Thoughts from Nagoya: Japan, Toyota, Shingijutsu

Nagoya Castle

This last road trip was 3+ weeks in China, then a week at the Shingijutsu seminar in Japan. It was a little fortunate for me since I was the only member on our team who was not suffering from 8-12 hours of jet lag.

As I noted at the start of the Shingijutsu Seminar series, Shingijutsu Co. split along factional lines a few years ago. I did not get an opportunity to get into details with anyone I know who would tell me, maybe I will inquire about the juicy details later on through correspondence. Anyone who does know is welcome to comment below.

Nakao-sensei’s group is now based in Nagoya and has a USA office in Portland, Oregon. They call themselves “Shingijutsu USA.” The other Shingijutsu goes by “Shingijutsu Global Consulting” and is headed up by Niwa-Sensei. Although I have no personal experience with this organization, I have some reliable second-hand information that they are a little much better at organizing the seminars and training activities. I also get anecdotal information that there remains a great deal of bad blood between the two groups, though some of that is egos and personalities of certain individuals who need not be named as if you care, you know who they are.

One of the interesting things we did on Thursday after the report-out was visit to the Nagoya office. The feature is stand-up desks made from the modular tube structure available under several different names. The same material is used to make racks and carts at Toyota as well as many other companies, but this is the first time I have seen it used to make office furniture. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Shingijutsu Office Tour Shingijutsu office

This is obviously not for everyone, but it works for them, and that is what is important.

The opposite side of the office is floor covered with a tatami mat and a traditional table.

Toyota Museum

I mentioned the Toyota Museum a couple of days ago. If you plan on visiting, plan on about 4 hours. We did not have enough time on the planned itinerary. I have been there before and still would have liked to spend another hour on the site. Good museums are like that.


The last time I was in Japan (except for stopovers at Narita) was 2000 on a similar seminar. That time we had two weeks in-country, and more time to get out and about. Still, eight years is more than enough time to get a sense of where a country is going. The mid- and late- teens of 2000 are well into the workforce now. While it is still clearly Japan, I also got a sense that things have continued to loosen up a bit, for better or worse. There are also more people on the streets with a few extra pounds than before.