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Furniture magnate fails to oust daughter in family feud

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Flanked by his wife and a slate of male executives supporting his bid, the company’s chairman introduced himself as the man “dethroned as president in a coup d’etat.”

Hence the problem. This old geezer, his wife, and his bunch of his male cronies, thought they knew best how today's families, especially women who are so key in purchases of furniture, want to shop. Thank god the shareholders gave him the boot and supported Kumiko.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Didn't know about the feud and I don't think I've been in Otsuka Kagu... Where's the Tokyo store? Love the daughter standing up to her father and determined to do what's right for the company. Wonder what made her father think she's doing wrong; she's credited with turning the company around and posting profits for four years then daddy forces her out and takes over and losses ensue. Anybody know?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting that this got "aired" in public. Glad to see the daughter standing her ground, but it's rather sad that the family is split by this issue.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We have one in Kobe, we've bought a couple of pieces there. You have to register, and you're assigned a staff person who accompanies you while you shop. A lot of the furnishings are imported from the U.S. or England and they kind of wow you with the displays, but few can afford those prices, and with the furniture from England (enormous sofas and desks) or fit the pieces into their houses. Of course all of the furniture isn't that expensive, or big, but the atmosphere contributes to the feeling that you should only go if you're going to do serious shopping, or if you want to just browse you should go elsewhere. They have reasonably-priced furniture but the over-the-top stuff has dominated for decades. This kind of business model, ie., extreme pampering of the customer, and guiding them through their purchases, and the snob appeal of registration, appealed to those of my in-laws' generation.

I like the fact that they have designers on staff, but more good quality, mid-priced furniture and less baby-sitting by staff would be great, and I think that the daughter is trying to take it in that direction. She has been redoing the store layouts, getting rid of the imposing check-in desks, and making the floor plans more open. Prices have come down too. I think she's doing the right thing.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Himajin I suppose if I were a wealthy Japanese, I would like the individualized service and actually demand a store representative, preferably someone with a design background or knowledge about the quality of the pieces, be by my side. Wish I had money. I would love to roam around Otsuka Kagu. Oh, wish I had a non-Japanese home (French doors so the furniture can pass through without maneuvering or contortions by the moving men and of course, floor space!) to put those over the top pieces in!

Guess the daughter is trying to appeal to the masses while the father is trying to maintain the snob appeal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I tried to get inside one of them stores once, but at the entrance they stopped me and demanded I write down my name and other personal info.

I told them to sod off, and left, never to return.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

@jefflee. You could've said No thanks and walked away.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Daughter knows best.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Went over there once to buy furniture for the new home. It is indeed as Himajin says, great service and lots of nice furniture. Designers stuff, but also good made-in-Japan tables and chairs. Not for the casual lurker, more like for the family that bought a house and needs some nice things for it. we did like the staff member that guided us, he knew how to do his job.

Seems like the daughter wants to turn it into another ikea? Which would mean cheaper furniture, lower quality, made in wherever tables, and no service at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I love it a total in your face moment for her and her stupid father can't handle it. I watched the first news conference when the old man and his all male cronies sat there spewing hate for the only intelligent family member that old man has and the fact the board was smart enough to reinstate her says a lot. I had a feeling all along the mans son was pulling his strings to get the job and the I think the shareholders saw through the whole thing. Exclusivity has been outdated for twenty years only Japan hasn't caught on especially in my area all these stupid xiv hotels around here going bankrupt left and right the champagne years ended along time ago. I hope she told the old man and his cronies don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JeffLee

It is rude to sell someone to sod off. You don't go to Otsuka to browse. It's a personal service. You should have politely said no thank you and left, or better still, sign up and let them guide you. You don't have to buy anything.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Fendi and Duresta furnishings, while lovely to look at, are not all that practical or affordable in Japan for home buyers. However, I really would hope that they won't go the IKEA route. I wouldn't think they would, after all these years of selling top-quality furnishings. They do a good job, we were happy with our staff guy too, we've been in there a few times over the years, and they always have your details at hand in order to help you well. They should perhaps be more open to browsing, those casual browsers might be customers someday. I think that sometimes it's a bit too much for those who'd just like a peek.

We have gotten some nice stools for our kitchen island, a sofa , things here and there over the years, and the quality is good, I hope they don't depart from the quality level.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JeffLee

You missed out on a great shopping experience. The service at Otsuka is excellent. They don't just try to sell you something; they really try to understand what their customers are looking for.

We've bought some beautiful pieces from them over the years.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

My sofa and kitchen table are both from Otsuka Kagu, and they are good quality.

I understand the father's feeling, but the fact is his business plan doesn't work. You can't run a company in the red without the company collapsing at some point. That's just a fact of life. It's too bad that his business plan isn't good enough for the company to compete in the current day - as others have mentioned it's a good experience, and they have good furniture - but the fact is that it doesn't work so there is no use continuing with it.

Good on the daughter for maintaining what she can, while bringing the company to profitability.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"It's a personal service."

