Founder

Kazuo Inamori
Born in 1932, Kagoshima, Japan

In April 1959, Inamori established Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd. (now Kyocera Corporation) with an investment of 3 million Japanese yen from acquaintances. It has grown into a well-known international firm supplying a wide range of products from electronic components to consumer products such as cellular phones and cameras, where he currently serves as chairman emeritus. When Japan’s telecommunications industry was deregulated in 1984, Inamori quickly took the initiative to establish DDI Corporation, and became its chairman. In October 2000, DDI merged with KDD and IDO to create KDDI Corporation. Inamori served as KDDI’s chairman emeritus. He was named honorary adviser in June 2001. He became chairman of Japan Airlines (JAL, now Japan Airlines Co., Ltd) in February 2010. After serving as representative director and chairman of the company, he became honorary adviser in April 2015.In 1984, Inamori made a personal endowment to establish the non-profit Inamori Foundation, and became its president (now he serves as the founder). At the same time, he created the Kyoto Prize, an international award presented by the Inamori Foundation each November to recognize individuals and groups worldwide who have made outstanding contributions to the betterment of the global community and humankind.

His volunteer service includes leading Seiwajyuku, a private management school operating in 96 locations, 40 of which are outside of Japan. As president of Seiwajyuku, Inamori teaches his management philosophy at 56 branches in Japan and 48 overseas branches to more than 14,000 business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide. (as of June 2019)

He also holds several posts outside of the company including honorary chairman of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and trustee emeritus of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Career Highlights

Apr. 1959 Established Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd. (present Kyocera Corporation); Appointed to the Board of Directors
May. 1966 Appointed President of Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd.
Apr. 1984 Established The Inamori Foundation; Assumed Presidency
Jun. 1984 Established DDI Corporation; Appointed Chairman of the Board
Jun. 1985 Appointed Chairman of the Board of Kyocera Corporation
Jun. 1987 Established Kansai Cellular Telephone Co., Ltd.(present au CORPORATION); Appointed Chairman of the Board
Jul. 1994 Established DDI Pocket Telephone Inc.; Appointed Chairman of the Board
Jun. 1997 Resigned Chairman of Kyocera Corporation; Retained the Position of Non Representative Director and appointed Founder and Chairman Emeritus;Resigned Chairman of the Board and Representative Director of DDI Corporation;Retained the Position of Non Representative Director and appointed Founder and Chairman Emeritus
Jun. 2000 Resigned Non Representative Director and Chairman Emeritus of DDI Pocket Telephone Inc.
Oct. 2000 Merged DDI, KDD and IDO into one organization and established KDDI;became Chairman Emeritus of KDDI
Jun. 2001 Appointed Honorary Advisor of KDDI Corporation
2003 Established Seiwa Social Welfare Association and Inamori Social Welfare Foundation
Jun. 2005 Retired from Kyocera Corporation’s board of directors
Feb. 2010 Became Chairman of Japan Airlines
Feb. 2012 Appointed Honorary Chairman of the Board of Japan Airlines
Apr. 2013 Appointed Honorary Chairman of Japan Airlines
Apr. 2015 Appointed Honorary Advisor of Japan Airlines

Awards and Honors: Overseas

1979 Honorary Citizen of San Diego County, California, U.S.A.
Oct. 1996 Honorary Citizenship of Shilong Town, Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China
May. 1997 The Japan Society of Boston Distinguished Leadership Award in U.S.-Japan Relations, U.S.A.
Jul. 1998 Lifetime of Innovation Award of the International Union of Materials Research Societies, U.S.A.
Feb. 1999 Honorary Citizen of Asuncion, Paraguay
Apr. 1999 Frontiers of Science-Rustum Roy Lecture, The American Ceramic Society, U.S.A.
Oct. 1999 John Francis McMahon Lecturer, Alfred University, U.S.A.
Dec. 1999 Person of the Year, The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Japan
Aug. 2000 Honorary Professor, Xinjiang University, China
Sep. 2000 National Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil
Dec. 2003 Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, U.S.A.
Apr. 2004 Envoy of Sino-Japanese Friendship, China
Sep. 2006 Peace and Development Contribution Awards, China
Feb. 2007 Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award, U.S.A.
Nov. 2009 Entrepreneur for the World Award, France
May. 2011 Othmer Gold Medal, U.S.A.
May. 2011 International Citizens Award from Japan America Society of Southern California, U.S.A.
Jul. 2019 Honorary citizen of Kagoshima Prefecture

Memberships: Overseas

  • Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Sweden
  • Member of Board of Trustees, Carnegie Institution of Washington, U.S.A.
  • Distinguished Lifetime Member, The American Ceramic Society, U.S.A.
  • Foreign Associate, National Academy of Engineering, U.S.A.

Selected Publications

1995 A PASSION FOR SUCCESS McGraw-Hill, Inc.
1997 For People and For Profit KODANSHA INTERNATIONAL LTD.
1998 Kazuo Inamori’s Pragmatic Studies: Management and Accounting
1999 Respect the Divine and Love People, San Diego Univ.
2009 A Compass to Fulfillment: Passion and Spirituality in Life and Business, McGraw-Hill