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Japan's Seven Int'l Samurai Featured

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Japan's Seven Int'l Samurai

Vol. 31, Issue #270's Feature Story identifies Japan's 7 most influential international trailblazers, many of whom have been overlooked by the Japanese public.

Japan's Most Influential Trailblazers

Japan has produced many outstanding individuals throughout its very long history, which dates back to 660 B.C. Visionaries and innovators have throughout history forwarded the efforts of this tiny island nation and due to these contributions, Japan has played a significant role in the region for many centuries. Pioneers such as Takatoshi Mitsui (1622-1694), advanced the way Japan did business through innovation after innovation in the textile sales industry. In the late 1800s, it was the first President of Mitsui & Co., Takashi Masuda, who sought out a global vision for exporting Japanese rice and other goods to Europe.

It is the efforts of global visionaries and innovators of post-World War II Japan that have made Japan a major contributor to the world in the fields of business, technology, film, animation, engineering, architecture, philosophy, art, music, and even athletics. The brand “Made in Japan” has become synonymous with quality, and in this article “Japan’s Seven International Samurai”, we identify Japan’s seven most influential, international trailblazers. These modern day samurai have set themselves apart from the crowd through their global influence and have helped to change the way the world perceives Japan.

It will not go unnoticed that many of Japan’s leading business figures and domestic heroes were left off the list. This is because they did not meet all of the criteria. The seven that were chosen were selected for their courage to enter unchartered waters, their desire to compete on an international scale, and their ability to be one of the best in the world at what they do.

本は、紀元前660 年にまでさかのぼ る長い歴史において、多くの傑出した 人物を輩出してきた。先見の明のある パイオニアたちが小さな島国の歩みを牽引し、 そのおかげで日本は何百年にもわたり地域的に も重要な役割を果たしてきた。呉服業界におい て革新的な戦略を打ち出した三井高利(1622- 1694)や、1800年代末に日本の米を始めてヨー ロッパに輸出することに成功した三井物産初代 社長の益田孝といった先駆者たちが、日本のビ ジネスの礎を築いてきたのである。

第二次世界大戦後の日本を、ビジネス、技術、 映画、アニメ、エンジニアリング、建築、哲学、 芸術、音楽、スポーツの各分野で世界レベルに 押し上げたのも、グローバルビジョンを備えた 革新者らの功績である。「メイド・イン・ジャ パン」ブランドは、クオリティと同義語となっ た。「世界を舞台に活躍する日本の7人の侍」 のページでは、絶大な影響力を持つ世界の第一 人者である日本人7人を紹介する。現代の侍は、 国際的に大きな注目を集め、世界の日本観を変 える役割を担ってきた。

日本の多くの財界人や国民的ヒーローが取り 上げられていないことは事実だが、それは彼ら が基準の全てを満たしていないからである。こ こに取り上げる7人は、前例のない道に踏み込 む勇気、世界レベルで勝負したいと望む熱意、 専門領域で世界のトップクラスにある能力とい ういずれの点でも傑出しているのだ。

Samurai #7: Ichiro Suzuki
Samurai #6: Seiji Ozawa

Samurai #5: Osamu Tezuka

Samurai #4: Kisho Kurokawa
Samurai #3: Soichiro Honda

Samurai #2: Akira Kurosawa

Samurai #1: Akio Morita

This story appeared in Issue 270 of the Tokyo Journal.

To order Issue 270, click here.


Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Dr. Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked as an educational administrator and journalist in Tokyo for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor. He currently works in higher education publishing and serves the Tokyo Journal as Executive Editor.

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