- Kazuo Inamori
San Diego State University
Visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr. Kazuo Inamori has advanced the Japanese ceramics and telecommunications industries while developing a unique management style based on personal improvement and commitment to the greater good.
Not only has Dr. Inamori led his companies to success; he has also wrested market share from larger and more established competitors. Each of his corporations—now known as Kyocera Corp., and KDDI Corp.—grew to trillion yen enterprises with a global reputation for innovation and leadership.
He graduated from Kagoshima University in 1955 with a degree in engineering. Joining a small insulator manufacturer, he helped create products in the new field of special ceramics. At the age of 27, Dr. Inamori established Kyoto Ceramic Company (Kyocera), which generated sales of 26 million yen and operating income of 3.2 million yen during its first year. In developing the ceramics that enabled containment of the high voltage required for TV, Kyocera played a major role in bringing the television production industry from the U.S. to Japan.
While leading Kyocera, Dr. Inamori also developed an organizational structure for promoting full-participation management in the success of the company. The Kyocera Philosophy is based on improving oneself, learning from elders and seeking a higher purpose in life. In combination with innovative product design and efficient manufacturing, the Kyocera Philosophy carried the company through five successful decades of diversification, globalization and acquisition.
Twenty five years after he established Kyocera—in the midst of the deregulation of Japan's telecommunications industry—Dr. Inamori created DDI (later KDDI). Initially, it was the smallest of three competitors to challenge the giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., but within three years, KDDI became the only viable alternative long-distance provider in Japan.
In 1984, Dr. Inamori made a personal endowment to establish the nonprofit Inamori Foundation. He also created the Kyoto Prize, an international award presented by the Inamori Foundation each year to individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the betterment of the global community. The prize is presented in three categories: advanced technology, basic sciences, and arts and philosophy. Since 2004, the winner of the advanced technology award has lectured as part of an awards ceremony at San Diego State University.
In recognition of his business acumen, exemplary leadership and philanthropic activity, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer on Dr. Kazuo Inamori the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.