Tonda, Steel Casting Division Manager, has a slim and tall body but is
Now if he were regarded as Don Quixote, holding a spear against a huge windmill, the blocking gate before HSA
planning to open in May would be the closed gate for him absolutely never
opened even crying "Open sesame!" many times.
He naturally did not have any power to capture the gate and there could
have been no persuasive possibility with tears. But Tonda knew inside that
his division could hardly continue business any further unless he forced
to open the sturdy gate blocking "the dispatch of a resident representative."
Dim light of hope was the presence of Udono, Representative and Executive
Director with influential power.
Let's make a detour a little bit.
All businesses other than steel rollings were within the duty of Udono, rumored to be the next president of Hayatama Steel.
He had belonged to Kiho Steel until it was merged into Hayatama Steel.
During the time, Tonda was his staff. Based on this background, Tonda admits
to be his right-hand man.
Besides, Udono was said to be equally interested in the lesser divisions
like Steel Casting Division. It was unique among the executives.
Tonda seemed to think a plan himself.
After obtaining approval from the two major trading companies, Tanabe Trading
and Ichie Trading, he suggested an inspection tour around the United States
to Udono, saying "Isn't it good for you to make sure the latest situation
there by your own eyes?"
Tonda had a strong impression in the United States and remembered it well,
so his suggestion was quite eager.
The president and the other executives backed up Tonda's idea as the inspection
of the surrounding circumstances of soon-opening HSA. In the result, Udono
felt like to make a trip.
Miwasaki had some slight connection with Udono, now Executive Director,
too. Both of them graduated from H University in Kunitachi City, Tokyo.
When Miwasaki entered Hayatama Steel, 3 graduates welcomed him at some
Japanese restaurant. Udono was Director at that time. Miwasaki noticed
Minabe, Production Process Manager of Hoshizaki Plant then.
When it came to the talk about golf during the dinner, Udono flattered
Minabe, saying "I am not poor, but you are a single player."
Then looking at Miwasaki, he added "Minabe is a good drinker, too.
More than that, he is surely the top ten in mahjong in the company. He
is not only such a man, though."
It seemed the two of them had more intimate connection in the work than
Ten-odd years had passed since then.
It was in late winter 1980 that the Udono's inspection trip around New
York for one week was easily realized by the board's decision. The official
purpose was "The inspection of the surrounding circumstances of HSA
planning to open in New York City the next May, and the courtesy visit
to the close companies there."
His trip included the meeting with the people of Chessie System, the main
customer of steel casting frogs in the United States.
It was decided that Inami, Manager of New York Office, would attend him
everywhere, and that Miwasaki and Wabuka would attend to the customers
related to steel castings.
For that reason, the next business trip of Miwasaki and Wabuka including
this job was accepted in a hurry by Division Manager Tonda. Tonda uknew
well Miwasaki was the same graduate with Udono.
If the two had accompanied Udono, Executive Director, from Narita Airport,
this kind of tragedy would not have happened.
They had arrived in the United States several days ahead of Udono, and
after finishing some of their own job, planned to see him at Kennedy Airport,
New York. That was based on the collaboration with Inami, Manager of New
York Office, by telex and telephone.
The two, Miwasaki and Wabuka, after doing other jobs there around, met
Inami the previous day at the office in PanAm building, and made sure that
Executive Director Udono would arrive as planned on the following day.
Inami seemed busy of detailed work for the opening of the new company.
On Sunday, April 1st, Inami and the two headed for the arrival lobby of
Kennedy Airport with enough time for the landing of Udono's plane. Thinking
of Udono's entry procedure time, they had planned to stand by nearly 1
hour there until he would appear.
Why? Executive Director Udono was already there in the lounge, waving his
hand! Two people of the trading companies stood by him. Both of them were
working in New York, according to Inami.
It was impossible for the plane to have arrived 1 hour earlier than planned.
Udono looked smiling seemingly with something at heart. The three apologized
a lot, not knowing why.
Udono said to them, still smiling.
"Did you know the summer time began from today?"
Yes, terribly! April 1st was the starting day of Daylight Saving Time.
Inami immediately apologized to him, saying: "Sorry, not in my heart
The two bowed their heads behind Inami, admitting their mistake, too. They
commited the same sin with Inami, even if he took all the responsibility.
Inami must have been too busy unusually to think of it.
The Executive Director did not talk about it any more since then.
Udono's teaching attitude to Miwasaki was severe during his stay there.
He warned Miwasaki about any trivious matters and did not give him a usual
smile until leaving from Kennedy Airport.
