July 28, 2009,09:01 +0900(JST) Completion of new company dormitories
At Sumitomo Electric, we approach personnel education from a long-term perspective, believing that human resources are the source of corporate competitiveness. Accordingly, we make maximum efforts towards training our young employees who will lead the company's future, including providing them with a good living environment so that they can devote themselves fully to their work with a sense of peace and security. Recently, four new dormitories for our young employees have been completed in Osaka, Itami, Takarazuka and Utsunomiya.
We had made the bold decision to have these dormitories built for the growth and development of future generations. These facilities will mainly accommodate female employees whose number is expected to increase in the future, technical employees who are indispensable for sustaining the company's manufacturing abilities and their accumulation and transmission, and trainees from outside Japan who are also expected to increase amid growing globalization. The timing was also good for this decision: existing dormitories built during the period of Japan's rapid economic growth were already in deteriorated condition and required the rebuilding. The other day I visited the brand-new dormitories in Osaka, Itami and Takarazuka. So I'd like to tell you about them here.
The conceptual slogans of the new dormitories are "Refreshing & Communicative," "Green & Clean," "Open & Secure" and "Diversity & Privacy." The results of all the intensive planning and hard work by those concerned were so remarkable that I even felt sorry for older employees who can't live in them. As these slogans suggest, our new dormitories feature a good balance of private and common spaces, green spots, high-level security systems, women-only areas and special arrangements in consideration of overseas trainees with different daily customs.
Personally, I find the dormitory in Itami particularly attractive. It is located next to Sumitomo Multi-purpose Sports Field, with a commanding view of Koya Pond from its windows. I recall nostalgically how I used to jog around the pond every day when I was working at Itami Works. In such an ideal living environment, I think I could live here (the people there may not like having me around, though...).
It was a very long time ago that I lived in the dormitory for single men. Yet, I still see my former fellow dormitory residents with whom I had meals and enjoyed drinks together. Moreover, personal ties I developed while living in the dormitory have proven useful for pursuing my work on several occasions.
Now that we have a dormitory for women, applicable female employees will live there at least during their first year at the company. I hope that living under the same roof with other Sumitomo Electric employees will enable them to interact actively with those from the same and other classes regardless of their ages, years of service and working divisions so as to expand their networks and improve their interpersonal skills.
The dormitory in Osaka is called Koki Ryo. The two Chinese characters for Ko and Ki are taken from the phrase "Kozen-no-ki" found in “Mencius (Meng Tzu),” the first volume of the collection of dialogues between the Chinese philosopher Mencius (372-289 B.C.) and one of his disciples, Gongsun Chou. The phrase signifies spiritual tranquility, generosity and strength undisturbed by circumstances. This name was originally conceived by Mr. Genichiro Shikata, who used to be Sumitomo Electric's human resources manager and who passed away while serving as director. This name has been given a new life after being unused for a while as the number of company dormitories has diminished. The calligraphy of the name in the photo below is mine. I do hope that living in this dormitory will somehow inspire its young residents to cultivate kozen-no-ki in themselves.