Akio Morita Library


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Memories of Akio Morita



Commemorating the Establishment of the "Akio Morita Official Website" from Mr. Norio Ohga

Left to right, Mr.Ohga, Mr.Ibuka and Mr.Morita (1985)

When I heard about the creation of Akio Morita's homepage, I was glad to think that our future generations could learn about this great man. If I had my time again, I also would wish for the opportunity to know and work with him again.

Akio was a man with a dream, and he had a kind of magic for stimulating the knowledge, strength and desire in people around him to make that dream a reality. That probably stemmed from the fact that he would question everything, rethink things from scratch, and apply the careful eye of a scientist. And so he applied all the means available to him in solving problems, was unflinching in the face of a challenge, and I think it was this that mobilized the people around him.

Since childhood Akio was taught to lead and we have many examples of his sayings that he applied as guidance to his employees. One was his concept of "work", which implied taking action and making those around one feel comfortable and at ease.

I'll relate one episode that I give as proof of the wisdom and foresight that Akio possessed. It was during the oil crisis (1973) when in New York he used the expression "mottainai", roughly meaning "what a waste", and he was calling on people to rethink the importance of the resources we have. Akio noticed how perfectly the word "mottainai" embodies this, and yet this was no equivocal word in English. The concept of "mottainai" is something that is natural to the Japanese, but was not taught in America at all. Akio though it strange that there was no concept of "mottainai" and this was the point he was focusing on. From that time on he continued to use the word and explain the concept when addressing the American business community.

One person that was moved by his speech was the wife of Harvey L. Schein (former President of Sony Corporation of America). She said that in Jewish families this idea is drummed into children by the parents, but this kind of spirit or way of thinking is not taught in schools. She said she's teaching the word to her children and the funny way she pronounced it left a lasting impression. The word "mottainai" has now become used worldwide.

Akio was concerned about the future of the planet even then. Today we are working hard to protect the earth's limited resources. Again we take to heart Akio's prophetic words, rethink things from scratch, question everything and through our interchanges with others, work towards building a better world.

Norio Ohga, Honorary Chairman of Sony Corporation
May 2007

list of memories

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