Nanshu Saigo, one of the major statesmen of the Restoration of Meiji, is quoted as saying, "I respect Heaven and I love Man." As for me, I prefer to speak of "San-Ai".
Although I have no intention to compete with the Great Saigo, the San-Ai spirit "love your neighbor, love your country, love your work" is my long cherished belief.
Man is said to be the lord of all creation, and the value of each individual is measured by various scales. Some people regard scholars as heroes,while the others speak highly of statesmen, artists, or businessmen. I think that what decides the true greatness of a man is the depth and width of love that he gives to the others.
A man loves himself by instinct as all animals have an instinct of self-preservation. Even a despicable fellow loves himself. A more evolved person loves his wife, children, parents, and siblings. Next come those who love their neighbors and beyond the nation they belong to, all the nations of the world. The most advanced persons are those who love all animals and plants. Some of them even love all creation more than themselves. They dare to sacrifice themselves for all nations from a vast reservoir of love.
This last state would be that of Buddha and God. At any rate, I am confident that the true value of a man is determined by how deeply he renders his love.
The spirit of "love" is already cited by many ancient sages. I have identified "Three" kinds of loves (San-Ai). Why "three"? In classical writings, "three" is described as "One generates Two, Two produces Three, and Three creates everything." However, whichever dictionaries we consult, there is no word for San-Ai. San-Ai is what I have discovered and my deepest, longest held belief.
My "San-Ai" spirit is that of loving "people", "country" and "work". As a world citizen, one should love all people. As a Japanese, we should love our native country. Further, in order to fulfil our "raison d’etre", in order to fulfill our duty we should immerse ourselves in our work with love.
The San-Ai spirit alone can save the country. I believe that if all Japanese people aspire to the San-Ai spirit, Japan can surely be rebuilt.
I am sure that we will not go astray if we behave in compliance with the San-Ai spirit in whatever circumstance. To speak of an enterprise, one loves the employees, the capital, and the enterprise itself. If the enterprise produces profit, it should be divided into three and equally distributed between the employees, the capital, and the enterprise for future growth. As for education, one loves the teacher, the student, and learning itself.
To enjoy life, one loves food, clothing, and housing from the bottom of one’s heart.
To educate ourselves, we love the past, the present, and the future; looking back at the past, doing our best in the present, and hoping for a prosperous future.
I have long cherished this San-Ai spirit as my motto and it has been my heart's desire to see it realized.
Now that I am going to add a new field to my business, I need to be more than ever faithful to my belief, adopting "San-Ai" for the firm's name.
I am determined to do my utmost for the reconstruction of Japan with all of you, devoting myself to the San-Ai spirit.
RICOH San-Ai Group founder KIYOSHI ICHIMURA