Kazuo Inamori to Receive 2011 Othmer Gold Medal at 10th Annual Heritage Day
December 16, 2010 - Philadelphia
Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, will receive the 2011 Othmer Gold Medal at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) on April 8. The Othmer Gold Medal presentation will be the premier event of CHF’s 10th annual Heritage Day.
“Entrepreneur, inventor, management innovator, philanthropist, Kazuo Inamori’s career shows how one determined and talented individual can improve the lives of millions,” said Thomas R. Tritton, president and CEO of CHF. “His life and many accomplishments combine greatness, vision, and the attention to detail with care for individuals and high ethical standards that show his unique genius. His most recent accomplishment, as he nears his 80th birthday, is rescuing Japan Airlines (JAL).”
Born in 1932 in Kagoshima, Japan, Inamori earned a bachelor of engineering degree in chemistry from Kagoshima University in 1955. Soon after graduation he developed a forsterite ceramic that had high-frequency insulation characteristics needed for television tubes. He successfully synthesized the material then devised a system for mass producing this product, using an electric tunnel kiln he developed.
He established Kyoto Ceramic Co., Ltd (later renamed Kyocera Corporation), in 1959. There he developed a layered ceramic package to protect integrated circuits. The success of this product led to orders from semiconductor companies, including Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Texas Instruments, Motorola, and National Semiconductor.
In 1984 he founded the telecommunications firm DDI Corporation (now KDDI Corporation) and was appointed chairman of its board. In 1985 he became chairman of the Board of Kyocera. In 1997 he resigned from these chairmanships to become chairman emeritus of both Kyocera and DDI. In 2001 he was appointed to honorary adviser of KDDI.
His philanthropic work in both America and Japan includes the establishment, in 1984, of the Inamori Foundation, which awards the Kyoto Prize.
In 2010, at 78 years old, Inamori entered the airline business as chairman of JAL. At that time, the troubled global carrier was the biggest bankruptcy in the history of Japan, but under Inamori’s leadership, it has made important strides toward stability. Inamori’s bold strategy for the company included changing the culture of the airline, beginning with introducing into JAL, his own highly regarded management philosophy and the Amoeba Management System, which are so successful at Kyocera.
His volunteer service includes leading Seiwajyuku, a private management school operating in 62 locations, 9 of which are outside of Japan. As president of Seiwajyuku, Inamori teaches his management philosophy to more than 6,200 business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide.
In addition to his success in business, he has received awards, honorary degrees, and other honors in 9 countries on 4 continents (the United States, Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, China, and Japan).
About the Othmer Gold Medal
The Chemical Heritage Foundation established the Othmer Gold Medal in 1997 to honor outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public understanding, legislation, or philanthropy. Previous honorees are John D. Baldeschwieler, Arnold O. Beckman, Ronald C. D. Breslow, Thomas Cech, Carl Djerassi, Mary Lowe Good, George S. Hammond, Jon M. Huntsman, Ralph Landau, Robert S. Langer, Yuan T. Lee, Gordon E. Moore, P. Roy Vagelos, James D. Watson, George Whitesides, and Ahmed Zewail.
The medal is presented annually and cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Chemists' Club, and the Société de Chimie Industrielle. The medal commemorates Donald Othmer (1904–1995), noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.
About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) fosters an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society. An independent nonprofit organization, CHF strives to:
• Inspire a passion for chemistry;
• Highlight chemistry’s role in meeting current social challenges; and
• Preserve the story of chemistry and its technologies and industries across centuries.
CHF maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books. The Foundation hosts conferences and lectures, support research, offer fellowships, and produce educational materials. Its museum and public programs explore subjects ranging from alchemy to nanotechnology.
For more information, please visit www.chemheritage.org.