Sakidi Toyoda

A Japanese inventor and industrialist, Sakidi Toyodo is ranked as the 13th most influential businessman of all time. He is actually the great mind behind the popular and ever productive and eventful Toyota Motor Corporation. You may think that a man as successful as him started big and was simply born rich but actually, he is a son of a poor carpenter. He used to live in the village of Yamaguchi in Shizuoka Prefecture. He was back then known to be independent and naturally smart. When he reached twenty year old, he decided to take a different path in his life making him decide to leave his village and take chances in Tokyo. He was exposed to factories offering the latest machinery leading him to having such interest and passion for machines and motors.

Japanese Inventor and Industrialist

Sakidi Toyoda started researching about the familiar objects that surround him and from there start inventing things that he found interesting and beneficial. Toyoda started small and just worked hard for his status. This man, basically, worked hard for everything that he owns now and a model and inspiration to every Japanese dreamer. He made several inventions in Japan making him known as the “King of Japanese Inventors”. Some of his most famous inventions are weaving devices and the automatic power loom.

It was through his invention of the automatic power loom that autonomous automation or the principle of Jidoka came into existence and actually greatly benefitted his founded company. Jikoda works in such a way that it is able to detect occurring problems and as these are detected, the machine stops working. This then became an essential machine used in the Toyota Production System. The success of Sakichi’s looms was overwhelming. With this, he continued to invent new automated-loom technologies leading to new partnerships and inevitable breakups with some companies such as Mitsui & Co. During the Russo-Japanese War, a lot has changed to the way people accepted his ideas. It was also during that time that textile industries went down. With this, he had no choice but to stop his research and development efforts and quit his job at Toyoda Loom Works Ltd. This unfortunate circumstance didn’t stop him from pursuing what he thinks he does best and instead of really giving up, he resorted to other means of maximizing his interest and decided to observe the loom industry in U.S.

There is more to the experiences, downfalls, and achievements of Toyoda and he will always be known as one of the best inventors and businessmen in Japan.

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Beat Takeshi

Kitano Takeshi, an acclaimed movie director, is also known as Beat Takeshi, a known TV comedian in Japan. It was in 1983 that he had his first movie-acting debut entitled “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”. Just like any artists though, he started small and it actually took time for him to be recognized and appreciated as much as he is until now. The contributions of Takeshi in the entertainment industry were very considered to be of quality. This talented man evidently dominated the television scene of Japan for more than fifteen years. Not only that this comedian knows how to make people laugh but his frankness was admired by the viewers. He is simply one of the bravest comedians who didn’t fear saying and doing even those that can’t be said and done and seen in TV.  With this, he was renowned for his vulgar sense of humor.

A movie director

Several opportunities came to Takeshi since then. He was made even more popular through the “Two Beats”. This show, basically, exhibited a manzai style of comedy. Luckily, the show was seen in the early 80’s, a time when manzai is booming. The show focused on a straight man known as tsukkomi and a dumb guy referred to as a boke. These two are known for giving funny responses and everyday trouble. It was evident that crude materials were used by Takeshi and unavoidably affected and have upset older manzai purists. This fact, though, didn’t stop the show from being a big hit on TV. The “Two Beats” can be considered as one of the biggest and life-changing breaks  that Takeshi received. Even after the show, his presence was still very much wanted leading to more shows such as the Oretachi Hyokinzoku and Genki Ga Deru Terebi which both had high ratings.

Takeshi as a Comedian

As a director, Kitano was as equally successful. He was the great mind behind the first ever domestic box-office hit, “Kid’s Return”. Also through his 1997 film Fireworks, he was recognized as a world class director. People born with multiple talents are truly blessed and Kitano Takeshi is definitely a blessed man. Through his talents, humor, and creativity, he was able to entertain millions of people and at the same time provide means on how to entertain them through his renowned films. The success of Takeshi can sometimes be considered surprising and overwhelming but he deserves all these since from the very start, all that he really wanted is to leave a mark on the outside world.

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Mazie Hirono

 Marie Hirono graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1978. After which, she worked in the legal field for the purpose of gaining experience. She was luckily given a seat in the Hawaii State House of Representative. Not to confuse though, she was indeed born in Japan in 1947 but settled with her family in Hawaii seven year later. Her service was renowned making her the Hawaii’s lieutenant governor in 1994. In 2002, she lost in the gubernatorial elections. This lost, though, didn’t really give an end to her political career, she was still elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 2006. In 2012, she was then elected in the U.S Senate making her known as the first Asian-American woman to be elected in the Senate.

First Asian-American Woman Senator

The opportunities coming her way were overwhelming and these are considered to be things that she really worked hard for knowing that just like most us, she started small. Not to mention, she worked as early as elementary as a student cashier in their school’s lunchroom. Her determination did not only make her known and respected but her kind heart is one thing that people loved about her. She as well has this unexplainable love for service, service to the needy and the poor.

