Dr. Adam Kassab, Professor of GLOBIS University in Tokyo, invites a variety of guests from around the world to discuss people, culture and business from an “Inside Japan” perspective. The eighth guest is Mr. Waku Miller, Director, Lapisorks Co., Ltd.
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Inside Japan No. 8 – Waku Miller Part2
Guest: Waku Miller, Director, Lapisworks Co., Ltd.
Host: Adam Kassab, GLOBIS
Date: August 24, 2012
Venue:GLOBIS Tokyo campus, Japan
American, born 1954
Waku arrived in Japan in 1978 after earning a master’s degree in music performance (trombone) from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After working at a translation agency and a financial PR agency, he launched the editorial-design firm Lapisworks with the graphic designer Kudo Taeko in 1990.
Lapisworks has produced a vast array of materials for corporate PR. The principals have also handled the translation and design of several books of poetry and nonfiction. Taction, Waku’s translation of calligrapher Ishikawa Kyuyoh’s history of calligraphy, earned special recognition in 2011 from the Japan Society of Translators.
In October 2011, Waku plunged into what would be six months of nearly full-time inolvement in “Olympus scandal.” His good friend Michael Woodford had become the president of the medical equipment and camera manufacturer Olympus Corporation in April 2011. Woodford subsequently discovered massive financial fraud at the company and lost his job in October for calling attention to the problem. He embarked on a campaign to win reinstatement, and Waku handled media relations and interpreting duties for his friend during the campaign.
Olympus’s institutional shareholders, concerned that he might expose their role in the company’s misdeeds, closed ranks against the former president. That doomed Woodford’s quest to gain reinstatement, and Waku has since returned to his usual work. He is presently at work on an English translation of a book-length work by the poet Fujiwara Akiko, on a book in Japanese about the ceramic artist Abe Anjin, and on an annotated English translation of a monumental work by the 13th-century Japanese Buddhist monk Eihei Dogen, Shobo Genzo [Insight]. Having taken Buddhist vows in 2009, he is a self-styled “monk in training, eternally in training, never to amount to anything.”
Dr. Kassab has extensive business experience across Asia as well as in Europe and the USA. He has held senior positions at Sanyo Electric, a global Japanese electronics manufacturer, Mercer, a US based global HR Consulting firm, and most recently at Culture Convenience Club, the dominant Japanese player in the consumer entertainment and lifestyle sector. His work has ranged from facilitating European wide strategic planning sessions aimed at exploring synergies and enhancing competitiveness, developing ways to internationalize and globalize business operations, and implementing change programs for overseas subsidiaries.
As well as his strong professional background he also recently completed doctoral research looking into the use of Stories and Storytelling in Organizations as a tool for inspiring employees and bringing about visionary change.
Bachelors degree, History & Philosophy of Science and Philosophy, University of Leeds (UK); Masters Degree, International Resources and Development Studies, University of Leeds (UK); Masters Degree, Organization Change, Ashridge Management Center (UK); Doctoral Research, Hitotsubashi University (JPN)