It's also a failed business model. Also, in this day and age, it's imprudent to give out your personal details to strangers. There has long been an industry in Japan of buying and selling personal data lists.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

We bought all our furniture there when we bought our house 10 years ago. The salesman guy kept steering us to the high end items and we had to continually ask him to show us less pricey stuff which they kept way at the back of the store to make you feel like you were slumming in the warehouse. Suffice to say, we have already had to throw out most of the cheaper stuff, just didn't stand up to daily wear and tear (plus 4 cats). That being said, most of the furniture in that place is way too nice for the average Taroh and Hanako's humble abode.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This was all over the TV yesterday. I'm surprised it makes such big news in Japan. Would have thought there were more important things to tell us about

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The elder Otsuka is a perfect example of the major problem with Japan - old men who want to keep doing things the way they were done, even though they have been shown not to work. In this case, he lost out because the investors voted against him, out of self-interest in their profits. Unfortunately, there are no profits in government, so the old people keep voting in people like Abe who bring down the country.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

About time a company sent the message that not every old system is best for business. How many company employees suffer and customers who want change suffer because of old outdated systems managed by old guys with no change of the future in mind. Time for change and the time is now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

we got dining chairs and a bed from them a few years ago. Service was impeccable. Quality however was a bit iffy, even though this stuff was NOT cheap end. Bed frame started to come apart and I KNOW what you are all thinking but bear in mind my husband is Japanese.....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

President Kumiko Otsuka, excluding family related shareholding secured 80% of the vote, a proxy fight that company’s founder and chairman, Katsuhisa Otsuka, 71 was destined to lose, so should have folded a losing hand from the start.

Shareholders always without fail instinctively vote on the financial bottom-line. However this fact did little to prevent Kumiko's Otsuka mother launching into a ranting diatribe criticizing her daughter, interrupted by shareholder in the audience pleading for he to stop leaving Father harping 'I had five children, Kumiko was the first and she was a difficult birth'.....

'Old man, your daughter is pretty smart. I think she really cares about the company, I would put an ad in the paper, with the two of you shaking hands and saying you’re sorry, and promise to sell furniture for the best price'

I won't be holding my breath.....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When the father was asked by a reporter, "Have you talked this over with your daughter?", and he replied like, "She won't listen to me even a bit. I've tried really hard.", I thought that the father was illogical and obstinate in a bad way. Also, criticizing your own daughter harshly and publicly isn't something that I can respect.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A majority of family owned comapnies, if they have sons, daughters are not included n operation. If sons are quite younger than daughters, until a son grow older, eldest daughter may operate business. There are example of a daughterwho could not get a job in family created company and she became a disc jocky fa away from Tokyo where many business were headed by daughters, Then she fell in love with a man. though she could not get hired by family business (share holders hdid not want) but she became the famiily head. When her husband became too sick, she told her husband to retire. Later, he was recovered and became Japan's PM. There are many many cases in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a manufacturer of Danish design furniture, we found their style under Kumiko unacceptable and fired them last year as dealer. There's no doubt that they have a place in the everyman furniture market, but they use brands like the one I work for to showcase, and then lead people to the cheaper stuff, which is where they make their money. They also discount 10% off RRP set by manufacturers, which prompts people to go browse and try in other dealers and then go to IDC for the best price. A practise which has made them hated among other dealers in the country. The reason many get the feeling that it's not a place to browse is because they assume you've already seen what you want elsewhere and come to them for the sale.

It will be interesting to see her next move. IDC have severely dropped in quality the last few years, even on the higher end items. Perhaps the PR generated from this public dispute though may help them a little.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The thing I hate about this Otsuka is that you can't have an honest discussion with your partner/spouse about the furniture while you're being followed by a minder. You can't say: 'this is the ugliest sofa I've ever seen!' or 'this is a total rip off, look the leather quality is really bad' or 'no way I'm paying that much for something made in China'.... you just have to smile and say 'hmmm, ... that's nice, I guess'

1 ( +3 / -2 )

We bought our ceiling fan there. As others have mentioned, great service. I hope the staff won't let this little scandal affect their morale.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The thing I hate about this Otsuka is that you can't have an honest discussion with your partner/spouse about the furniture while you're being followed by a minder. You can't say: 'this is the ugliest sofa I've ever seen!' or 'this is a total rip off, look the leather quality is really bad' or 'no way I'm paying that much for something made in China'.... you just have to smile and say 'hmmm, ... that's nice, I guess'

I don't let that stop me from making my comments. You can also ask for some time to discuss as well, and they will leave you alone so you can discuss.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This battle has been brewing on the news for the past few weeks. Seems like the television media is trying to make this into a small reality show. Good luck to the daughter. She gets my vote to stay on island.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I bought a reclining chair at Nitori for under 17,000 yen. I guess Otsuka Kagu doesn't have anything like that for anywhere near that price.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm glad for the daughter, but it's a sad story when a father publicly says these things about his daughter. That's disgraceful, and something that no amount of money can fix.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The times I have been there... I hated the system.

Having to register first... that took some waiting time.

And then the assigned store representative lurking and watching you all the time.

I hate that.

Really horrible system.

If, for example, you want to say to your wife (or husband), "This sofa looks fricking hideous"... well you can't really.

So I felt that the system infringed on my shopping freedom.

Also the assigned clerk pandered to my wife... assuming that she will make all the furniture shopping decisions.

Big mistake.

On the other hand, they had some really nice furniture there.

Anyway, I'm glad the silly old fool with his outdated business model has been ousted.

Good luck to Kumiko!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@choiwaruoyaji

If, for example, you want to say to your wife (or husband), "This sofa looks fricking hideous"... well you can't really.

You mark yourself out as a pleb, my friend. No genuine aristocrat would hesitate to reveal his true feelings in front of "staff".

"Staff" are part of the furniture. Their feelings or opinions are no more important than those of a hatstand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@choi

Yes, those mushrooms the other day were a tad "salty".

Jenkins assured me they were fresh....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ikea Which would mean cheaper furniture, lower quality, made in wherever tables, and no service at all. actually im very app with the sofa i bought at Ikea 4-5 years ago, still going strong and at a great price, had no quality issues whatsoever, the money I saved i went went one size bigger on the big screen TV I purchased. I could have easily bought a brand sofa for 4 times as much, but it certainly wouldnt last 4 times a long. in 20yrs itd be way outdated anyways. Quality furniture doesnt need to have a premium price attached, thank god for competition.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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