Even during her schooling years, she found time to tutor and volunteer at a mental hospital. She also worked with the so-called “at-risk teens” in a program. Her passion, basically, is to be of service and knowing that she had the opportunity, she maximized her them. In fact, she actually headed the Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee in Hawaii. Through her minimal efforts such as that of implementing laws on consumer protection efforts, she was able to be of purpose to the people who trusted her with such honorable positions. In line with this, her senate position made it possible for her to launch the first wide ranging Pre-Plus program for the possibility of a universal preschool education in the United States. The love of Marie Hirono for her job and career was evident and through her positions, she was able to be of great service to a lot of people. She is a model and should be an inspiration to all leaders. Leading is not simply about having the authority but also starting what is right and beneficial to the people who see your potential and seek hope from you.

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Yoko Ono

                 A multimedia artist and performer describe Yoko Ono. This famous artist was born on February 18,1933 in Tokyo, Japan and came from a wealthy aristocratic family. Ono found an interest in art and poetry when she once stayed in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village though her works were not instantly loved by fellow artists and the consumers mainly because they found those works too radical. It was when she was able to work with American jazz musician and film producer Anthony Cox that she given the opportunity to prove that she is indeed great in her chosen craft. Aside from being her second husband, the director extended his help through financing her interactive conceptual events back in the 1960s.

                The works of Ono were unique and known for its different concept and this focused on having her audience actively participate in every work that she does. Taking for instance her famous piece “cut piece”, she demanded the participation of the audience by making them cut off parts of her clothing until she has nothing on. This activity was all for the purpose of making people see the essence of discarding materialism in one’s life. Aside from being successful, her popularity boomed when John Lennon came into the picture. John Lennon, as we all know, is one of the members of the very known band the Beatles. It was in 1966 that they first met and from then on, Lennon supported Ono by visiting her art exhibition and by simply appreciating all of Ono’s work and achievements.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

                The spark of these two, back then, was undeniable and was a hit. After dating for almost 18 months, they began an affair. Lennon was in the process of divorcing his first wife at that time and  when things were over between them, she then married Ono in 1969. The two were simply great together. Collaborations on art, film, and music were amazing with them. Their aim to promote world peace through their conceptual events captured the interest and support of many. Lennon’s tragic death greatly damaged Ono as their relationship was something that they found special. Her husband death, though, didn’t stop her from pursuing the career and dream that both of them once shared. She worked not only to expose her talent but also to honor the memory of her talented husband and continue their aim and commitment on promoting world peace.  Their love and career stories will always be remembered.  

Music by Lennon and Ono

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Rinko Kikuchi

 Film, theater, and television actress are some of the most popular distinctions given to the renowned actress, Rinko Kikuchi.  She was born in January 6, 1981 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The interest of Rinko was evident to a lot of people making her known for being an acclaimed screen and stage performer. Her path towards stardom wasn’t at all easy for her but then again, her efforts were definitely worth it. She appeared in various Japanese films, television shows, and even music videos. It was in 2006 that she landed to her first ever American film entitled “Babel”. Her role and acting in this known movie was simply exceptional. Audience loved the way she portrayed the role of a fiercely defiant deaf mute resulting to recognitions that simply show how great of an actress she is. Not to mention, she was one of the nominees for Best supporting actress in the Academy Award nomination. This nomination was actually the first of Japan in 50 years.

Rinko Kikuchi

The popularity of Yuriko, her birth name, was believed to be unstoppable. Her talent was seen to be exceptional. More awards were presented to her including the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Female Performance when she once worked with the great actress, Jennifer Hudson. More to her awards is her Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough as well. Babel’s success was, in no doubt, possible because of Kikuchi’s presence and great execution of such sensitive role. Isn’t it just amazing that she won several awards for a role that didn’t even require her to speak a word?

Rinko Kikuchi Pacific Rim Babel

Rinko: A Renowned Actress

There are more and more opportunities that came to this actress. She starred in Rian Johnson’s “The Brothers Bloom” where she only spoke three words. In 2011, she was then blessed to be one of the lead cast of “47 Ronin” which is a known tale of Samurai loyalty and revenge in Japan. Pacific Rim was another stepping stone for Kikuchi in 2013 and Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter in 2014.  Kikuchi’s path to stardom is a path full of blessings, challenges, and opportunities. Together with her aim to gain that beneficial popularity is the drive to be of influence to other people through her great and outstanding talent. Touching lives was not something she really planned but through her heartwarming and sincere roles, she was able to indirectly touch people’s lives and shower them with essential life lessons. She is definitely an artist that Japan should be proud of.

