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As the son of a wealthy confectioner, Okumura showed little ambition from a young age. At nineteen, he entered Kyoto University where he enjoyed the softer pleasures offered to a well-to-do college student. His father gave him 100 yen a month spending money, at a time when twenty yen was enough to enjoy a very comfortable life-style. Taking his classes lightly, he spent much time in Kyoto's dance halls along with other rich young men. Okumura left university without impressive grades and was rejected by the Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Yamaguchi banks. He succeeded in entering Nomura's research department by a personal introduction.
His colleagues observed that Okumura was pleasant and self-assured but lacked the hunger that characterised other Nomura executives. He often came to work late, was despondent and left early. Shortly after joining Nomura, his parents arranged for him to marry the eldest daughter of a wealthy Osaka landowner. His marriage into wealth further discouraged his ambition.
In 1935, Okumura made a serious error which nearly cost him his career. As a research analyst-marketing man, Okumura published a secret book for investors, espousing the merits of purchasing overseas bonds. At the time, the Bank of Japan prohibited the purchase of overseas bonds by the Japanese. Japan needed all the money it could get to expand its war machine. Bank of Japan officials caught sight of the brochure and consequently reprimanded the then president of Nomura securities, Otogo Kataoka. Kataoka furiously ordered Okumura's resignation but was persuaded by other senior colleagues to simply demote Okumura instead. Disgraced, Okumura was transferred to the registration section. The registration section, where only women worked, involved the hand numbering of every security as it was bought and sold. The only compensation for Okumura there, was that the women spoilt him shamelessly.
Later on ironically, Okumura's book on purchasing overseas bonds was to send him back to favour with Nomura's senior management sending his career on an upward path.
- The House of Nomura, Al Alletzhauser, Bloomsbury Publishing Limited (ISBN 0-7475-0662-0)
|President of Nomura Securities
1948 – 1959
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