Click here to see the article of Vol. 4: “Memories of Mr. Idei vol.4: A wild drive to launch “Bit” division”
Dinner with Mr. Idei
While I was busy working on the launch of the “Bit” division, I had the pleasure of attending several dinners with Mr. Idei, the order of which is a bit hazy as it was more than 10 years ago, but I recall that I was present on three occasions.
- Chinese restaurant “Chugoku Hanten” in Roppongi
- Mr. Idei’s home
- Roppongi Hills Club restaurant
Basically, the shareholders were the main attendees at the dinner, and I was present to take notes. Also, Mr. YOSHIKI kindly invited me to the X JAPAN concert, and I watched the live performance with Mr. Idei. I had the opportunity to speak directly with Mr. Idei at many of the dinners, so I would like to look back a little on those occasions from my perspective at the time.
At the Chinese restaurant “Chugoku Hanten” in Roppongi
At the first dinner at the Chinese restaurant in Roppongi, Ken Okuyama, who was unable to attend the shareholders’ meeting, was present for the first time. Unfortunately, Mr. YOSHIKI, who had been a mood maker at the shareholders’ meeting, was unable to attend, but I believe that Mr. Idei, Mr. Ken Okuyama, Mr. Isayama, and Mr. Tsujino were able to attend.
My impression at the time was that executives dine at places like this! and I really only had the impression of a countryman. I don’t remember what I ate at all, so I think I was nervous from start to finish. I don’t remember what I ate at all, so I think I was nervous from start to finish. I didn’t have time to interject, but I still remember the only thing I could say.
I remember that it was the time of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration, and the topic of discussion was the changes from the LDP era, and they were talking about how to educate IT literacy. Ken Okuyama was probably being thoughtful and asked me, “What do young people think about it? To be honest, I don’t remember what I answered, but I remember thinking how kind he was, and at the same time I was nervous because I felt as if Mr. Idei and others were judging my opinion.
Dinner at Mr. Idei’s home
The second dinner took place about a month later. This may not have been a shareholders’ meeting.
When I visited his home, I believe there were SONY alumni in attendance, including a person who was with Softbank at the time and was in charge of the development of the VX video camera. I was a member of a film production club when I was a student, so I was deeply moved to think that this person had created the VX camera. He was laughing and saying that the adult video industry has changed drastically thanks to the VX, but thanks to this camcorder, many independent films were made and popular TV programs such as “Wednesday Night Live” and “Denpa Shonen! It would not be an exaggeration to say that this video camera has helped to produce many independent films and popular TV programs such as “Wednesday How’s It Going?
When I visited Mr. Idei at his home, the first thing I saw was an entrepreneur around 30 years old eagerly consulting with him in a reception room-like area of his home. I remember being impressed by the fact that he spared no time to give advice to young business owners, even inviting them to his home. I was also very stimulated by the fact that the entrepreneur, who was around 30 years old, was in the marketing-related business field.
We then went to the audio room in the basement, where we talked over sandwiches and other snacks. The room was about the size of a classroom and was filled with SONY products, including projectors, audio equipment, and of course, everything from Blu-ray movies to software. It was spectacular. Around his desk were posters of Mr. Ibuka and Mr. Morita, probably made in the U.S., and he seemed to have a great deal of respect for them.
I don’t know what we talked about, but I remember a huge screen playing a film introducing X JAPAN to the ex-SONY people, and for some reason we all watched a commercial for “Iichiko” for a long time. Was he an outside director or something? Then I learned that Mr. Morita’s family is a sake brewer who produces “Ne-no-hi”.
I think it was a Monday or Tuesday, but the previous Saturday or Sunday, Mr. Idei spoke at an event hosted by Shizuoka Bank, and there was sake in appreciation for the event.
Live performance of X JAPAN at Nissan Stadium
Perhaps it was after the second dinner, but at the invitation of Mr. YOSHIKI, all of us involved in the startup went to see X JAPAN LIVE at Nissan Stadium. It was a very strange feeling, because I was in a place that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, watching the live performance from a private room in the invitation seating area.
Mr. Idei seemed to enjoy watching everyone and the live performance from start to finish, and sometimes he happily showed everyone pictures of his cell phone, saying, “This is YOSHIKI’s XXX,” and showing his cell phone to us. I remember thinking that although he always had a keen eye, he also had a lot of mischievousness.
After the concert, YOSHIKI and the other members of the band came to greet the audience. I well remember the scene where YOSHIKI’s mother was calling out happily, “Mr. Idei, Mr. Idei!
I heard that YOSHIKI’s mother passed away just the other day. Time flies by so fast, and I really feel indescribably sad.
At Roppongi Hills Club
I think our third dinner was after the shareholder meeting at Parkside Six. It was a time when this startup was at a bit of a standstill, with conversations with various content holders going forward but not getting a good response.
Mr. Idei reigned supreme as a shareholder, and Mr. Tsujino was the execution arm, moving the business forward while carrying the burden of me. I imagine the pressure on Mr. Tsujino must have been very heavy, but his back was really cool as he kept moving forward with a strong will.
When the atmosphere became heavy, Mr. Tsujino said to lighten the mood, “Why don’t you just do it before you think about it? He has made his own independent record from scratch and sold 400,000 copies, so his persuasive power was unparalleled. At the shareholders’ meeting, contrary to his image, YOSHIKI was always the mood maker, and he helped me every time.
After the meeting, we headed to the Roppongi Hills Club restaurant.
By this time, my nervousness had eased a bit, and I was able to try to broach the subject on my own, thinking that I would speak up at least a few words since it was rare for me to be present in the presence of Mr. Idei and Mr. YOSHIKI. However, I was unable to land on a specific point, and I was left with the strong impression that Mr. Idei said, “What is it? It was my best effort to start the conversation, but I was still too nervous and had too little to draw out. The “nanda” may sound negative at first glance, but for me it was a “nanda” because Mr. Idei listened to me carefully.
What is Mr. Idei to me?
I myself do not know the details of the background, but after that, the startup effectively became Mr. Tsujino’s company, and we made a major change in direction. So that dinner was probably the last time I had contact with Mr. Idei. We will talk about what happened after that at some other time….
Looking back, I think Mr. Idei was in his 70s at the time, and I thought it was really cool that at his age he was enthusiastically giving various advice to the younger generation. I think there was a lot of praise and criticism of Mr. Idei during his time at SONY, but he seemed to me to be the kind of person that I would like to become when I get older. It is difficult to find someone close to me whom I would like to become such an adult, but that may be because I saw someone like Mr. Idei up close and personal when I was young.
As for your experience at SONY, to be honest, the industry and the time period are so different that it would be difficult to try to imitate you now, so it would be difficult to compare myself with you today.
However, I think it is not impossible to try to imitate him in one’s own way on one’s own ground, and now that he has passed away, I think it is something that those of us who were in close contact with Mr. Idei must try to do. Depending on one’s point of view, one might say that my own experience to date has been, in a sense, on the cutting edge.
As I get older, I think that I may have a lot to teach the younger generation, every time I come into contact with them in my work. I hope that I can pass on the baton that I received from Mr. Idei to the next generation in my own way.
It is truly a treasure for me to have had the opportunity to be in close contact with Mr. Idei when I was that young and impressionable. And thank you so much for the many valuable experiences you gave me. At the time, I was really not good enough and could not do anything, but I would like to return the favor by passing on my experiences to the next generation. Once again, thank you very much. I pray from the bottom of my heart that you may rest in peace.