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The glass empire. A story that rescues the discipline and courage of a Japanese immigrant


Nobody knows why he decided on glass. It's as if the mystery makes his story more interesting. Kamekichi Miyasato had saved for 10 years as a farm laborer, after arriving from his native Okinawa, to start a glass business.

Kamekichi Miyasato, builder of an empire (Photo: Miyasato family archive)

“They always ask me the same question and I can never answer it,” says Mr. Enrique Miyasato, current president of the board of directors of the Miyasato Corporation, with all honesty. “My father chose a field that had nothing to do with what his countrymen usually did. They were generally dedicated to inns, hairdressers or coal shops,” he remembers.

The business started in Callao. The clients, little by little, began to arrive. Kamekichi didn't speak Spanish well, but one way or another he made himself understood. Language limits are not a problem for someone seeking a better future for their family. Little by little he learned more words and ended up communicating with more affection.

“After my father did well in Callao, he decided to go to the Center of Lima to look for a larger market. There, my brother Pedro begins to help him, inaugurating the second generation of the family that ventures into the business,” says Don Enrique, the only surviving male of the four children his father had. In total there were 8 (four boys and four girls) Kamekichi Miyasato's children.

Always focusing on good customer service, making them feel safe and respected, and with the clear idea of ​​always offering the best products, the Miyasato family began to make a name for itself within the most sought-after businesses in Lima in the middle of the last century. . They were never late with a delivery, a characteristic that made them stand out above the competition, where it was common for jobs to be delivered a couple of days late.

Enrique Miyasato, president of the board of directors of Corporación Miyasato.

Then, it was the turn of little Enrique, today president of the board, to start working alongside his father. But the personalities were different. The father maintained that traditional and oriental spirit that called for sobriety and security, while his son possessed the vehemence of young years and the courage of someone who is not afraid of making mistakes.

“He always told me that I should be more conservative. I was ambitious. I wanted to do things bigger and my father called me to reflect. It was what he considered to be right. But time has proven me right, because we have carried out successful operations not only with glass, but also with other construction materials.”

It was with the entry of a young Enrique Miyasato that the corporation began to venture into aluminum, a product that to this day makes them leaders in the Peruvian market. “We had noticed that many designers and builders were requesting aluminum for window frames. Before they were made with iron, but they were very heavy. On the other hand, aluminum was thinner, decorative, light but resistant, so we went all in with that,” says Don Enrique.

The Miyasato Corporation is a leader in its sector. (Photo: Miyasato Corporation)

But there is no successful business that has not overcome problems. In the case of the Miyasato corporation, the difficult times were never due to sales of its products or services, but rather due to the sales of its stores. “Before there was the industrial community that opposed us selling two of our stores. We were in court for several years, but finally justice ruled in our favor,” says the president of the Miyasato board of directors, who remembers that his father always behaved well with the company's workers. “He was a man very aware of social responsibility at a time when it was not yet fashionable. He helped sick relatives, he was understanding with them, even more than with his own children,” Don Enrique mentions, almost laughing.

Today the Miyasato Corporation is a leader in its sector. Not only does it have eight stores, one of them in Chile, but it is also responsible for exporting and reaching markets such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States. Last year sales reached 90 million soles and by the end of 2012 they expect to exceed 100 million.

“Our success lies in the will, in the motivation to do things well, in punctuality, honesty and working hard. “Those are the foundations on which this company was built,” says Don Enrique.

(Photo: Miyasato Corporation)

* This article is published thanks to the agreement between the Peruvian Japanese Association (APJ) and the Discover Nikkei Project. Article originally published in Kaikan magazine No. 59, August 2011 and adapted for Discover Nikkei.

© 2011 Asociación Peruano Japonesa; © 2011 Foto: Asociación Peruano Japonesa / Erika Kitsuta

Kamekichi Miyasato Peru
About the Authors

Luis Daniel Goya Callirgos is a communicator and journalist. He has been editor of the Asia Sur Magazine, editor of the Correo newspaper and web editor of the EPENSA Group. He was editor of Eva Magazine and editor of installments of the tourism supplement Viajero, both from Grupo El Comercio. He has won the ETECOM Communication Award in the Digital Press category two consecutive years and obtained first place in the Journalistic Chronicles contest organized by the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC). He was a finalist in the CONACINE Extraordinary Documentary Project Contest and in the DOCTV IB II Contest. He has been a television reporter, written press columnist and manages one of the most read blogs about television series in Peru.

Last updated January 2010

The Japanese Peruvian Association (Asociación Peruano Japonesa, APJ) is a nonprofit organization that brings together and represents Japanese citizens who live in Peru and their descendants, as well as their institutions.

Updated May 2009

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