Table Speech

Initiation speeches

August 10th,2005

The Tokyo Coca Cola Bottling Corp. Ltd.
President Keiji Takanashi
Assistant Professor of Musashino Music College and conductor
Mr.Yukio Kitahara

My firm’s 50 years history

Mr.Kenji Takanashi

My classification is the production and sales of beverages. This term derives from Ginko Kishida, who in 1876 advertised his lemon drink in a newspaper as a refreshing and sweet beverage. This year mark’s the 100th Anniversary of his death, and the 3 national beverage industry associations are celebrating his centennial.

Our beverage association was organized 50 years ago, but we had strong relations with this organization. Our founder submitted an application for the import of our syrup but met with strong opposition from our rival firms. It took 8 years to get the importing approved, but all along our founder kept telling them that import of the syrup would stimulate the industry and assist in the expansion of the market which would prove beneficial to all. Thus, our total output grew from 350,000 kiloliters in 1955 to 17,500,000 kiloliters. The number of associate members increased from 50 in 1955 to 450 today. Our industry has been accepted by society with a total sales of 3.7 trillion yen.

The beverage industry started in Japan with carbonated drinks such as lemonade and cider then Coca Cola appeared in the 1950’s, canned coffee in the 60’s then sports drinks and oolong tea drinks in the 70’s with functional drinks serving the needs of the market. With new drinks appearing in the market, the market for cider and Coca Cola has not been reduced. We have been able to do this by refining our containers, production processes and adjusting to new rules regarding environment and recycling.

We are aiming to reach 61% – the highest in the world – for recycling of plastic bottles, and to conserve energy for the 2.5 million automatic vending machines in Japan using only half of the electric power needed 15 years ago.

To pursue the target of safe drinks, we have organized a group to study beverages comprised of members from our industry, government and academic circles. We wish to continue contribution towards the good of society.

Finally, as we age, we become less sensitive the lack of fluids in our body.

Our seniors called a cup of water in the morning and at night ‘treasure water’, and not forgetting their wisdom I would advise your keeping a plastic bottle of water by your bedside when you go to sleep.

My Life as a Musical Conductor

Mr.Yukio Kitahara

I was born a son of a Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) master, but fortunately my parents gave me the freedom of choosing my profession so in due time. I became a fan of Western music and became a conductor. After graduating Toho Gakuen Music Academy, I spent some time with the NHK(Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Orchestra, and then went to Europe. In 1985, at the Prague contest I ranked third, and was given the opportunity to conduct the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra.

Rumania then was ruled by the dictator Ceausescu, and everything was tightly controlled and watched by the secret police. Immediately after the concert, I was approached by a gentleman who stated that he was German, and had been deeply moved by my performance of Beethoven, and wept when he thanked me.

I realized that even under suppression music had the power to give people hope. I felt that I had a mission to bring joy to people through my profession and was deeply gratified. From there my career led me to Vienna, Innsbruck, and the opera in Aachen, where I realized that there is another side to a conductor’s work.

The orchestra consists of men and women of strong will and personalities. There is no right or wrong in music, and even if you meet with strong opposition, you must believe in the rightness of your music making, and draw out the best music they may have. These were difficult days for me, but on the other hand I could feel that they were trying me to make me grow, and I am still grateful for the experience I received there.

Another job for the conductor is to raise funs. One of my jobs when I was Music Director at the Aachen Opera was to raise funds, and to obtain a good share of the City Council’s money. I visited Japanese firm’s in the neighbor cities, and parties at night.

I visited Rumania frequently after the dictatorship had been overthrown and found children living in manholes and infants and the aged dying from lack of heating in the winter. In Israel sirens were going off all the time, and in Honduras, narcotics were rampant.

Music cannot feed the hungry or help the impoverished. However, I wish to keep playing music which will bring hope and comfort and thus fulfill my mission in life.