Kazuo Inamori
稲盛 和夫
Kazuo Inamori 2011 Heritage Day HD2011-71.JPG
Inamori in 2011
Born (1932-01-30) January 30, 1932 (age 90)
Alma materKagoshima University
AwardsOthmer Gold Medal
Scientific career
FieldsEngineering, Chemistry, Philanthropy, Management
External video
video icon Kazuo Inamori: A Conversation on Business Innovation and Philosophy (with English translation audio) , UC Berkeley
The Inamori Center on Kyushu University Ito campus
The Inamori Center on Kyushu University Ito campus
Kazuo Inamori (right) at the Crowne Plaza Cabana, in Palo Alto, CA
Kazuo Inamori (right) at the Crowne Plaza Cabana, in Palo Alto, CA

Kazuo Inamori, KBE (稲盛 和夫, Inamori Kazuo, born January 30, 1932) is a Japanese philanthropist, entrepreneur and the founder of Kyocera and KDDI. He was the chairman of Japan Airlines.

Inamori was elected as a member into the National Academy of Engineering in 2000 for innovation in ceramic materials and solar cell development/manufacturing, entrepreneurship of advanced technologies, and for being a role model for relating science to society.

In 2011, he received the Othmer Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to progress in science and chemistry.[1][2]


Kazuo Inamori was born January 30, 1932 in Kagoshima, on the island of Kyushu in Japan.[3] Inamori graduated from Kagoshima University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in applied chemistry.[1] He became a researcher at Shofu Industries in Kyoto, Japan.[3] There he was important in several developments, developing fosterite as an insulator for high frequency radio waves; using fosterite for the mass production of high frequency insulator components; and developing an electric tunnel kiln for use in sintering.[3]

In 1959, Inamori and several other colleagues established Kyoto Ceramic, later known as Kyocera. The company manufactured high-frequency insulator components for television picture tubes for Matsushita Electronics Industries (later Panasonic) in Japan, and silicon transistor headers for Fairchild Semiconductor and ceramic substrates for IBM in the United States.[3] At Kyocera, Inamori implemented his Amoeba Management system.[4]

After deregulation of Japan’s telecommunications industry in 1984, Inamori founded Daini Denden (DDI) Corporation. DDI later entered the cell phone business, merging with KDD (Kokusai Denshin Denwa) and IDO (Nippon Idou Tsushin Corporation in 2000 to form KDDI, which has grown to become Japan's second-largest telecommunication services provider.[3]

At the age of 77, Inamori became the CEO of Japan Airlines when it entered bankruptcy protection on January 19, 2010, and led the air carrier through its restructuring, eventually allowing the company to re-list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in November 2012.[5] Inamori has been an International Advisor of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.[6]


Inamori, who is a Zen Buddhist priest,[7] established the Inamori Foundation in 1984, which awards the annual Kyoto Prize to honor those who have made "extraordinary contributions to science, civilization, and the spirituality of humankind."[3]

In 2005, the Alfred University School of Engineering (Alfred, NY) was renamed in honor of Dr. Inamori. He endowed the Inamori Scholarship fund in 1996, doubling the fund in 2004. In Dr. Inamori's honor, the Kyocera Corporation has given a $10 million endowment to enable expansion of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering's research faculty.

In 2005, Inamori helped to establish the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio), with a gift of $10 million. The center awards the Inamori Ethics Prize to those who serve as examples of ethical leadership and make significant contributions to the betterment of global society.[3][7]

Awards and honors

Inamori has received many awards and honors, including:


  1. ^ a b c "Kazuo Inamori to Receive 2011 Othmer Gold Medal at 10th Annual Heritage Day". December 16, 2010. PR Newswire. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Othmer Gold Medal". Science History Institute. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tritton, Thomas R. (April 19, 2010). Interview with Kazuo Inamori, Transcript of an Interview Conducted by Thomas R. Tritton at Kyocera International, Inc., San Diego, California and Hotel Nikko Princess, Kyoto, Japan on 19 April and 13 November 2010 (PDF). Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation.
  4. ^ Cooper, Robin (August 25, 1994). "Case Study: Kyocera Corp.: The Amoeba Management System". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  5. ^ "JAL, Delta reach basic deal over comprehensive tie-up". The Yomiuri Shimbun. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
  6. ^ "Kazuo Inamori". Businessweek. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Sams, Tonya (September 6, 2012). "CWRU's Inamori International Center gets $1 million, honors environmentalist David Suzuki". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2019".