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Startups

Kyoto's business gentry nurture next generation of innovators

Japan's cultural capital also boasts thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship

In Kyoto, innovators like Nidec's Shigenobu Nagamori, top, Horiba's late Masao Horiba, center, and Kyocera's Kazuo Inamori have actively nurtured new generations of innovators like MR Support's Shigeo Kusaki, shown flying a drone in Osaka.

KYOTO -- Kyoto is home to a number of high-tech companies that have created global markets with their unique technologies. One of the oldest is Shimadzu, founded in 1875 by Genzo Shimadzu. Some of Japan's leading entrepreneurs, including Horiba's late Masao Horiba and Kazuo Inamori of Kyocera, laid the foundations for their future growth here. But why did these companies spring up in Kyoto?

Kyoto features a system of mutual support in which members of the city's upper crust support the tea houses and traditional restaurants, which are in turn clients of their own businesses. This creates a vibrant atmosphere in the ancient city. The business world is following suit, with established executives reaching out to young entrepreneurs. They know that the next generation of innovators will lead the evolution of local industries.

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