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Introduction


1881 Teijiro Inoue was born.
1895 Inoue started to work as an apprentice at a merchant's store in Kobe.
1909 Inoue returned from his 14-year-long vagabond life.

Founder Teijiro Inoue
Founder Teijiro Inoue


Teijiro Inoue was born to a farmer's family in the suburbs of Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture in 1881. After graduating from a higher elementary school, he decided that he wanted to learn about business and become a great man, and started to work as an apprentice boy at a merchant's store in Kobe. He was always frustrated in his ambition, however. During the 14-year period until he started manufacturing corrugated board, he changed jobs more than 30 times. Businesses for which he worked included a Western-paper store, shipping agency, typographer, Chinese restaurant (Heichinro in Yokohama), bathhouse, liquor shop, bakery, barbershop, sugar seller, tailor's shop, timber merchant, board wholesaler and coal dealer. In this interval, he moved from Kobe to Yokohama, Osaka and Kyoto and went over to Korea and even extended his travel to Manchuria (current northeastern China). Although he had the lofty ambition of attaining success in a new world, he ended up earning a daily cash income as a day laborer every time he took on a new job. Later, he moved from Dalian to Shanghai and then to Hong Kong but was always penniless. With his dream shattered, he could not help but return to Japan.

Upon his return in 1909, he visited Ueno Park in Tokyo where cherry blossoms were in full bloom. He suddenly stopped beneath a cherry tree and said to himself, "I left my home country in order to learn about business and become a great man, but I did not succeed and the result now is my miserable life. What a wasteful life I have spent! But wait. There is still life left. I will start from scratch again. I will try to become an independent self-employed businessman." It was on April 12 that he made up his mind to start a new life, and later he made this date the day of foundation for his company. This was how the day of foundation for his company was decided in an unusual and unprecedented way.