Events - 09.15.2021

The Secret of Sustainability
in Business | Yamamotoyama

Products by Yamamotoyama Courtesy of Yamamotoyama

09.15.2021 (Wed.)   /   09.16.2021 (Thurs.)


05:30 PM - 06:30 PM (PDT)   /    09:30 AM - 10:30 AM (JST)





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In a fast-changing world, many businesses find it challenging to plan for next quarter, let alone next decade. But in Japan, home to the world’s oldest companies, some have found a way to survive and thrive for over a century or longer. According to Research Institute for the Centennial Management, over 52,000 companies in Japan are at least a century old, many with histories spanning multiple centuries. Even after recessions, wars, natural disasters, and global pandemics, these companies have remained in business. What is the secret to their extraordinary resilience?

In this business sustainability series co-hosted by JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, in partnership with Research Institute for the Centennial Management, expert guests explore these long-term businesses to find the key to sustainability. A series of virtual webinars delves into philosophy and core values, as well as the practical strategies that have helped these companies thrive over centuries. As many principles differ from dominant business practices in the U.S., this series is a rare opportunity for all to learn from other models that elevate concerns such as the environment and community over short-term profits.
(Session 1 recording with Kikkoman U.S.A. is available here.)

As the facilitators of the series, we welcome two distinguished researchers whose focuses are the sustainable business growth: Professor Ethan Bernstein, Associate Professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at the Harvard Business School, and Professor Toshio Goto, Research Professor at the Graduate School, Japan University of Economics.

Session 2 | Yamamotoyama
Looking into the Future with the Next Leader

In this second session in the Secret of Sustainabilty in Business series, we will examine how the next generation leader of a centuries-old business is planning to lead her company to success in its next century and beyond.

As our guest speaker, we welcome Ms. Nami Yamamoto, the 11th generation of the founding family of Yamamotoyama Co., who is the expected successor CEO of this global—yet still family-owned and operated—corporation. Nami, who is currently the CEO of Yamamotoyama U.S.A., will share her stories of growing up as a “Yamamoto,” what it has been like to be a young leader in a 330-year-old company, the challenges she faces now and in the future, and the hopes she has for the company’s future—for her customers, for her employees, for herself, and for her two young children who may someday be the 12th generation of Yamamotos to lead it.

Nami will bring her favorite Yamamotoyama or Stash tea to drink during the session (come to hear what it is!)—and we encourage you to bring yours as well.

Special thanks to Ms. Kikka Hanazawa, Board Chair of Fashion Girls for Humanity and CEO of VPL.

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Guest Speaker

Nami Yamamoto  

Nami Yamamoto
Nami Yamamoto serves as Chief Executive Officer of Yamamotoya U.S.A., the North American operations of Yamamotoyama. Founded in 1690, Nami represents the 11th generation of the family-owned and operated business, which is the oldest tea company and one of the largest seaweed companies, serving retail and foodservice worldwide.


Prof. Bernstein headshot  

Ethan Bernstein
Ethan Bernstein (@ethanbernstein) is the Edward W. Conard Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at the Harvard Business School. He teaches the second-year MBA course in Managing Human Capital, the Harvard Business School Online course on Developing Yourself as a Leader, and various executive education programs.

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Prof. Goto headshot  

Toshio Goto
Toshio Goto is Representative Director at Research Institute for Centennial Management and Research Professor at Graduate School of Management, Japan University of Economics. Born in 1942, after graduating Tokyo University (Faculty of Economics), Professor Goto started his professional career at NEC Corporation. In 1974 he obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Co-hosted by

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