I completed the Master's Degree Program at Doshisha University Graduate School of Engineering in 1967. In 1970, while being a Ph.D. student at Doshisha University, I invented a basic device of a non-volatile memory known as "flash memory." Since then, I have devoted myself to R&D of silicon-related technologies. In 1971, I received my Ph.D. in Engineering and joined the TDK Corporation (formerly known as Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K). In 1980, I established Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. (SEL) and have been President ever since. I am a Life Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), and I received an Honorary Doctor Degree of Culture from Doshisha University. I am also a member of Doshisha Shayu, the distinguished contributors to the Doshisha.
1967 Completed the Master's Degree Program at Doshisha University Graduate School of Engineering
1970 Invented a basic device of flash memory device
1971 Received Ph.D. in Engineering from Doshisha University Graduate School Doctoral Program
Joined TDK Corporation (formerly Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K.)
1980 Established Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. and took up the position of President
1984 Received the Richard M. Fulrath Award from the American Ceramic Society (Research of MIS structure)
1995 Received the Medal with Dark Blue Ribbon from the Japanese government (Proceeds given to Japanese Red Cross Society) (Awarded 6 times as of 2015)
1997 Received the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government (Development of MOS LSI element technology)
2007 Became the president of Kato & Yamazaki Educational Foundation (KYEF)
2009 Became an IVA Foreign Member
2010 Became an IEEE Fellow
Received the Okochi Memorial Technology Award from the Okochi Memorial Foundation
2011 Became an IEEE Life Fellow
Received an Honorary Doctor Degree of Culture from Doshisha University
2015 Became a member of Doshisha Shayu
Received SID Special Recognition Award for discovery of CAAC-IGZO and its practical application
2016 Received ACerS Medal for Leadership in the Advancement of Ceramic Technology for contribution to oxide semiconductor technology and energy-saving display devices
General Managing Director, Foundation for Promotion of Material Science and Technology of Japan (MST)
President of KYEF
IEEE Life Fellow
IVA Foreign Member
Honorary Doctor Degree of Culture of Doshisha University
Member of Doshisha Shayu
Areas of Expertise
1. Semiconductor process technology (in particular, non-volatile memory element that is a basic device of flash memory and display backplane technology)
2. Fundamental properties of semiconductor (in particular, a crystalline structure of oxide semiconductor exemplified by CAAC-IGZO)
3. Device technology of semiconductor (in particular, a transistor with extremely low off-state current and technology of improving reliability of transistors through reduction of impurities)
What have been the main lessons you have learned in your career and how do you implement them in your management?
SEL implements an “IP Creation cycle” based on Dr. Yogoro Kato’s philosophy. I always tell my employees to develop technologies that will ensure durability and reliability, which are necessary for Monozukuri. I also encourage them to continuously create new technologies.
My mentor is Dr. Yogoro Kato, who supervised me when I was a second-year university student. Japan is a country with very little natural resources, and he therefore taught me the importance of facing problems with a pure heart (integrity) and a clear conscience. This is essential to create technologies that are beneficial to society. In 1970, when I was a Ph.D. student at Doshisha University, I invented a basic device of a non-volatile memory known as “flash memory” on the basis of his philosophy of creation (inventions) and acquisition of patents - not imitations.
SEL was established in 1980 in the strong spirit of practicing the teachings of Dr. Yogoro Kato. His teachings are the foundations of SEL’s IP creation cycle.
In 1971, I joined TDK Corporation. The former president of the TDK Corporation insisted on “Shuhari”, which is a saying made from three Chinese characters, Shu, Ha, and Ri.
Shu (cultivate) - look at things with an open mind, with a broad perspective.
Ha (detach) - solve multipronged issues with focus.
Ri (leave) - attract serendipity, or good fortunes, by reading the trends.
Dr. Yogoro Kato’s philosophy is the essence of my management style: face the problems with a pure heart (integrity) and create inventions to acquire patents, never imitate.
* CAAC-IGZO is a registered trademark of Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. in Japan (Japanese trademark registration No. 5494218).
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