This time, Inamori* spoke about the above motto in Kyocera philosophy.

What Inamori said is quoted with “”.


“ Among many materials, some are flammable, non-combustible, and others are self-combustible. Types of humans can be categorized similarly: those who are flammable, those who start to burn up when brought close to fire, or those who are non-flammable, never catching fire even when they are brought close to fire. Those who want to accomplish something great must be naturally born to be self-combustible, which means spontaneously bursting into flames. People who want to accomplish something must have a burning passion.

For instance, in high school baseball, young guys who truly love baseball train together as one to practice energetically, aiming for the big nationwide tournament of Koshien. Looking at those youth may enable you to feel the enormous possibilities for the future and a lot of energy. I believe that our humans’ default set up is “self-combustible”. In order to be self-motivated, you need to love what you do and at the same time have a clear goal. ”

“The success of a company is determined by how many people in the company are enthusiastic, there are groups of enthusiastic people elsewhere, that company will grow very much and become resilient. Therefore, how do you create those passionate people? This is the key to drive your company to success.” said Mr. Inamori.

He said that there are three secrets to creating a self-combusting person.


1 Competitive and proactive staff

2 Mission and responsibility

3 Open mind and optimistic staff



Let me explain one by one.


1 Competitive and proactive staff

“`People who are self-motivated are not people who do their work because someone tells them to do so, or because they are ordered to do so, but people who are proactive and always get prepared for the next steps.

When you want to hire someone, look at his/her personality, you should find him/her something strong willed, competitive, and proactive in everything he/she does.

If you love your work, you’ll be completely passionate toward it, so if possible, hire people with passion and encourage them to love their work.”

→ When I was in my twenties, my boss told me that I was strong willed and very competitive. Thinking back on it now, I always had this mindset of “I must be superior to others, no one can look down upon me.”

I think people who are strong-willed tend to stick to their own ideas, are somehow stubborn, have a lot of pride, and are unable to open their minds to others. I think I must put aside these prides and obsessions, and I must be humble, honest and open minded. With such a mindset, I think I must interact with the staff to encourage them to follow.


2 Mission and responsibility

” It’s about instilling responsibilities and missions. I think all the business leaders who are studying here Seiwajuku workshop are naturally self-combustible. The moment they took over the business from their parents, they started thinking about how to run their own company. Many people feel a sense of duty and responsibility to protect employees, and this sense of responsibility is what fuels their enthusiasm.

One way to create a self-combustible staff is to hire a competitive and proactive person. Another way is to train a person with a sense of responsibility. Especially for those who are less competitive and reserved but honest and diligent, have them responsibility and mission towards subordinates by putting them into sectoral managers’ positions. When they are told `As the person in charge, you will protect this department.’, they would change their attitude and become self-combustible leaders. “

→ That really makes sense. Even if they are reserved and passive, if they feel that they must do something for their subordinates, they would demonstrate their true potential.

They have, for sure, worked hard to learn their jobs, they are the best instructors to train their subordinates. We, business leaders, must encourage them and motivate them so that they can enjoy managerial positions.


3 Open mind and optimistic staff

“`Actually, in order to work on the project, it is important to think optimistically. `If possible, I would like to recruit people who are positive yes-men types. They are those who have graduated from lower graded universities and have been doing a lot of sports instead of studying.

While talking our vision to them, we would comfortably develop our ideas. Even if those guys are not very smart, as long as they are cheerful, we, top leaders, can expand our imagination surrounded by those yes-men. Thus, I feel they were necessary.”

→ By having these cheerful and optimistic people first take on challenges, experience failure, and acquire compassion, prudence, and analytical skills, they will become self-combustible leaders. I believe that as long as they have a cheerful and optimistic attitude, they will recover quickly even if they fail, and they keep challenges.

Mr. Inamori never blamed his employees even when their actions for the benefit of their colleagues ended in failure. While I myself am changing, I would like the staff to adopt a bright and optimistic attitude.


So, to summarize, in order to create the self-compassionate people that small and medium-sized businesses need, it is necessary to hire proactive and competitive people and have them love their work, and to give quiet staff a sense of responsibility and mission. As I change, I may also have to encourage my staff to be self-combustible.



* Mr. Kazuo Inamori, the founder of Kyocera, KDDI (one of the top tele communication companies in Japan) and the top of revitalization project of JAL. As a well-known Japanese entrepreneur, he has been sharing his experiences and management know-how with managements of small to middle companies in Japan.


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