Mar 28, 2016

Solutions for a Better Future / Feature Story

Products & Solutions

Konosuke Matsushita Today in History April 3

Eighty-two years ago, on April 3, 1934, Matsushita Electric opened a staff training school. Young boys who had just finished elementary school would learn here over three years the basics of work and of electronics, and the mental preparation required for adult members of society, enabling them to go straight into work after graduation.

Photo: Members of the inaugural class of the staff training school in class


Left: The Staff Training School was located inside the Kadoma headquarters.
Right: Textbook used by the inaugural class

In 1922, our company built its first headquarters and factory in Ohiraki-cho, Osaka City. Konosuke Matsushita had only just begun his business and was thinking about helping to foster the sort of good workers he wanted to employ. He spoke to his doctor and close confidant, Eisuke Koba, about his dream of "putting into practice the combination of business management and school management into one to integrate manufacturing and education together, to foster people who will in the near future become managers while at the same time running this business."

This dream was at last realized twelve years later. The Staff Training School was opened in Kadoma, Osaka, where the company's new headquarters and factories had been established in 1934. A pamphlet handed out at that time expresses the high level of determination and high hopes that Konosuke had in undertaking the education of youth when he opened this school, his long-cherished aim.

"Actual business management is not something that can be perfectly acquired through schooling; I believe it is vital to cultivate management abilities to realize fully-rounded human resources through practical education based on spiritual instruction while people are young and still have powerful sensibilities. Accordingly, it is my belief that the schooling to ensure the creation of people able to live constantly by their convictions, and the cultivation of human resources upon whose shoulders will rest success or failure in business, people who are able to boldly go forth into the frontlines of industry, is a crucial matter not only for this school, but in actual fact contributes in part to the fostering of industrialists in Japan as a whole."

The Staff Training School was established with the aim of imparting social discipline and fostering workers able to immediately take up work after their graduation, teaching the commercial and industrial courses of the old five-year junior high school curriculum within three years. The school took up approximately 1,000 square meters and its construction cost 150,000 yen, equivalent to 4% of annual sales at that time. Though this was a burden on the company, Konosuke Matsushita explained later that his thinking was that "If I really expected true growth of practical abilities to realize a noble mission for the far future, I must be firmly determined not to spare expenses."


Practical training in the wireless research section

Having inaugurated the Staff Training School on these principles, Konosuke taught himself at the school once a week, carefully imparting to the students his ways of thinking and views of life. Three years later, in 1937, the Engineer Training School was also established to specialize in fostering engineers. The reason behind this rapid development of a training environment was the meteoric rise in the number of employees driven by the sudden expansion of the production. It was absolutely crucial to the company that the constant influx of new employees be instructed correctly to bring forth the best of each person's abilities to enhance the company's capacity.

The Staff Training School produced a great many management executives who supported the rise of Matsushita Electric, including Hiroji Aonuma from the inaugural class, who worked as the president of Kyushu Matsushita Electric Co., Ltd. A former student at the school recalls a speech by Konosuke Matsushita at the graduation ceremony thus:


They also learned kendo (sword-fighting) and judo to train their bodies and minds.

Konosuke Matsushita said this to us when we graduated.

"By rights, after graduating from this school, you should all join Matsushita Electric. However, I do not wish to force you to do so. Those who wish to go to another school after leaving here are free to do so. The same goes for those wishing to join another company. That is your own free choice. Yet, if you wish to, I would welcome you to join Matsushita Electric."

Having invested both his best intention and his own resources into teaching us, he will not stop our graduates from leaving to go somewhere else. Even if we do go to another school or company, his wishes as the founder of this company will still not have gone to waste. If someone, having imbibed the vision of this school puts that to work at another place, then this is yet undeniably a plus for the world as a whole. That was the strength of his belief in what he was doing.
(From the special 90th anniversary exhibition of the Konosuke Matsushita Museum in 2008, "What Does a Company Exist For?")

Various events were developed at Matsushita Electric at the time the Staff Training School was set up, in order to ensure all employees shared a common mindset.


Left: The winning team in the nationwide in-company baseball league along with Konosuke Matsushita (center, on the right with bare head)
Top Right: First shipment "HATSUNI" ceremony started to help dispel the depression. The ceremonies were held in China and Taiwan as well as Japan.
Bottom Right: Sports tournament held at Tennoji Park in Osaka

The Staff Training School changed its functions and its structure with the times, playing a vital role in developing human resources for Panasonic. The Vietnam Panasonic Institute of Manufacturing and the Institute of Manufacturing Technology China established in 2009 are a continuation of this. Even in these modern times, Panasonic is committed to achieve further growth as a company by inheriting Konosuke Matsushita's vision to improve education and work.


Students learning at the Vietnam Panasonic Institute of Manufacturing (from the July 2009 issue of the pana monthly in-house magazine)

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