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Founder Yehan Numata

 

 

     Yehan Numata was born on April 12, 1897 (Meiji 30) as the third son of the head priest of Jorenji temple of the Jodo ShinshuHonganji de

nomination in Higashi-shiwa Town, Kamo District, Hiroshima Prefecture (currently Shiwa Town, Higashi Hiroshima City).  Because he grew up in an environment where Buddhism was always around him, it is said that he was generally able to recite sutras by heart before he entered elementary school.

He moved to the United States to study abroad at the age of 19.  Because he pursued his studies while enduring poverty and harsh labor, he contracted tuberculosis, which was considered an incurable disease at the time.  Yehan, who was in the depths of despair, was saved by the words of Shinran Shonin sent to him by his parents.

“If you’re happy when you’re alone, think of there being two people.

If two people are happy, think of there being three.

That one other person is Shinran.”

(If you are happy to be alone, then think that there are two of you. If you are happy to be with another, then think that there are three of you. The other person with you is Shinran.)

     These words brought Yehan out of his loneliness, and his condition gradually began to improve.  After graduating from graduate school, Yehan felt strongly that he was “saved by Buddhism,” and he first published the magazine, The Pacific World, in the United States, believing that introducing Oriental culture would lead to conveying Buddhist culture to people in Europe and the United States.  However, due to financial difficulties, it was discontinued after just four years.  Realizing that he could do nothing without a financial base, Yehan started his own business after returning to Japan and planned to promote Buddhism based on that business.

     In 1934, he established a research laboratory that became the prototype of Mitutoyo Manufacturing (now Mitutoyo Corporation) and began developing micrometers. In December 1965, after overcoming many difficulties and stabilizing his business, he established Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (The Society for the Promotion of Buddhism), which had been his long-cherished wish.  Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) developed a variety of projects based on a desire “to realize a peaceful society for humanity through the promotion of a Buddhism that transcends sectarian boundaries.”

This idea of the founder, Yehan Numata, has been developed and passed down to this day.

 

Biographical Chronology

1897: Born in Shiwa-cho, Higashi Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture as the third son of the Rev. Yesho Numata, 16thgeneration priest of Jorenji Temple of the Honganji School of the Jodo Shinshu Sect.  Since his childhood, he was deeply influenced by his mother, who had a strong faith, and he aspired to become a missionary.

1916: He was recommended by the Jodo Shinshu Honganji school to become an assistant missionary to America, and he went to the United States.

1925: In order to spread Buddhism in America, he published the English magazine, The Pacific World, which was distributed in the United States.  Publication was later suspended due to financial difficulties.  Yehan was determined to establish an economic base for the promotion of Buddhism.  He later earned a master’s degree in statistics and the study of economic fluctuations.

1928: Completed graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.

1930: Appointed as statistician in the Cabinet Resources Bureau in Japan.

1934: Aimed to start a business to support the spread of Buddhism and to domestically produce micrometers.  Established a research center in Musashi-nitta, Tokyo.

1936: Opened the Kamata factory in Kamata, Tokyo.  The company name was changed to Mitutoyo Manufacturing.

1938: Changed Mitutoyo Manufacturing into a stock company and assumed the position of Director and President.

1959: Appointed Director of Musashino Women’s Academy.                                      

1961: Received the Medal with Blue Ribbon.

1963: Appointed as Executive Director of the Japan Measuring Instruments Industry Federation.

1965: Founded Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism) and became its director.

1967: Awarded the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, Fourth Class.

1968: Appointed Chairman of Mitutoyo Manufacturing Co.

1969: Appointed Chairman of the Japan Precision Measuring Instruments Industry Association

1977: Received the Honorary President’s Award from the Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha Educational Grant Foundation.

1985: Appointed as Director and Advisor of Mitutoyo Manufacturing Co.

1987: Received the Higashi Hiroshima City Honorary Citizen Award. Mitutoyo Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Mitsutoyo Industries Co. merged and the company name was changed to Mitutoyo Corporation.

1988: Awarded the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Hawaii.

1991: Awarded honorary Doctorate of Letters from Ryukoku University. Received an award as a Person of Special Merit in Metrology.

1994: Passed away on May 5, 1994 (age 97)

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