Notable Moments

Daini Denden (Now KDDI) Is Established (1984): Is My Motive Virtuous or Selfish?


DDI (Daini Denden) was established around Kyocera in 1984, when Japan's telecommunications industry was deregulated and the opportunity arose for new entries in the market. DDI became the precursor of today's KDDI Corporation, which started in October 2000.

Inamori had long-held concerns about the very high cost of long-distance communication in Japan. He believed that if long-distance telephone charges could be reduced through Kyocera's entry into the market, it would benefit the Japanese people. But entering the market against NTT, a giant in the telecom industry, came with considerable risks. If unsuccessful, the new startup would suffer a huge loss even at the early stages of development. Moreover, Kyocera had no engineers with specialized telecom market experience. Despite conventional wisdom regarding the telecom market as impossible to enter successfully, the decision was made to establish DDI based on a strong conviction that it should be done for the sake of the Japanese people.

After DDI's founding, two other new competitors emerged--subsidiaries of the national railways and highways--both with vast existing infrastructures to build on as new entrants to Japan's telecom market. DDI, with no infrastructure, had no land on which to build a cable network, and was forced instead to construct wireless microwave relay stations on the mountaintops between Tokyo and Osaka. Nonetheless, DDI rapidly developed its technology and managed to start operations at the same time as the other two "landed" telecom competitors. Against all odds, Daini Denden, at the greatest disadvantage among the three, ended up leading in terms of both sales and profit as wireless technology began to revolutionize telecom networks.

Before entering the telecom business, Inamori thoroughly questioned himself every night, asking, "Is my motive virtuous or selfish?" A pure, selfless desire to help others and benefit society was at the root of DDI's founding. It was thanks to the employees who sympathized with Inamori's pure motive and worked harder than anyone else that DDI continued to grow, leading to the KDDI of today.