The founder’s great museum
The acquisition of a fitness gym franchise damaged the company’s star reputation in the stock market, but I still observed it as a better investment than purchasing a sports team. I also thought the video that dramatized his past hardships was narcissistic but harmless. But I had underestimated what that could lead to.
He purchased a bankrupt hotel in the onsen resort a few hours north of Tokyo and made it into a corporate retreat center. Quarterly conferences and leadership training were held there, and women in our department were employed to help organize them, not to attend them. The founder made a grandiose arrival on a helicopter. After the conference, he invited a handful of his favorite to his estate nearby, where he had a wine cellar that stored many cases of Opus One purchased at his business expense. There was a small building by the resort hotel, which was turned into the founder’s museum. All visitors were obligated to visit the museum at least once. Us women were deployed as the museum guide in the lobby. Visitors entered a group of five with enough intervals in between so that the museum didn’t get too crowded. Firstly, one of the women read out the history and purpose of the museum, then, and a male colleague pressed the play button for the video projected onto the six feet-high wall screen above the entrance. After the music intro, each of the six department heads walked into the screen. He (all men) turned to the camera, cross their arms, and the credit showed his name. The founder came the last, with a few seconds longer walk and heightened volume music. The video climaxed with all of them looking at the visitors like the Seven Samurai but with much less potency. Once inside, the exhibition was all about the founder. In the middle of the floor were the two male mannequins lifting a jukebox onto a small pickup truck, wearing the workman clothes and baseball cap and all. Surrounding glass display shelves were filled with old games, pictures, and notes telling his life stories. At the end of the exhibition room, there were about ten pedestals, on which his maxims were inscribed.