.
Born in Saga Prefecture, Shimomura has turned 70. He chose to study politics and economics at Waseda University. “When I graduated, I was in a poor state of health,” he said. “I had been doing a lot of heavy part-time jobs in order to help pay for my education. Then although I tried to find regular employment, my health always let me down. Times were hard then, and a lot of people couldn’t find work.”
One man he approached gave him advice that was valuable to him. He told Shimomura that even during depressions, when unemployment is high, good men are in short supply. “He advised me to make myself into a needed person. He also said to me that I was still very young, life was still ahead of me and I might benefit if I attended a working camp of a religious party.” Shimomura followed the man’s advice, which “stayed vivid in my heart,” he said. Some while later, as a correspondent he found employment with the Osaka Television Co.
“The company was just beginning, the first and only television company in Osaka then,” he said. “I worked day and night to prepare for the opening. Of course my health suffered, but I carried on. Then I was appointed newscaster, giving reports on the stock exchange twice a day. I was working like hell, staying on the spot without going into the office, so my manager didn’t know my actual situation. I received a company efficiency rating of zero.”
His disillusion and depression continued even though with the next ranking he achieved top position, and received the broadcasting director’s prize.
Eventually Shimomura worked for 30 years with the Mainichi Broadcasting Co., rising to be director of the secretarial department. He retired in 1987, when he was holding the position of secretary to the president.
Shimomura remembers other advice he was given long ago. “The founder of a company said to me: ‘If you want to become independent, you must have put aside five savings. They are money, a good reputation, good relationships with clients, service to other people, and a human network.’ For much of my journalistic life, I remembered to save my five savings. Those who gave me good advice when I was depressed have been key persons in my life, and that is why I prize the making of human networks.”
He added: “However society changes, the principle of human nature does not change a lot. Sincere relations with people are important. If a person can be helped to change his attitude, the world surrounding him changes.”
Shimomura has published many books on his outlook and principles. In his retirement, he gives time and effort to setting up networks, “get-togethers and meetings,” he said. As chairman of Chie-no-wa — “Wisdom Circle” — he has overseen the institution of over 230 study groups. He earned two nicknames. One is “the God of human networking.” The other is “the Demon of meetings.”
Shimomura has been influential, in his retirement, with the New Business Council, which is significant in the venture business world. He helped establish the Business Information Center, and is chairman of the Family Life Problems Research Institute. He is applying himself to a new body, True Life Industry Research Organization. The aim of this association is to bring together representatives from the government, industry and academia “to try to find a new world.”
Shimomura said: “We must change our thoughts and begin new activities. We have to refresh ourselves, and secure a better economic situation in Japan. We need to create new industries that are human in scale, that are based on the lives of ordinary people. For too long we have considered only big industrial factories and companies. Now we must pay attention to smaller businesses growing out of people’s actual lifestyles, and to keeping those lifestyles.”