Thoughts on Connecting the Baton

I am Yoshida, president of Yamada Shusei Ltd., a professional apparel garment repair group in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture.


The following topic made news in September 2023. Matsui Knit Giken (Honmachi, Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture; President: Toshio Matsui), which was founded in 1904 and has developed the KNITTING INN brand of scarves that are highly regarded both in Japan and abroad, will close its business by the end of February 2024.


In order to "keep the light of the world-class brand alive," Gunma Prefecture will begin recruiting successors who will take over the company's unique technology and machinery, utilizing a business succession website that will be launched this fiscal year.


I was one of those who would have loved to see it continue, but apparently it is not that easy.... Recently, they announced that they will take some more time to find a successor.


Let us consider the success factors and challenges in business succession from the case of Matsui Giken Knitwear.


First, the following points can be cited as success factors.

・The company had earned a high reputation and trust by providing products with strengths and special characteristics that other companies did not have.

・The company's management's children joined the company and launched a new business, which led to the company's renewal and growth.

・The company took on the challenge of collaborating with museums, companies, sports teams, and other organizations.

・The company also took on the SDGs and made social contribution activities.


On the other hand, challenges include the following

・Lack of time to train and select a successor.

・Difficulty in procuring the necessary funds and machinery for a successor.

・Lack of a clear management vision and strategy that would be attractive to a successor.


The following breakthrough measures to overcome these challenges are possible, but they are not very personal.

・Prepare early and take a systematic approach (start preparing around age 60).

・Expand the options for successors (not only relatives, but also employees and third parties)

・Provide training and support for successors.

・Communicate to successors the attractiveness and potential of the business


Business succession is a process that requires not only the will and desire of management, but also the understanding and cooperation of successors and related parties. Early preparation and systematic efforts are essential for a successful business succession.


This is just a general discussion, but from the perspective of my life's work, "creating a place for people to stay," I think that using Matsui Knit Technical Institute as a rehabilitation facility is one idea that could contribute to both the rehabilitation of prisoners and the transfer of skills to the next generation.


Of course, in practice, there are many challenges and problems. It is necessary to cooperate and coordinate not only with Matsui Knitwear Giken, but also with experts and parties in various fields such as administration, judiciary, social welfare, education, and industry, and it is also important to respect the opinions and needs of stakeholders such as prisoners and their families, local residents, and consumers. 


In any case, the key to connecting the baton will surely be the "relationship" between those who have a passionate desire not to see the project end as it is.