Corporate Philosophy Chapter2
TDK Code of Conduct
(Corporate Standards of Business Conduct) Column TDK Charter of Corporate Behavior
Founding of TDK
In 1930, at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Drs. Yogoro Kato and Takeshi Takei invented “Ferrite”, a magnetic ceramic compound containing oxides of iron and other materials. Dr Kato’s statement that “innovative work is the source of true industry,” inspired Kenzo Saito to found TDK Corporation (originally known as Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K.) on December 7, 1935, with the purpose of marketing this original material invented in Japan.
At the time, as it was yet unclear whether “ferrite” would have a future or not, this act demanded “courage” and the will to pursue a “vision”. As a result of joint research by the Tokyo Institute of Technology and TDK, a product called “ferrite core” was produced and applied for the first time worldwide in 1937 in a number of Japanese wireless communication units and radios. By the end of the World War II, as many as 5 million units had been shipped by TDK, thereby creating a foundation of trust in the company. The spirit of creating entirely new products of value from the fundamental level of a material has defined TDK from the beginning and is still a trait that sets the company apart. It is also reflected in the Corporate Motto formulated in June 1967: “Contribute to culture and industry through creativity.
The TDK Group promotes globalization for the purpose of strengthening its ability to deal with its customers and to develop technologies/products. In addition, the TDK Group, which respects the individuality of each employee, strives to secure and educate people from various backgrounds regardless of their nationality, gender, creed, and social status.
It is also essential to share the same organizational culture, such as ideas, behavior, and a sense of value of other members within the same organization in order to work at an organization. An organization's culture can function as the pivot that links the organization and individuals together, and also as a source of corporate competitiveness.
The TDK Group consists of TDK and a number of consolidated subsidiaries. Among the various organizations and their cultures within the TDK Group, TDK’s Corporate Motto and Corporate Principles are the most important things.
Thus, whenever TDK Members engage in their work, they are required to keep in mind TDK’s Corporate Motto and TDK Value, as the common corporate culture of the TDK Group, and to strive to implement the same. Specifically, TDK Members must embody the spirit of
"ONE TDK" ; they are required to: (i) always think and act as a member of the TDK Group; (ii) unite, as necessary, by breaking barriers between organizations or divisions; and (iii) continue to attempt to create new value for the benefit of customers and, further, for the purpose of making a better society.
TDK: Born from Angora Rabbits
Prior to founding TDK, TDK’s first president Kenzo Saito tried various businesses; failing many times in his effort to realize his dream to improve things in the impoverished farming town where he was born in Akita, Japan. Winter is especially harsh in Akita, and because there was no industry besides agriculture, the local people were forced to live a hard subsistence existence. It always seemed like being on the verge of life and death. His desire to help change this sad reality was the real momentum that drove him to try and succeed at any cost.
An Angora fur business was one of Saito’s many early endeavors. However, this business did not go smoothly and he was unable to find any customers. Determined to find a way, Saito grabbed a few Angora fur samples and jumped on the night train to Tokyo. He wanted to meet directly with the President of Kanegafuchi Spinning Company, which was a leading business in the textile industry. Despite having no prior appointment, he was granted three minutes with company President Shingo Tsuda. And so impressed was he with Saito’s fervent explanation regarding the merits of Angora fur that an hour passed before Tsuda noticed the time. Then, he accepted Saito’s business proposal, pledging additional funds for the business.
In the end, the Angora fur business failed. However, Tsuda was greatly impressed by Saito’s passion and commitment to his ideals. Later, Tsuda would provide a large amount of money to help Saito start TDK in what was a difficult time because he believed in Saito’s possibility as entrepreneur.
If not for the meeting between Tsuda and Saito through Saito’s Angora fur business, today’s TDK would not exist. Saito later recalled, "A person can make their business into a success by working with a strong sense of social values and with the dedication to never give up no matter what obstacles they may face."
Indigenous to the region of Angora in Turkey (from which the capital of the country Ankara derives its name) the fur has been improved through breeding in England and France. The rabbits have a long, soft coat, from which about 500g of fur can be gathered by sheering 3 to 5 times a year. Since the fur is both light weight and highly heat retaining, it is used for highquality fabrics and knitting wool.