December 01, 2005

Nozawa Fellowship Scholars with Kimiko NozawaLOS ANGELES - On October 31, 2005, UCLA’s George and Kimiko Nozawa Endowment will mark its 20th anniversary of granting fellowships to Japanese students pursuing MBAs and doctoral degrees in management at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  The endowment, after having granted some 29 fellowships over the last 20 years, has grown in value to more than $2 million. It is the largest private endowment fund designated for Japanese students studying at UCLA and is specifically designated for students at UCLA Anderson.

The Nozawa Endowment was established by the late Japanese American businessman George Nozawa of Los Angeles upon his death in 1983 with a gift of $500,000 in recognition of the importance of ongoing U.S.-Japan trade relations.  The endowment began granting fellowships two years later.

“We started the Nozawa scholarship in order to give back to the local community,” said George Nozawa’s widow, Kimiko, who still lives in Los Angeles.  Earlier this summer, Mrs. Nozawa hosted two Nozawa MBA fellows, Mari Kumagai and Kazuna Tamura, at her beautifully decorated home in Miracle Mile section of the city.

Professor William Ouchi, who holds the Sanford and Betty Sigoloff Chair in Corporate Renewal at UCLA Anderson, commented that the Nozawa Endowment has helped connect Japanese business students and scholars to UCLA and has served as a catalyst to increase synergies between the American and Japanese business communities.

Akitoshi Nakata, a Nozawa fellow class of 1993, spoke on behalf of all Nozawa fellows to thank Mrs. Nozawa at the 20th year celebration ceremony.  “My two years at UCLA Anderson, supported by this wonderful gift from Mrs. Nozawa, gave me an opportunity to learn professional management and to take new challenges in my career endeavor.”  He is now a Vice President responsible for the Asia Pacific & Japan regions at Buena Vista Music Group, a division of The Walt Disney Company.

The MBA fellowship provides up to $25,000 for each of the two years of MBA studies.  The doctoral fellowship provides up to $15,000 each year for four to five years of doctoral research. Nozawa fellows, selected by an advisory committee, are students from Japan who are poised to become successful leaders in business and industry or scholars at leading academic institutions around the world.

All non-sponsored applicants from Japan accepted to UCLA Anderson School of Management are automatically considered for the Nozawa Fellowship.  They are interviewed in Japan by members of the Nozawa Fellowship Alumni Committee and by a UCLA Anderson admissions representative.  Recommendations are then reviewed by the Nozawa Advisory Board in Los Angeles, which grants two to three fellowships annually.

Rice Cookers Create a Multinational Trading Company
George Nozawa started his career as a reporter of Rafu Shimpo, a premier Japanese community paper published in Los Angeles.  His experience as a news reporter helped him build a network of friends who enabled him to spot a new business opportunity.   Knowing Americans’ increasing preference for Asian foods, Mr. Nozawa was convinced that rice cookers would become a hit in the U.S. household market.  With his belief in market potentials, the Nozawas incorporated Nozawa Trading and started importing Zojirushi brand rice cookers from Japan.  Business continued to grow rapidly as the company also started dealing with the Panasonic brand.

Mr. Nozawa worked closely under the direct guidance of Konosuke Matsushita, the legendary founder of Panasonic USA.  Mr. Matsushita, who subsequently became a close family friend, visited Los Angeles periodically.  The Nozawas often took him out to the Los Angeles Griffith observatory after they finished the day’s work, as this was a favorite place of Mr. Matsushita to view the city lights of Los Angeles.  He appreciated their hospitality and always brought a carefully selected beautiful Japanese doll as a gift.

When they started selling rice cookers in the United States in 1957, the Nozawas faced challenges in educating American consumers about rice cookers.  They also faced minor product malfunctions that quickly vanished as product enhancements were made.  Sales picked up and the Nozawas' business grew phenomenally.  By 1984, Nozawa Trading threw a party at the New Otani Hotel in Los Angeles to celebrate the importation of its millionth rice cooker.

Mrs. Nozawa commented that successful entrepreneurship involves recognizing the interplay between business and community and requires the intuition to spot an opportunity.  She also noted that by giving business profits back to the community, “we can afford an opportunity to set an example for future students.”

In meeting with UCLA Anderson MBA students Mari Kumagai and Kazuna Tamura this summer, Mrs. Nozawa told them, “the timing was always right when we looked for a new business opportunity.  Our business just started by luck.  I do not know what pieces of advice I can give …but sometimes you have to jump off the boat when you believe in success.  You do not always know the exact answers.“

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world. Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment. UCLA Anderson constituents are part of a culture that values individual vision, intellectual discipline and a sense of teamwork and collegiality.

Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs. Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to UCLA Anderson School of Management as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

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