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Shoko Asahara

Asahara: Feared by many

 Shoko Asahara is probably one of the most feared persons in Japan. Born half blind, he was exposed to such deprived and poor kind of living. As early as birth, he was diagnosed with infantile glaucoma and knowing that his family is financially unstable, this was not given its corresponding cure. His disability did not at all stop him from experiencing school. He attended a school that caters to blind people and graduated in 1977. Unfortunately though, he was not allowed to enter into a university. With this, he decided to spend his free time studying traditional Chinese medicine. His, then, acquired knowledge from the said schooling led him to the goal of selling herbal medicines. This all happened in 1978 together with his sudden marriage to a woman named Tomoko Matsumoto.

This man, as stated, was feared by many mainly because of his own kind of religion and formed religious cult. It is quite surprising to know that such fearful belief primarily triggered due to his conviction back in 1981. In that year, Shoko Asahara was convicted and fined for practicing pharmacy without a license. This experience of him was the mark of his religious quest.

Aum Shinrikyo or the “religion of truth” was founded by Asahara in 1987 after he experienced an unexpected spiritual awakening. Aum Shinrikyo is a religion that covers both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and as well as the adaptation of Bible teachings and writing of Nostradamus, a Christian monk. Basically, such religion is centered on the belief that the world is made to end, it is destined for destruction. Asahara, being the founder, is also the known “savior” who will lead the believers to salvation. There were more than 10,000 members of Aum Shinrikyo and these don’t plainly root from the Japan alone, there are even those in other countries. Asahara aimed to spread the influence of its members to various aspects of the society. One way that he found to be most effective is through having his members be elected in a position in the Japanese government. Several attempts, though, were not successful leading to the need of forming political organizations to somewhat change the views of the Japanese government towards them. The existence of the said religion, unlike others, goes with its members’ aggressive proclamation and this is almost always exhibited through fights and attacks. Of course, these practices cause injuries and deaths of thousands of people.

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Yoshiro Nakamatsu

Yoshiro Nakamatsu, more popularly known as Dr. NakaMats, is a famous Japanese inventor. His inventions made him known leading him to becoming a minor celebrity appearing in several Japanese talk shows. Most artists are simply born with such artistic talent but taking Nakamatsu’s case as consideration, his creativity process is somewhat unique and strange as that of what others have. He, personally, believes that listening to music and diving underwater makes him creative resulting to the best ideas. Being underwater, he believes, leads him to being able come up with such great inventions that he is actually known for at present.

A renowned Japanese Inventor

The inventions of Yoshiro were popular not only because those were made possible by him but the ideas and purpose for his inventions are beyond that of other inventors. His imagination can be considered extraordinary and sometimes, impossible. He, in fact, built a toilet room made out of gold because for him, such room helps people think better. This million dollar room was made not for the it’s usual purpose but rather to make him think better and invent more things. He found it a helpful tool in his aim to be that great inventor. Another interesting fact about Nakamatsu is that he sees things in  a whole new different perspective. For him, elevators are not made to transport people but it is actually a room where people can stay and actually lead them to having better thoughts. With this, he as well had an elevator in his house just for him to think better.

One of the Inventions of Dr. NakaMats

There are more to the inventions of Dr. NakaMats. Though, there are those that were not approved. There is the “Enerex” System made to generate hydrogen and oxygen. There is “Cerebrex” which is an armchair made to improve the user’s mental function. A condom embedded with a magnet was as well invented by him for the purpose of improving sensitivity. A cigarette was as well made like a device that is believed to activate one’s brain. Indeed, there is more to the list of Yoshiro’s unique inventions and whether those are approved or not, people especially the Japanese will continue to give much appreciation to him as he is not like any other inventors. He is one of the best mainly because he went beyond the ordinary. He made things possible even if for others, those weren’t even feasible. He is a great inventor and will always be known and honored by many.

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Akihito

Akihito is the eldest son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako. He was, back then, prepared to be the 125th emperor of Japan and to follow the Japanese custom, he had no choice but to live away from his parents and depend on chamberlains and tutors. In 1940, he began his studies at the Peers’ School. Before the end of World War II, he decided to leave Tokyo to ensure his safety but then returned also in the late 1940s. in 1952, he studied at Gakushuin University though wasn’t granted a degree. In the same year, he was officially declared the rightful heir to the throne and was then known to be Crown Prince Kotaishi Denka. In 1990, he became the 125th emperor of Japan which at the very instant of his birth, was destined and given to him. He married Michiko, a commoner, seven years after he was given such title.

