|Kajii Hiroyuki: Striving to Contribute to “Made in China 2025”
“I leave for work at 7:30 a.m. and get off at 5:30 p.m. I’m b
“I leave for work at 7:30 a.m. and get off at 5:30 p.m. I’m busy every day, but it’s a fulfilling life.”
On the morning of March 4, Kajii Hiroyuki, board chair of the Wuyi-based Zhejiang Morita New Materials Co., Ltd., was systematically busy as usual. This is Mr. Hiroyuki’s eighth year of work in Wuyi.
Name: Kajii Hiroyuki
Chinese Name: 梶井博之
Bio: In 1980, Kajii Hiroyuki joined the Japanese Morita Chemical Industries Co., Ltd., and in 2003, following the foundation of Zhejiang Morita New Materials Co., Ltd., he visited Wuyi for the first time. Ten years later, he became the company’s deputy general manager and now, as the realization of his destiny with Wuyi, he is the company’s chairman of the board.
Living in Wuyi is Increasingly Convenient
Morita primarily produces microelectronic etching and cleaning materials, which are used in semiconductors, microelectronic technology processing, and integrated circuits. This is also the first joint venture in China for wet electronic chemicals.
The year the company was founded, Mr. Hiroyuki was in charge of the logistics department at the Japanese Morita Chemical Industries. To deal with business issues of the newly established company, he went to Wuyi after passing through Shanghai, where his flight landed. At that time, the G-train was not running yet to Jinhua, so he had a six- or seven-hour ride from Shanghai to Wuyi. Moving from the prosperous metropolis of Shanghai to the small town of Wuyi, Mr. Hiroyuki felt that Wuyi was a very quiet place.
Ten years later, he went to Wuyi for the second time, paving the road for his career and life in Wuyi. “Not much had changed in Wuyi between 2003 and 2013, but major differences could be noticed after 2013.” Mr. Hiroyuki has a strong memory of his first stay in Wuyi: coming from the bustling city of Osaka, he realized that he felt a bit out of place in Wuyi, where larger supermarkets had not opened yet. No Japanese stores or food were available, so he had to cook his own food, making not only Japanese dishes, but also all kinds of noodles, such as local noodles and Italian pasta. He used to drive to Jinhua’s Walmart once a month to buy the groceries he needed. “It wasn’t just to go grocery shopping, but also to feel that atmosphere.” He remembers that he could have pizza at the Pizza Hut next to Walmart. Every time he would go to the supermarket, he had Western food, which was a great satisfaction for him.
“Now Wuyi offers a wide range of choices: not only Walmart and Starbucks, but also a number of Western and Japanese restaurants line the streets. The number of restaurants is increasing, and living here is becoming more and more convenient.” A new Japanese restaurant has recently opened, adding a desirable choice to his dining options.
Getting Along Well with Local Employees
At present Mr. Hiroyuki’s company has more than 190 employees. With the exception of eight Japanese staff members, most of the workers are from Wuyi.
Other than just a few simple greetings, Mr. Hiroyuki cannot speak Chinese to communicate in daily life. He claims, “Chinese is too difficult; retroflex sounds are just too hard to learn.” He says that because of his incorrect pronunciation, sometimes others do not understand what he tries to say. Laughing, he explained that it took him almost three years to learn to ask, “Where’s the restroom?”
Despite the difficulty of learning Chinese, Mr. Hiroyuki is still trying hard. He said, “I think the hardest part is the pronunciation of the words nǔlì (work hard) and núlì (slave).” During meetings, he wants to spur the employees on by saying, “Let’s work hard together,” but the pronunciation of “work hard” is very close to “slave.” The concepts expressed by these two words are different, so every time he wants to say “work hard,” he feels under pressure and is afraid of being misunderstood by his employees.
At the end of each year, the company holds a conclusive meeting, at which Mr. Hiroyuki delivers a speech. For the speech to be delivered at the 2019 annual meeting, he practiced a long time, but then the meeting was canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19, leaving unheard the diligently practiced speech.
“Mr. Hiroyuki is very good at communicating, especially in understanding his employees,” said Jiang Yifeng, assistant general manager of Zhejiang Morita New Materials. On weekdays, Mr. Hiroyuki treats his employees to dinner after work, and he presents them with small gifts on their birthdays. Every time he comes back from Japan, he brings snacks for the employees. He is a very warm-hearted person.
Wishing to Contribute to China-Japan Friendship
In these eight years in Wuyi, Mr. Hiroyuki has been integrating with the city and has learned to appreciate it. In Wuyi, he also feels the warmth and friendliness of the locals. He lives in a small condo in Hushan Square. Every time he goes out to take out the garbage, the street cleaner smiles at him and takes his garbage, which moves Mr. Hiroyuki very much. When going out for a walk, passersby say “hello” to him, and when he goes out to eat and buy things, although the clerk cannot understand what Mr. Hiroyuki says, he tries patiently to communicate.
In 2021, Mr. Hiroyuki spent both Spring Festival and Lantern Festival in Wuyi. He celebrated with his staff, making tangyuan and enjoying the taste of the festivals. In terms of special characteristics of the Chinese and Japanese New Year celebrations, Mr. Hiroyuki feels at ease, saying, “In Japan, we usually go with the family to see the first rays of sunshine on New Year’s and we go to the temple to pray for peace. We also eat New Year’s food—Osechi-ryōri,” says Mr. Hiroyuki, showing photos of dishes with a rich variety of colors. He explained that the New Year’s dishes are gifts “dedicated to the New Year’s gods” and offerings to “celebrate the New Year and pray for the prosperity of the family.” It is a tradition very similar to the Chinese New Year’s Eve meal: once a year, family members gather together for a big reunion, filled with happiness and good wishes.
Mr. Hiroyuki has also visited Wuyi’s natural scenery and hot springs. “What I like best is the cycling greenways of Wuyi,” he said, since he is fond of working out. In fact, he often goes there to run and exercise.
Mr. Hiroyuki has two daughters; both are working, and one is married. In 2019, when they first came to China, they went to Disneyland in Shanghai. Mr. Hiroyuki is looking forward to having the chance to show them Wuyi and the warmth of its locals.
His company has so far introduced advanced distillation equipment and purification synthesis equipment from Japan, and adopted the most advanced purification technology of Morita Chemical Industries to produce ultra-high-purity electronic cleaning and etching materials for semiconductors. “Our high-purity, waterless hydrofluoric acid is an indispensable material for the semiconductor industry, and we believe that our products can contribute to ‘Made in China 2025’ and to the further strengthening of the China-Japan friendship.” (By Wu Yueyue, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Kendra Fiddler)