Karoshi & Canon, The most dangerous man in the world, Hero of the Day: Tokido

Tech Support is a difficult occupation, dealing with 3 different Operating Systems is a pain; outdated hardware conflicting with newer software. Tech support is all about trial and error, you try a hundred different things till you find the resolution, or even identify the problem.

Which brings me to the next topic, today we had a computer which refused to boot the OS. The problem happened to be rather simple; the BIOS priority was booting USB over Hard-drive. Plugged into the USB was a Canon digital camera and it just so happens that it was trying to boot the microSD card. Anyway, this reminds me of an interesting story about Canon Electronics by Danny Choo last year, and I feel the need to share it.

“The moment when I am happiest is when I can sleep”

– Uchino Kenichi, third-generation Toyota employee, died of Karoshi.

“Karoshi” is a Japanese phrase which means “Death from overwork.”
Since the 80s Karoshi is legally recognized as a cause of death in Japan, roughly 40% of Japanese men aged 30 to 40 work over 60 hours a week. Hard work is the cornerstone of Japan’s economy, and Edward Deming’s miracle in Japan has developed an elite class of managerial laborers, and as cliché as it sounds most salary-men out of a samurai-like pride work hours of unpaid overtime just to secure their employment spot. The unemployment rate in Japan is quite staggering, and in order to maintain work you must be an exceptionally motivated worker. Goro Yoshida named Canon/Kwanon after Bodhisattva Guanyin, a being motivated by great compassion and mercy… Needless to say much like Google in my previous blog; Canon has strayed from it’s roots.

Welcome a modern day sweat shop in a First World country.

Translation: “Lets rush – if we don’t then the company and world will perish.”

Canon Electronics is know for gouging its customers with high prices on everything from cameras to spare lens cases. The immaculate quality of their products makes it all worth while, but their CEO disagrees; in true W. Edwards Deming fashion Hisashi Sakamaki aims to reduce laziness, limit errors, and maximize quality development. However the method he’s chosen maybe considered rather… Obscure…? I’m not entirely sure the father of TQM would agree to Sakamaki’s methods.

Hisashi has written a book called:
(Isu to pasokon o nakuse ba kaisha ha nobiru)
“A company will do well if you get rid of the chairs and computers!”

That’s right; his employees are not allowed to sit and must perform their duties while standing. Now obviously they can’t remove the computers from a business based on technology but they can remove the pasokon: Personal Computer, and his book explains his theory that a standing worker is a more productive worker; additionally the company saves money on chairs. If you figure most office chairs are around $50.00 USD it is a rather sizable savings.

Tired of standing all day? Want to take it easy? Well to bad! Refer to the first photo, the one of the blue sign on the floor. The translation of that sign is seriously: “Lets rush – if we don’t then the company and world will perish.” the floors in the Canon factory actually have movement sensors in them. The hallways are designed to detect whether employees are walking at least 5 meters for every 3.6 seconds. If you fail to walk at the designated minimum speed limit a siren goes off and you will be reprimanded for it.

“According to his book, employees can concentrate on the meeting at hand without chairs and they have been able to half the number of meetings each year. He also says that by standing at work, the employees develop a closer relationship with each other and that problems are solved much more quicker.”

– Danny Choo
Ben Bernanke: The Most Dangerous Man in the World.

“Those in favor extol the virtues of the magical printing presses as if we all had been given a free cruise on the ship Queen Elizabeth 2. The truth for most of us is closer to 3rd class tickets on the Titanic.”

– Mark Thornton

Everyone owes Ben a little thanks for his role in preventing the possible depression, but he threw a hail Mary pass and got lucky. The world’s most powerful central bank have been destroying the global economy and poisoning America for years. Ben is perhaps one of the most dangerous human beings on the planet, he sits on his lofty chair in the hallowed halls of the fed and is completely content with watching the world burn.

In one of the biggest gambles in financial history, the Fed has decided to buy $600 billion in Treasury. Commodities have increased in price at an alarming rate and without a reliable gold standard the greenback will continue to fall. There is a currency war looming and it’s poised to be the biggest ****storm since Black Wednesday.

China has been printing yuan to buy dollars for the past 15 years, the yuan stays low and helps keep the dollar strong; however by doing this America loses the reliable dollar in favor of the unstable yuan. Japan acts similarly in this regard, when the yen got to powerful this year the Bank of Japan knock it off a bit. Imports become more expensive; thus consumers buy more domestic goods while exports become cheaper; and more goods are sold overseas. However since Japan has a lack of raw resources they can expect commodities to raise in price due to the devaluation.

The problem with this strategy is that since global devaluation is hitting the world hard and high GDP countries are at near-zero interest rates there is a good chance that this effect will snowball and result in a massive currency war. Just because quantitative easing worked in the Depression, doesn’t mean it will work now; just when the economy starts showing a pulse the Fed plans to risk its frail heartbeat by using the shock paddles at max power. President Obama has called for unity and for countries to “be the bigger man,” but it may be too late.

Men are fallible, and just like Sept. 16, 1992 all the power is in the hands of a few men.

“All it proved was that the markets were right and the politicians were wrong.”

– Joe Lewis, Orchestrator of Black Wednesday

“Bernanke is an airline pilot who pulled off a miraculous landing, but didn’t do his preflight checks and doesn’t show any sign of being more careful in the future — thank him if you want, but why would you fly with him again (or the airline that keeps him on)?”

– Simon Johnson


Watch till the end, it’s worth it. 

“During this past weekend’s SoCal regional for Super Street Fighter IV, Tokido, one of the highest ranked Akuma players pulled off the trademark raging demon super to finish off his opponent, winning the round in loser bracket finals. Right as the animation ended, he stepped up to the stage and posed with his character’s winning stance. The light from the camera hit his back with a big “heaven” kanji, just like the in-game character. It was one of these moments where the player became one with their character.”

– Ming
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