A booming voice rang over the auction block and draws the keen observant eyes of middlemen at 7 o'clock in the morning at the Port of Yanai. The voice belonged to Fujima, who showed up at the headquarters in a sophisticated suit two hours later. The transformation is astounding.

 

The fish market is the home ground of the Fujima Group. Fujima's grandfather was a skilled fisherman known throughout the countryside, and his family peddled the catch. Fujima's father set up a wholesale market after the Second World War. During his years at Yanai Junior High School and the newly organized Yanai High School, Fujima's day always started early, helping with the family business. With no spare time on his hands, Fujima was forced to continue working—he resented his father for even trying to put family business before his attending the graduation ceremony. Nonetheless, after graduating, Fujima resolved on inheriting the fish dealing business and entertained high hopes to become a big businessman. Devoting himself in extensive studies of trading, he forged ahead to grow his business. His life-changing turning point came with the start-up of the restaurant business, which was a new venture for him. Fujima's business expanded from catering to opening up wedding centers and then restaurants.

 

The path from fishmonger to magnate was far from smooth, and was littered with shoals and reefs: Competitors entering the business immediately before start of a major project, resignation of executives en masse, destruction of popular restaurants by typhoons, just to name a few adversities. It was his wife's support that allowed the business owner—with the employees' and their families' lives on his shoulders—to overcome the numerous hardships. For the twelve years since the passing of his hard-working wife, it has been Fujima's routine to talk to her portrait placed on the family altar in the morning.

 

Fujima, respecting his father's service as a commissioned welfare volunteer, spares no effort in contributing to the local community and spends his days actively striving for the greater common good for the member enterprises and residents as President of the Yanai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

 

During his years as the Chairperson of Yanai City Athletic Association, Fujima committed himself to the construction of the martial arts gymnasium,
which fulfills shelter functions in the event of a major disaster.
The large calligraphy on the wall that reads Michi, meaning "the road" or "the way," is written by Fujima, who is also a calligrapher.

 

 

 

Isao Fujima

Born 1931 in Yanai City. In 1951, became senior managing director of Fujima Suisan LLC. In 1992, acceded to the presidency of the Yanai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1996, awarded the Medal with Blue Ribbon. In 1999, became Chairperson of the Fujima Group while his eldest son Ichizo Fujima took over the presidency.
Cooperation: The Yanai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Yanai City Budokan

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)