Wabuka, the partner, afterward, told Miwasaki, "I envy you. You are
lovable to him at heart"
Miwasaki noticed it somehow, but did not want to recall that experience
for a while.
Thinking of it differently, Udono might have had the will to support the
following long-cherished wish of Steel Casting Division in his mind.
He might have observed Miwasaki from the eyes "Whether would he be
suitable for the increased personnel in charge of sales of HSA or not?"
|It is innevitable to let someone to be stationed at the place near the
local customers in order to realize the advance of their steel-casting
frogs into North America.
The capable person is no other than Miwasaki.
Back to Udono's trip.
Inami, New York Office Manager, accompanied him all the way to visit trading
companies and related organizations. Miwasaki and Wabuka accompanied him
only to Tanabe Trading in New York and Purchase Dept. of Chessie System
It was famous in Hayatama Steel that Udono was good at golf. As a matter
of fact, Tanabe Trading was preparing for playing golf at a distinguished
cource on the suburbs of New York. Ichigi, Director of Tanabe, and Miwasaki
went there with him.
The best score was Udono, as expected. He was really in a good mood because
he also got two birdies, the balls of which were kept by Ichigi.
Sequel to the story, Udono died of stomach cancer one and a half years
after the trip. Minabe, General Manager of Investigation Dept. and Miwasaki
visited him in St. Luke Hospital in Tokyo a couple of days before his death.
Miwasaki visited Udono's house after a while of his funeral.
Two golf balls were put on the family Buddhist alter. Miwasaki noticed
what were them at once. He also found the picture on the wall in which
Udono was holding a ball on the green.
His wife told him in an intimate look.
"Udono has always talked about that trip. It was his first time to
play golf overseas."
Let's detour a little more.
Following Udono's death, Kinokawa, Executive Director, was responsible
for the divisions other than Steel Rolling Division. Steel Casting Division
was not an exception, and Tonda accepted it in the situation that he was
aiming at the promotion to Managing Director.
In the division, needless to say, Tonda was practically the top and was
called "Emperor" there inside. Though he had been transferred
from Chita Plant of steel rollings, he was the first Director with strong
leadership in Steel Casting Division.
Therefore, everybody knew Kinokawa was a puppet of the "Emperor",
and it was not every time that he attended the Division's monthly meetings.
However, Kinokawa had been Vice President of Kamikura Steel when the 3
companies, Hayatama Steel, Nanki Special Steel and Kamikura Steel, merged
to form the new Hayatama Steel in 1976. It showed he was still an important
person on a broad perspective.
Just before the merger, Yuasa Trading brought a large-scale inquiry from
Polish National Railway to Hayatama Steel. It was said the order would
be decided by an international bid.
The volume of the steel-casting frogs was over 700 tons, when the production
capacity of Tsukiji Plant was 250 tons per month. Surely an unprecedented
The shapes of frogs were simple with several kinds, which meant efficient
The steel-casting frogs seemed to be one of the small items for the nation-wide
railway constructions both with additions and repairs, and Yuasa Trading
did not bid only for the frogs.
The requested delivery dates Hayatama Steel was concerned about were confirmed
to be well enough to cope with by its production capacity of Tsukiji Plant.
"We wouldn't be worse off for trying."
The 8 samurais jumped at the inquiry, thinking of,
"If by any chance we could receive the order, it would also include
another significant meaning, not only a huge-scale order."
"The name Hayatama Steel would be well known all over the international
stages. If the frogs' quality were evaluated well, we would not need to
put extra emphasis on self-advertisement."
"Above all, it would shoot a hole through the solid gate tightly blocking
against the dispatch of our keyman to HSA."
They finally decided to give it the best try under the command of Emperor
They delivered 4 frogs for a sample test at the customer's site. Then they
were accepted to join the bid.
They entered the bid in a reasonable price and the suitable delivery dates
without interrupting the present production circumstances.
Wouldn't it be like this when everything went well?
Three months after the bid, General Manager Suzushima of Yuasa Trading
with a staff visited Division Manager Tonda.
He says, "We received the informal decision from Polish National Railway.
Spain was our rival, but the sample test seemed to show our advantage."
Shaking hands with Tonda, and after a while, he added looking a little
"They insist to have the signing of the contract at their head office
in Katowice, Poland. Would you please accept it?"
He bowed his head, not at all showing his idea that Tonda could not refuse
On the other hand, somehow, Tonda avoided giving an immediate answer, not
hiding his joy, saying,
"I understand. I will answer you soon."
Would it be absolutely necessary for the representative of the producer
to have to attend the contract ceremony in Poland all the way? The truth
was unknown, and Yuasa Trading might have made a story thoughtfully. At
least however, this suggestion was above all to Hayatama Steel.
