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Corporate History

Panasonic History:
1920

Establishment of the "Hoichi-Kai"


Hoichi Kai employee outing at Ishiyama Temple in Shiga Prefecture. Konosuke Matsushita, wearing a suit, is sitting in front of the flag at the right.

Fostering company spirit and loyalty

The Japanese economy was booming after the end of World War I. Factories everywhere were expanding, so workers were hard to find and keep. This situation caused Matsushita to recognize just how essential a reliable workforce was. Each morning, he would wait at the door of the workshop, wondering whether yesterday's staff would appear.
As the number of employees grew, Matsushita became concerned with establishing healthy employee relations. The method of making insulating material was a trade secret at the time, which most companies refused to divulge to any but their most trusted employees. Matsushita felt this practice stood in the way of rational management and would stifle growth. He declared that he would teach the company's techniques to anyone with ability-even a new worker.
As the nation entered a new decade it was suddenly hit by panic, causing an about-face in the economy. Businesses across the country failed, putting large numbers of people out of work. Trade unions grew increasingly militant. Matsushita decided that the cooperation and unity of all members of the company were needed to face the difficulties at hand. In March 1920, he formed the "Hoichi Kai"(lit.,'one-step society'),an employee organization in which all 28 employees of the company, including himself, participated.
The Hoichi Kai later played an important role in bringing employees together by organizing sporting events, cultural activities and other recreational activities.

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