Japanese Computer Pioneers

Ando KaoruAndo Kaoru

Ando Kaoru was born at Koishikawa, Tokyo on May 11, 1914. His father, Ando Katsuichiro was a scholar of English literature and his mother, Ando Koh, was a famous violinist as well as the younger sister of Koda Rohan, a famous Japanese author.

He traveled to the United States in 1932 where he studied at the Department of Management Studies of Indiana University, graduating in 1936. He returned to Japan one year after graduation.

Ando then joined the Watson Statistical Accounting Machines Corp. of Japan, the antecedent of IBM Japan Ltd., taking charge of PCS (punched card system) sales.
Immediately following the end of the Second World War, Dr. Ando became a consultant to the General Headquarters of the Allied Powers in such areas as social statistics, economic statistics, and social analysis and simulations, using PCS.

Afterwards, he returned to IBM Japan, and joined the efforts aimed at improving the Japanese general-purpose computer business in Japan. Later, he became an executive director and served as a special advisor to IBM Asia, Ltd.

During this period, Ando concentrated on the development and operation of a totally new system, which made good use of the IBM 1410 computer, for use during the 1964 Olympics Games in Tokyo. This marked the first attempt to speed up and transmit Olympic event record data using computers.

In 1966 he left IBM Japan, Ltd. and Joined to Fujitsu, Ltd. Recognizing that Japanese vendors were strong in manufacturing technology, but weak in terms of marketing, he established Fujitsu Facom Information Processing Corp. (Now, FFC Ltd.), where, as president, he concentrated on developing software and expanding calculation-processing services.

When the Fujitsu Computer College was established in 1967 for external education in general computer-related subjects, he was appointed as principal. This was the first training institution where a computer vendor taught directly.

In 1970, Ando assumed the position of Managing Director and took charge of marketing, sales, systems engineering, customer-engineering as well as the reform of the in-corporate training system. He left Fujitsu Ltd. in 1992.

In the autumn of 1974, he was awarded the Medal with Blue Ribbon from the Japanese Government for his contribution to industrial computerization in Japan.

Following his successful business career, Dr. Ando remained active in information processing. He became the first Japanese president of the IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing) following his election in 1983 and served until 1986. He was also active part in many other areas, such as serving as the chairman of the international committee of the IPSJ (Information Processing Society of Japan) from 1986 to 1991.

He was awarded the IPSJ Contribution Award in 1987 and was elected as an honorary membership of IPSJ in 1989.

(Wada Eiiti, Fujitsu)