The Legacy of Dr. Kaoru

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Last Updated: 26 Jan 2021
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The Legacy of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa was a Japanese consultant and father of the scientific analysis of causes/ problems in industrial processes. The purpose of this paper is to recognize the life works and address the impacts of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa’s works on the world. The focus will help the reader understand his background, key ideas, influence on quality practices, and the correlation to total quality management (TQM). Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa was born in 1915 and died in 1989 (Lindsay & Evans, 2007).

He was born in Tokyo and was the eldest of eight sons by Ichiro Ishikawa (Business and Companies). In 1943 Ishikawa graduated from the Engineering department at the University of Tokyo with a major in applied chemistry (De La Salle University, 2002). According to Business and Companies, “His first job was as a naval technical officer (1939-1941) then moved on to work at the Nissan Liquid Fuel Company until 1947. Later that year he was made assistant professor at his Alma Mater. He later received his Doctorate of Engineering and was promoted to professor and worked at the university for many years (De La Salle University, 2002).

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Ishikawa was also on the editorial review board for the Japanese journal: Quality Control for Foremen (Lindsay & Evans, 2007). The quality guru also presented some key ideas which had a major impact on Quality Control. Two of his major accomplishments were the Ishikawa Diagram (aka Fishbone Diagram) and Quality Circles. According to the book, Guide to Quality Control, in 1943 Ishikawa first used the Fishbone Diagram to help explain to a group of engineers at Kawasaki Steel Works how a complex set of factors could be related to help understand a problem (Ishikawa, 1986). A diagram is a tool used to identify all possible causes of a particular problem (Maze-Emery, 2008).

Later in the 1960s, Dr. Ishikawa developed Quality Circles. These circles of members represented the first types of teams that exclusively focused on quality (Lindsay & Evans, 2007). During this period Dr. Ishikawa became Chief Executive Director for QC Circle Headquarters at the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) (Lindsay & Evans, 2007).

It was through JUSE that Ishikawa developed a companywide participative bottom-up approach to quality thus becoming the standard for the Japanese approach to quality management (Lindsay & Evans, 2007). Quality circles grew tremendously and today over a million workers are involved. This standard also traveled to the western states. Companies such as Toyota, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and Coors Brewing Company have established quality circles (Lindsay & Evans, 2007). The quality philosopher’s influence on practices has given him plenty of accolades.

He has been awarded the Deming Prize and the Nihon Keizai Press Prize, the Industrial Standardization Prize for his writings on Quality Control, and the Grant Award in 1971 from the American Society for Quality Control for his education program on Quality Control (Center for ISO 9000). Dr. Ishikawa was also named an honorary member of ASG in 1986. In addition, during 1993 the ASQ established the Ishikawa medal to recognize the human side of quality leadership. Lastly, Dr. Ishikawa has written several books including, Guide to Quality Control (1971) and What is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way (1986).

In conclusion, Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa was a quality control guru who helped the Japanese as well as many other countries to improve their quality performance. With his educational and professional background, key ideas, and influence on quality, Dr. Ishikawa provided a major contribution to TQM. Ishikawa once stated, “The results of these company-wide Quality Control activities are remarkable, not only in ensuring the quality of industrial products but also in their great contribution to the company’s overall business.


Business and Companies. (n. d. ). BusinessPME : Internet gate for the leaders of small and medium-sized companies PME PMI. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from http://www. businesspme. com/uk/articles/economics/12/Kaoru-Ishikawa. html De La Salle University - Manila E-quality. (n. d. ). E-quality. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from http://quality. dlsu. edu. ph/chronicles/ishikawa. html Ishikawa, K. (1986).

Guide to Quality Control (Industrial Engineering & Technology) (Second Revised ed. . Tokyo: Asian Productivity Organization. ISO 9000 and Quality Gurus. (n. d. ). Center for Iso 9000. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from www. iso-9000. ro/eng/9001/gurus. htm Lindsay, J. R. , & Evans, W. M. (2007).

Philosophies and Frameworks. Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence (7th ed. , p. 112). Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning. Maze-Emery, E. (2008).

Knowing the cause is half the battle. T & P: Tooling & Production, 74(11/12), 28-29. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database.

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The Legacy of Dr. Kaoru. (2016, Dec 31). Retrieved from

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