Mr. Keiji Midorikawa is in his 73 years old.
I recognize him as the most cool person.
He is extremely friendly and bright saying, "It is not mere tomorrow, but tomorrow I am schedule d to meet people, that is why I live today."
It would be very rude for me to describe him, who has lived in the industry of furnitures for more than 50 years, as having nothing special techniques, professional achievements, titles to be easily understood.
He is neither craftsman nor creator.
If I had to choose, he would be marketer.
He is "the man who has been living in the industry of furnitures."
Now, many seniors, who are actively playing various aspects of the industry of furnitures, treat KOMA very nicely with strong encouragements in strong comments.
They all are talented and give me opportunities and inspired.
I respect them.
However, for me, Mr. Midorikawa is the most cool next to none.
I remember that he commented me as too much energized younger employee in Hida-Kogei, to be honest, I do not remember the moment we met for the first time.
He has stood by me before I realize it.
Now, I really appreciate him.
He has neither special features nor outstanding achievements.
I, who was so idiot, have not been able to appreciate him for long time.
Back in 2007.
When I was 29 years old.
KOMA, established in 2003, has survived with help of many people, through subcontracts of builders, reforming contractors, interior decorators for stores and restaurants.
At that time, KOMA has dealt with built-in-furnitures including display furnitures for stores and storage furnitures on walls.
Now, I would say KOMA had decent earnings.
Subcontractors, as being able to concentrate into manufacturing other than marketing to main contractors, do not spend excessive expenses as long as keeping regular clients.
Main contractors approach to end users spending expenses for advertisements, maintenance fee for show rooms, PR, sales, planning, marketing, etc.
KOMA had decent techniques and consist of only 3.
We are able to have adequate jobs to sustain all employees thanks to helps from stake holders.
We prioritize tasks only KOMA could do and asked orders to other factories about remaining easy tasks.
In short, from contractual point of view, we have asked other factories for third subcontracts.
Given professional craftsman, we do not need meetings to discuss about details.
So, it is completed in sending facsimile of production drawings.
10 to 30 percent of easy profit margin were earned just passing orders among different parties.
That was such sweat deal.
There are no such sweat deals in the world.
Of course, we have gotten a taste of our own medicine.
KOMA has fallen to rock bottom again.
Now, I remember I was really happy to become afford to sustain ordinary people's life from the previous rock bottom.
At the same time, I remember I did not have feeling for the business to be grounded.
Economic cycle over all would have almost nothing to do with a small company KOMA.
Overall jobs in our industry seemed to be decreased due to Lehman shock and/or issue in architectural forgery in Japan, however, it had almost nothing to do with KOMA.
I have become aware of issues since 2008 when observing bankruptcies of clients in builders depending on how fast running out of capitals.
Suddenly, I could not make any contacts with a client.
It was too late when it is noticed.
Days later, the notification of the bankruptcy was sent by the attorney.
Of course, money was not paid.
It was non-performing assets.
There were clients whose obligations accumulated to JPY1,000,000 and/or JPY3,000,000.
In total, non-performing assets were amounted to about JPY20,000,000 in total.
Obligors do not pay, however, KOMA has to pay to its creditors.
I messed up !
One month, KOMA was obliged to pay JPY6,000,000 with no receipt from obligors.
Considering about payments by the end of the month, I could not sleep unlike typical of me.
In the middle of night, I sat a bench along with a river with a canned coffee with legs shaking.
I thought of faces of president and contact person of the bankrupted client.
I repeated several thousand times "goddamn ! "
I did not get any mosquito bites even in river side covered by weeds in September.
I was supposed to express negative atmosphere as if my blood may be recognized as poison for them.
I need to pay it anyway.
Otherwise, the end of KOMA.
I got to resolve it within one month.
It got into the morning when I made this.
Friends helped me this time again.
Mr. Ueda of ATOM Livintech or other acquittances who heard about my situation bought in cash furnitures of the inventory.
I had experienced months when I need to think through how to pay, I had managed to be hang by a thread.
I really appreciate them.
I can never forget to repay them for what they have done for me.
I have returned to the starting point with zero money left in the bank.
, I had material experiences.
I have realized how valuable friends are.
Also, I have learned that there is no sustainable sweet deal, lol.
When recalled, Mr. Midorikawa has made opportunities to meet such acquaintances.
Actually, no material changes have happened.
Along with bankruptcy of the original contractors, many sub contractors went bankrupt.
However, many second subcontractors who put resources into manufacturing without spending excessive amount of money in advertises, collecting clients, and marketing or others.
It means the decline in market prices.
Prices of secondary subcontractors have been shown in the market.
The more fierce completions have happened given still smaller amount of demands.
We were not able to compete with them.
I have made up myself to pursue independent approaches.
We should take advantage of what uniquely owned by us.
We would like to do business in furnitures made from solid wood.
We should concentrate what only we can do.
We would like to sell KOMA original furnitures approach directly to end users.
In order to do that, there are many features KOMA need to be facilitated.
3 members would not be adequate.
It cannot be changed today, however, KOMA is expected to fail in the long run.
I have limited time.
Despite being able to manufacturing furnitures, KOMA did not know how to sell them.
KOMA lacks opportunities and place where KOMA is exposed to third party clients.
And there are limitations in terms of resources including expenses, time, and human resources.
One and half year had past without major opportunities although we had prepared step by step for minimal product lines, inventories.
I had become frustrated.
Mr. Midorikawa re-connect KOMA with Isetan with which KOMA has lost touch at that time.
"KOMA exhibition" was held for two weeks at the 45 square meters main stage locating the living goods floor of Isetan Shinjuku.
It was the best environment.
I had worried about the sales which might not exceed JPY3,000,000 just after the large scale earthquake on March 11.
The result was JPY4,500,000.
We can achieve anything once we set our mind to it !!
I was just happy.
After the exhibition, we had various opportunities by superior seniors across scattered industries with inspirations.
Results of them have brought other opportunities.
Again, Mr.Midorikawa has given us opportunities to meet those superior seniors.
When inducing someone.
Usually, introducers would stand as if superiors.
Mr. Midorikawa is different.
"Matsuoka, it may be troublesome from your point of view. However, I would like to come to help me. You are the only person who is able to help me."
He always has connected people and opportunities.
When it results in success, he would say "You are always great, Matsuoka ! I really appreciate you !"
He has never made me feel I owe him.
"I have nothing valuable. However, I may help something which only I can do."
Mr. Midorikawa is the representative person who lives with full understanding of what he can do and he cannot do.
He has nothing to do with special techniques or exceptional talents.
Compared with his mind, anything would appear to be ordinary.
Such kind of Mr. Midorikawa says
"I would like to work another 10 years. Because I have not been satisfied with myself."
He is too cool !
Such Mr. Midorikawa frequently visits the factory of KOMA.
Sometimes we go out for drinks.
He makes various advises to which I do not listen.
"Shut up ! Do not advise me ! lol" I say cheeky.
He kindly replied "Hahaha, that is correct ! Do what you would like to do would be the future of this industry !"
Actually, I have exactly memorized every single word what he advised me.
When my relationship with Kamei has soured,
"You are lucky man because you have friends complying each others."
When I frustrated with younger employees,
"Why do not you repeat same words again and again, which would be your study."
And then, he says
"It was pleasure to meet Matsuoka. You told me nice stories. I have learned a lot."
He goes home saying these kinds of words to me younger than his son.
I commute myself to make better furnitures in order to pass baton, he has been succeeding, to my next generations.