1901 - 1912

Experiencing Work and Human Kindness

The apprenticeship at the decorative metalworking shop in Tokyo’s Honjo-ku (present-day Sumida-ku) was certainly not easy.His master, Yoshimatsu Sakata, had the stubborn but steady temperament of a seasoned artisan, and although strict when it came to work, he was a compassionate, softhearted person. Here, Tokuji was taught the basics of metalworking techniques, and also learned the feeling of human kindness.His life as an apprentice to a craftsman was also not smooth sailing.First, his master, who had once been prosperous, failed in a new business venture, and found himself in a difficult situation. Tokuji, who felt indebted to his master, decided not to leave him, and ended up supporting the shop.He went so far as struggling to sell the defective pencils that were the source of the debt in a stall in the night market, but that experience inculcated in Tokuji a passion for selling things and taught him the tricks of the trade needed to win over the hearts and minds of customers.Thus, this apprenticeship period was where he learned everything that he would need for his future life as a businessman.