KAI FACT magazine
FACT  No.06

KAI’s biggest crisis
How did Saijiro overcome it?

 In 1951, lightweight convenient long-bladed razors were launched, sold very well, and Saijiro II was called the Razor King. His life was soaring. He got married to Seki City’s Miss Seki and had exceedingly smooth sailing in both his business and private life. He developed the KAI brand T-shaped razor in 1962. He was honored to receive a medal with a blue ribbon in 1963 in recognition of his achievements in razor production.

 However, backstage, in contrast to such glorious development, there was a major predicament in 1964 which is not widely known about and Saijiro described it as the most critical moment of his life.

 Because of the KAI group's rapid growth, its production section, Sanwa Blades, was having precarious day-to-day management. Saijiro worried about this situation, and brought his younger brother into management to improve the old small factory structure. His younger brother’s relationship with the vice president and other board members went sour, and the vice president resigned in 1963. 50 employees including veteran engineers out of a total of 327 employees left the factory with him. In addition to that, at that time the handles of the convenient razors were made by third party suppliers and, as if waiting for the perfect opportunity, when the vice president resigned, the major handle supplier asked for an increase in price and changing payment conditions, and even delayed deliveries. In 1964 it was literally the most critical moment of his career when Saijiro received their final notice that they were not able to deliver handles. Saijiro asked for guidance from the old priest Itsugai Kajiura from the Shogen temple who had a profound relationship of trust with the founder of KAI. It must have been such a difficult time for Saijiro that he went almost every night to visit the old priest in secret. Saijiro was supported greatly by the guidance of the old priest, 'When people hit rock bottom, it is impossible to go any deeper. When you are in deep trouble, any change in your situation will surely lead back up.' The reason why he could overcome this predicament can also attributed to his preparation by secretly producing handles by his own means. It took repeated tests until he produced a satisfactory handle.

 By overcoming such difficulties, the unity of the remaining members in the KAI group became stronger. Saijiro improved his managing methods and directly guided production and sales. Later, the owner of the handle manufacturing company came to apologize to Saijiro. Saijiro was generous enough to purchase half of their stock and asked them to forget about past troubles. 'The mission to create better KAI-brand products flowered into a strong ethic that sustains today's KAI.

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