“I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times”. This is one of those messages of Akihito that made the Japanese people appreciate him. He was known for his sense of humanity to the monarchy. He, together with his wife, exerted extra efforts to visit foreign countries aiming to personally extend their apologies  if ever they were negatively affected by Japanese imperialism . The reign of Akihito paved way for hope, hope that certain changes will take place benefitting the people and paving way for a much peaceful and just life. Michiko gave birth to Prince Hisahito in 2006. It was also during that time that Akihito found the need of encouraging his dad to retire as he was becoming weaker.

Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

in the year 2000, Akihito’s mother died. His father, on the other hand, started to suffer from health problems and even underwent several surgeries. His father, though, simply loves to be of service to the people and still attended some of the ceremonies in Japan. Akihito’s love for his parents was beyond this world and his leadership is simply admirable. He is, in fact, known for his humanitarian gestures. There is no doubt that Akihito and his family will always be remembered not only because they are important people of Japan’s history but they represented honest leaders who didn’t make use of their power and authority to make people feel less privileged of them but rather, they all had the aim to be of service, make people feel that they’re not lower than them, and somewhat be beneficial to other people’s lives and be remembered for that.

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Ichiro Suzuki

“I want to be the kind of player who people feel it is worth paying the money to come out and watch. When I meet players who are playing just to win, that angers me”. This quote probably explains the love of the known baseball player Ichiro Suzuki for his chosen sport. There is no doubt that he is simply one of the best since his interest for it started at a very early age. Nobuyuki, his father, was as well a player back in his high school days. When Ichiro was born, one of his father’s aim was to make his son love baseball as much as he did. Nobuyuki was determined to teach his son and started to train him at age 3. Trainings, you may think, were just simple but actually, training for the two became a daily session even reaching nighttime.

With this, Ichiro found it so easy to appreciate the sport and as well had the determination to be good at it. He was recruited as a pitcher and outfielder in the Aikodai Meiden Koko high school baseball program. Unfortunately, opportunities for him were not always continuous. In 1991, he was bypassed in the professional draft simply because of his frame. Just like any determined athlete, Ichiro had an immeasurable love and interest for the sport. Through his efforts, hard work, and skill, he was recognized. He won more batting titles and 3 MVP Awards. More to his achievements is a bidding process popularly referred to as posting was specifically conducted for him. The bid ended with $13.125 million. Together with this, Ichiro signed a three-year contract in the team and $14 million.

Ichiro Suzuki as a Baseball Player

More to him being discovered as one of Japan’s best athletes, he was also known for his remarkable American Baseball Career. His play in Seattle was consistent and outstanding. In July 2012, he was traded to the New York Yankees and was believed to have greatly helped in making the team reach the playoffs. His success is a representation of hope. He made people see that succeeding in your chosen craft is never impossible as long as you are committed and willing to take risks and chances. Ichiro’s path was not always full of opportunities and just like any other athletes, he as well experienced to be turned down and rejected. These things, though, are inevitable in any field that a person chooses to pursue.

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Princess Masako

Crown Princess Masako of Japan.jpg

Crown Princess of Japan

Masako, born in December 9, 1963 in Tokyo, Japan, was the daughter of the renowned Ambassador Hisashi Owada and Yumiko Owada. Her father was simply influential through his held positions. Aside from being a career diplomat and administrative vice minister of foreign affairs, he was as well Japan’s representative to the United States. Masako, together with her mom and twin younger sisters, moved to nearby Belmont when her father agreed to teach at Harvard University in Cambridge. She as well decided to attend Harvard from where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Economics. After graduation, she decided to enter University of Tokyo and study for the Diplomatic Service Examination. Luckily, she was one of the passers of the known to be very difficult Ministry entrance exam.

Masako is admired not only because of her high status but of how she remained simple and down-to-earth. Aside from obviously being studious, she has an unexplainable love for animals making her consider the possibility of her being veterinarian. She is as well inclined to sports and was back then a star athlete of her high school’s girl softball team. More to her personal life, it was in 1986 that she was introduced to Naruhito, a crown prince. The prince instantly found her interesting and decided to court her. Not like most of the girls though, Masako was not really looking forward or dreams of such public and royal life. This is actually one of the reasons behind her not fully entertaining the prince. She was primarily afraid of the possibility of her just wasting all that she worked hard for knowing that sometimes living a royal life means living with restrictions.

The fear of Masako went on making her choose to study at Oxford for two-years and somewhat rejecting the prince’s proposal. The proposal was presented to her thrice and at last, she accepted and married the prince in 1993 adapting of course, a traditional ceremony. Their long courtship touched many Japanese women’s lives leading them to hoping that such fairytale is experienced by them as well. Women, back then, had so much hope that through Princess Masako, progressive changes will occur within the Imperial palace. Masako failed to make these hopes reality since she chose to live a quiet royal life and for a long time, she remained pressured to bear an heir to the throne. Her silence, for the people, was a way for her to exhibit her extreme loneliness and depression due to the sudden changes in her used to be independent life.

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