|XDWhereabout of the Tie-up
Hayatama Steel America (HSA), the U.S. subsidiary of Hayatama Steel, has
its office on the 54th floor of Chrysler Building in New York City.
Chrysler Building, 319m high, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, was built in 1930. It is in Art Deco, and the symbol of Midtown. There are PanAm building and Grand Central Station near there.
Getting out of the express elevator on the 54th floor and straight ahead
the hallway, there appears the doorplate of "Hayatama Steel America,
By the entrance door inside is the front desk of Ms. Tanamy, working since
New York Office days.
The front is a large room of 3 staffs. They are Nachi of General Affairs,
Kinomoto of Technology, and Iwashiro of Sales. Iwashiro hands over his
job to Miwasaki and is going back to Japan.
The right side room is the President's office, used for reception, too.
A good view is widened from both rooms. Empire State Building can be seen
The regular staff meeting every Monday is held in the President office
from 8:30 to 9:00 am. While Nachi chairs the meeting, each staff has a
report and the weekly policy is decided.
After Miwasaki took up his post, the sales promotion of steel-casting frogs
(Mn-rail) in North America was added to the subject of the meeting. In
the result, the meeting was often extended after 9:00 since then, because
President Shirahama thought it as an important business in the near future
and every staff fully understood his idea. At each meeting Miwasaki had
to report every changing situation as simply as possible in order for every
HSA staff to share it.
HSA was developed as an independent company two years before from Hayatama
Steel's New York Office. But needless to say, HSA could not expect profit
Even within the range of their assumption, it had continued the red since
its foundation and had no good promising view.
The head office of Hayatama Steel regarded its red as a necessary cost,
but the president and all staffs of HSA were searching for some good business.
They noticed the steel-frog business just at the time.
Is it possible for them to promote selling the material in North America
by the cooperation with a local assembler?
Their optimistic conclusion was "It will work out all right if such
factors as quality, delivery and price are satisfied."
President Shirahama considered the matter as a rare and unexpeced chance.
Based on this idea, he let Miwasaki work only for the steel-frog business,
not involved in the steel-rolling business even though he actually took
over it from the predecessor. Shirahama did that business in person on
Miwasaki had received a telex from Shirahama, just before he left for HSA.
"I am going to meet the vice president of L. B. Foster at their head
office at Atlanta, Georgia, a couple of days after your arrival. You will
go there with me. We will play golf with him, too."
Miwasaki accompanied Shirahama on the day. Shirahama was much closer to
L. B. Foster than he had expected. Shirahama, in the plane, told him that
it was not merely a courtesy visit.
He added: This is not his first visit there. The vice president and he
has enjoyed dinner in New York, too, and they understand each other.
Miwasaki did not know yet that the relations between the two companies
had become this much. He stared at the president's profile, taken aback.
Bob Cattura was present at the meeting. He was in charge of this business
at LBF in Cincinnati.
Miwasaki already knew him. But why, Bob had not yet informed him of anything
related to Shirahama and L. B. Foster in spite of his knowledge. Whether
he was aware of it or not, he looked sorry next to the vice president.
When urged to tell them what was going on around him with the document,
Bob finally got smiled.
According to his enthusiastic report, their business talks with several
railway companies were making good progress, so "I wish to cooperate
with Mr. Miwasaki to follow it forward, with this meeting as a starting
The next morning, the four of them played golf at Atlanta Athletic Club,
one of the best golf links in the United States.
Three of them seemed surprised at Miwasaki's skill, and he felt at home
seeing their pleasant plays. Shirahama looked to be satisfied strolling
through the rough.
Back to the delayed problem of "which local assemler" to tie-up with. Direct business of HSA with LBF or business with ABX through Iche Trading.
Miwasaki was transferred to HSA getting off to a start while Hayatama Steel
had put the decision of the problem on the back burner.
Tonda, Managing Director and Division Manager, was Emperor in both name
and realily in Steel Casting Division. Therefore as long as the business
was connected with the division because of the production of steel-casting
frogs themselves, HSA could not resist refusing the Tonda's power.
The voice from heaven "No cooperative partner shoud be accepted other than ABX" was carried sharply with a variety of arrowheads from inside and outside of the division a long way to HSA aiming at Miwasaki, with the carrot and the stick. The carrot of "Don't worry about your future" was surely a lure, and the stick was "You would be cut down with a single stroke of my sword if you might disobey me."
On the other hand, the encouragement of President Shirahama of HSA was
extraordinary. For Shirahama, since this business was a long-waiting promising
matter, he could not easily part with it.
As he was making surer and surer of his expectation, he, also Director
of the parent company, requested the support of the executives and HSA
sympathizers of Hayatama Steel, and was never beaten.
He took the offensive saying "If we go the way of Emperor's idea,
we will lose the precious chance of overseas progress of Hayatama products."
The fight of a storm in a teacup at first became the virtual localized war between the group topped by Emperor Tonda, Managing Director, and Shirahama's HSA handling Miwasaki in the shade, and it was intensified more and more.
"Would you stop such a non-fruitful fight?"
The request of Ichie Trading reached roundabout to Minoshima, President
of Hayatama Steel, the chief commander. Minoshima was the star of hope
of the company long waited for since the founder in the beginning of 20th
century, and with a good popularity from the inside and the outside.
Yelled at by the chief commander like "Can't you put down the silly
talk of as low as a manager?", not only Emperor Tonda but also the
other executives could not stay silent.
Vice President Hidaka, supporting Tonda, made a trip to the United States
with Export Manager, and visited HSA for questioning. Hidaka, bald headed,
had been the top of steel rolling field with confidence of the industry
and the trading companies.
What in detail did they discuss? Miwasaki was not allowed to attend the crucial meeting between Hidaka and Shirahama.