Everybody expected Emperor Tonda would go, and several days passed.
Tonda called Miwasaki to the directors' office and said with a suppressed
smile, "Executive Director Kinokawa accepted it. It is nice, because
this work belongs to the representative director." He added then,
"You are going with him."
Miwasaki imagined this happening would surely bring the post of "Managing
Director" to Tonda.
In summer, 1982, the four people made a luxury travel to Poland for 10
days. They were Kinokawa, Miwasaki, Suzushima of Yuasa Trading and his
On the way there, they stopped by at Paris to visit Palace of Versailles
and Louvre Museum, and at Vienna to visit Belvedere Palace and to see the
operetta "Merry Widow" at Theater an der Wien.
They then got to the head office of Polish National Railway at Katowice,
Poland, driving from Warsaw, the capital.
The information from Yuasa Trading was true because the solemn signing
ceremony was held there among Polish National Railway, Hayatama Steel and
What happened at the ceremony is vague now in Miwasaki's memory, but the
happening after that is clear in his mind.
When Miwasaki came back to the hotel in Katowice staying from the previous
day, the front staff handed out something to him, saying "From Mr.
??? of National Railway."
The inside of the package contained several LP records of Chopin's piano
music played by the famous Polish pianists, Arthur Rubinstein and Witold
They must have received the information of his hobby. Now, what about the presents to them? Everything was done by Yuasa Trading.
The 4 people spent a nice day in the ancient city Krakow with Yuasa's local staff as a guide.
It is the city dated back to the 7th century, and was the capital of Poland
from 1038 to 1569.
Among the historical sightseeing spots of World Heritage in the city, Wawel
Royal Castle, famous for the castle of the former kings of Poland, was
Its view from outside had solid and heavy beauty, and going under the gate,
they saw Cathedral just on the left and Old Royal Palace before them. Both
of them were solemn and graceful.
The inside of Old Royal Palace was a museum, which they were going to look
around thoroughly. Getting carried away, Miwasaki and the staff of Yuasa
went their separate ways from others, and looked around each of the three
floors freely out of their own interests.
When Miwasaki got out to the patio, other people were tired of waiting
One anecdote about Kinokawa's unique personality.
On the way to the destination, the four people stayed one night in Paris,
where something sad happened.
The couple of the president of Yuasa France invited them to dinner at a
French restaurant of ancient traditions. On the right wall of the narrow
steps up to the 2nd floor, they noticed the memorial picture of Showa Emperor
and Empress of Japan when they had visited this restaurant.
The president was said a famous sommelier in the field.
He looked at the wine list briefly, but he had already decided his choice.
It was the aged one the taste of which lessens by moving place to place.
Nodding with his wife, he called the sommelier of the restaurant to him.
He whispered the brand, and the sommelier made all smiles and left.
After a while the sommelier appeared respectfully with a red full bottle,
putting the candle fire up to the bottom. Confirming the old label, the
president smiled to the sommelier.
The president swayed the glass carefully and tasted the wine slowly, then
gave a satisfactory smile to the sommelier and his wife.
The sommelier poured the wine for the people around efficiently.
The lady's comfortable face and the admiring smile of Suzushima.
After toasting the wonderful meeting, each person drank happily.
The lady talked to Executive Director Kinokawa slowly in a graceful smile,
"How do you like it?"
Kinokawa tilted his head a couple of times with his glass in hand, and
after a while, answered her in a blank look.
"I tasted the wine in the Air-France plane well, but this is a little
The president's disappointed profile for a moment was imprinted on Miwasaki's
When Hayatama Steel finished the delivery of the whole frogs to Polish
National Railway in one year, Yuasa Trading won the international bid of
parrarel-cross-type steel-casting frogs for Toronto City Streetcar, Canada.
The volume was about 100 tons, and the success of bidding was mostly based
on the good evaluation of the quality, thanks to the case of Polish National
These orders in a row must have been instrumental to shout "Open sesame!"
against the strong gate preventing Steel Casting Division from the dispatch
of a resident staff to HSA, which was an inevitable concrete measure for
their frogs to enter North-American market.
The people involved confirmed a slight light to realize it.
It goes without saying the silent support of the late Executive Director Udono who had been favorable to the project.
These happenings must also have been God's blessing to Tonda, Division
Manager. He was promoted to Managing Director among the new executive appointments,
following the Udono's death. Executve Director Kinokawa backed him up,
as a matter of fact.
Part 7-1 Reading: 13' 13"
Part 7-2 Reading: 16' 03"