At lunch the next day, Hidaka asked gently to Miwasaki over the round table,
"Are you working well for steel rollings, too?" It was what Miwasaki
did not want to be asked. Export Manager sitting next to him talked to
him quietly, "Managing Director Tonda is really in trouble. He brought
you up to this level, so you have to think of him. He told me he would
take care of you."
As soon as the vice president returned to the head office in Nagoya, he
sentenced the following to the people involved and suggested to the president.
"Managing Director Tonda is right. HSA should not hastely pursue profit.
HSA must not disturb our relationship with the trading companies and the
Now Executive Director Ohshima, supporting HSA, moved. He was the top of
the production system of the whole company.
He made a trip to the United States with the Assistant General Manager
of Export Dept., and visited HSA pretending to have found time during other
businesses. He naturally must have held in mind the will and messages of
the overseas-oriented people including Director Minabe, Investigation Manager.
He used to make and breed Chita Plant, state-of-the art and large-scale
all over the special-steel-rolling industry as Assistant Plant Manager.
The silver hair did not hide his age, but his leadership was alive. He
was a man of action. He was also deeply concerned with the birth of HSA
not less than Vice President Hidaka, and he did not forget to have recommended
Shirahama as President of HSA.
Shirahama had a welcome dinner party at his home in Mamaroneck for Executive
Director Ohshima one night, and the staffs including Miwasaki were present
He reported what was going on with HSA, and did not fail to emphasize Miwasaki's support about the business of steel rollings saying diplomatically, "Miwasaki is helping me very much."
Well aware of the report with a doubt and satisfied with it, comfortably
drunk, Ohshima told the staffs that he expected them to develop HSA to
a reputable company, and that they, topped by Shirahama, would do their
best as he would take every responsibility.
Miwasaki used to be his staff when Ohshima was General Manager of Investigation
Dept. 10 years had passed since then.
Ohshima told Miwasaki pleasantly, "You are just in your element. Keep
up the good work."
Immediately after his return to Japan, Ohshima suggested his idea in favoritism
to President Minoshima, and informed HSA of his understanding with the
president, saying, "Do your best as you like."
"Which side was a sound argument" could not be judged easily,
but HSA supported by Ohshima seemed to be cooler than Emperor at the point
of the independent business of Hayatama Steel.
The other directors seemingly indifferent to this matter until then were
sensitive to the situation change, and they began to act as if they were
supporters to the advantageous side.
It was late fall. The phone rang before dawn at Miwasaki's home in Greenwich,
He and his wife Tsubaki were naturally asleep in bed. The phone was still
ringing, so he picked it up and said "Hello, ...."
He could easily imagined that the other side not speaking properly with
drunken voice was Managing Director Tonda. Probably the phone was from
some Japanese-style restaurant in Nagoya, Japan.
"This is Miwasaki. Who is it, please?"
Not answering Miwasaki, the phone connection was cut after meaningless
breathing for a while.
It must have been in the evening Japan time. Tonda might have wanted to
tell Miwasaki his ultimatum with carrot-and-stick.
Meanwhile, the following notice by the name of President Minoshima was
sent to the departments involved.
"The local partner of the Mn-rail (steel-casting frog) sales advance
to North America will be LBF.
Hayatama Trading will work for this business between HSA and LBF."
Hayatama Trading was a 100% subsidiary of Hayatama Steel dealing specially
with steel, and had overseas branches at Los Angeles (HTLA), Korea and
When the parent company Hayatama Steel developed its New York Office to
the local corporate HSA, its teamwork with HTLA in the United States was
strengthened, and they were closely related to each other by the hotline
of telefax and telephone and the meetings once three months since then.
But why was it necessary for HTLA to work for this frog business as an
additional partner? Wasn't it the same-case channel with Ichie Trading
between Hayatama Steel and ABX? In the case of Ichie Trading, it was so
familiar with the circumstances of North America that it would be helpful
This ambiguous settlement might have some relations with the fact that
Hayatama Trading had a trouble making very little progress in the business
overseas, espcially in the United States.
Now that Vice President Hidaka was unofficially decided to become President
of Hayatama Trading, the top management might have thought it should be
the gift to him and also should become a neutralizer for the infight among
the executives involved. In addition, it would contribute the consolidated
accounting result of Hayatama Group.
Moreover, the supporting executives emphasized the following prospective
* The geographical situation of HSA on the East Coast and HTLA on the West
Coast, the similarities and the differences of their business. Such factors
could yield multiplier effects.
* In the result HTLA got involved in the tie-up with LBF, HSA would have
put up a close feeler to the market along the West Coast.
Miwasaki decided to get along with the above optimistic idea. He thought
mostly about the merits as a staff of HSA.
The personnel change of the executives in Hayatama Steel in spring the
next year could be said in a large-scale.
President Minoshima remained in office as expected, but 10 executives were
Vice President Hidaka became President of Hayatama Trading as planned.
Tonda lost the job of Managing Director, and was transferred to the subsidiary
Executive Director Ohshima was promoted to Vice President.
Besides, Director Shirahama could not be promoted to Managing Director. He was a little disappointed, judging it as the result of "It takes two to make a quarrel."
It seemed to the staffs of HSA that the trouble of the Mn-rail business
in North America had a considerable influence to the personnel change of
Ichie Trading did not stick to such infighting of the other company. It
had pulled back out of the frog business before the executive change in
Hayatama. There was a rumor that ABX was pursuing the tie-up with a steel
frog company in the United Kingdom, but Ichie did not seem to be interested
in it at all.
One year after Miwasaki had been transferred to HSA, the frog business
in North America finally came to be regarded as one of the promising export
items of Hayatama Steel.
Part 9-1 Reading: 11' 04"
Part 9-2 Reading: 14' 12"