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BOOK SERIES | Minority Shareholders, Chapter 27: Guilty Reflections

Sulking in his office, the demons of his past haunt Mukoujima Transport president Kensuke Kajima in Chapter 27 of Shin Ushijima's novel, Minority Shareholders.



In this chapter of Minority Shareholders, I continue the story of Norio Takano. He is not a specific person; he is a character created for my book out of some high rollers who had existed during the bubble period.

As a young lawyer, I witnessed the generation of enormous wealth from scratch. A minority shareholder of a family company brought an action to the court and succeeded in taking hundreds and thousands of yen. I saw it firsthand. Ten years after the bubble popped, I started work related to corporate governance. In this book, my fictional characters tell the story of problems that persist in joint-stock corporations. What is an organization called a company? What if Norio Takano were reborn in this era?

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual characters or organizations is entirely coincidental and unintentional. ー Shin Ushijima

Read earlier chapters of the series.

Minority Shareholders
Book cover, "Minority Shareholders" by Shin Ushijima.

CHAPTER 27: Guilty Reflections

Continuing from Chapter 26: {Well, well. What should the retiring president do as his last job in order to keep the business of the company running smoothly? Leave all the keys on his desk so that the chief of the administration department can take care of them. Seals…I don't have many on hand. Anyway, new seals will be made immediately for a new president.

{The contracts with the tenants are dealt with by the business department, so business will not be interrupted even with a change in president. We just manage our real estate, not a big business. It's no different from an individual who owns a lot of real estate. We only use the form of a joint-stock corporation for tax purposes.}

Kensuke Kajita stretched his body. Then he realized that there was one more thing he still had to do.  

Heading to Divorce

{It's going to end up in divorce.} Kensuke Kajita, remaining on his back on the sofa, realized that there was one more thing he still had to do.

{I don't need anything. Shino can have it all. She can take all of my property. I'm prepared to pay any amount of money for pain and suffering if she demands. But I myself don't have much money to my name, so I would have no way to pay it anyway. 

{I need a lawyer to turn to. This time I cannot fall back on Mr Nakagawa. He is the company tax accountant. Even though he knows the company like the back of his hand, this time only a lawyer can settle my problem. Let it be finally settled by law. It's simple and easy. Anyway, Shino cannot turn me in to the police, and the lawyer is sure to be disappointed because it's too trivial a matter for his abilities.}


When We Were Oh So Young

He heard a knock on the door. It was his secretary.

Remaining recumbent, he took his smartphone from a pocket of his suit jacket and called his direct phone number. His secretary answered it. He told her that there was nothing for her to worry about.

{As I recall, I have nothing of value kept here. This means that I expected this day would come, eventually. Kensuke Kajita, you're a real piece of work.} He aligned his legs and sat up with a bounce. He sat cross-legged on the sofa. 

{I'll go to Mitsue's house after this, but what if she tells me not to come to her place anymore? Then I'll stay at a hotel tonight. But where can I stay tomorrow? And the day after tomorrow?}

Kensuke Kajita laughed loudly to himself. "Ha-ha! This is funny. Kensuke Kajita, you no longer have a place of safe refuge in this world. You know that?"

{I know where I stand now. Even so, if only I could give life another chance, I might be able to live a different life. I am still sixty-three. 

{But no, it's an obsession, nothing more than an obsession. I'm sure I'll end up repeating the same mistakes. I don't know why, but I think I'm haunted by something ー like Prometheus, who stole fire. Like Sisyphus, who drew fire from various gods. But no, I'm not that big a man.

{I'm sixty-three, and Mitsue forty-four. It's been fourteen years since we met. I was forty-nine, and she was thirty. Both of us were young, incredibly young at the time.}

A Lover's Child

{She had insisted that she didn't want any children. I supported her idea. I had had affairs with some women, but when our relationship would reach a certain stage they would start coveting a baby. As for me, I had been very careful not to get any of them pregnant. It was my idea of being responsible to both my wife and my lovers. But the women themselves harbored their own plans and desires.

{One day, I asked Mitsue whether she wanted a baby or not. I had thought it was about time to terminate our relationship. But Mitsue said that she had never thought about it. It surprised me.


{"Being a woman, you're able to produce offspring, yet you don't want to? Why?" I had asked her, and she had said, "I don't like children." I was surprised to hear that because I had thought every woman wanted to have babies. But at the same time, I was relieved. 

{"If she had said she wanted a baby, I would have tried to maintain an appropriate distance from her. I would have convinced myself that it was my compassion toward her.

{I was happy to know that we shared the same idea. But to my surprise, after four years, she casually confessed to me that she was pregnant, as though she had forgotten what she had said to me before.

{But I was not affronted. I had expected that would happen. It was like a sense of relief that things could have hardly gone worse after a bad die toss. Anyway, it's quite natural for a woman to get pregnant when a man and a woman make love. I had just been off-guard.} 

The Wise Wife

{I don't think that I had been fooled. When she said that she was pregnant and wanted to give birth, I was not sure how I really felt about it. But I was oddly convinced that that was a typical thing for a woman to do. 

{Truth be told, I didn't want to have a baby by another woman because I didn't want to let down Shino, and above all, my children. I was worried about how my children would take it. It would be more painful to see their disappointment than their anger.

{So I kept it hidden. Mitsue didn't seem to be bothered by it. I had my own reasons to need Mitsue. Shino and I haven't had sex for years. We've come to terms with it. She should have known that I would have affairs with other women from time to time. 

{She could have easily hired a private detective to unearth my adultery. But no clever woman would do such a thing. Shino knows that discovering the truth doesn't always help. She is a most wise woman.

{In the end, Mitsue gave birth to the baby. I told her that I would not legitimize the baby. I thought it sounded callous to her, but I chose Shino and our children over Mitsue, thinking that they were my responsibility.}

Makie's Place in Life

{Makie, my daughter by Mitsue, will grow up. I wonder what she will think of me once she has grown up. It's something that a parent cannot control. If she grows up to be so miserable a girl as to say that she never asked to be born, then I will have to reap what I have sown. 


{When Makie reaches twenty years of age, I will be seventy-five. I will probably still be alive. I thought that it would be best to state in my will that Makie will be legitimized as my daughter. I've heard of someone in the Junior Chamber International Japan Association who did that. 

{Of course, it doesn't mean I will have fulfilled my responsibility to Shino and our children. I just don't want to face the slings and arrows during my lifetime. I am aware of that. Life is not going the way I want it to.}

Then Kajita stopped thinking and stood up on his bare feet. He reached for his shoes and socks and put them on. He squatted on his heels to pull the sock over his right foot.

{I've been brought to this pass, but this can be a good chance to make a fresh start. I think I will die within twenty years anyway. I have a trust that I asked Mr Nakagawa to create for Mitsue in case I am survived by her. Thank God, the trust will be a big help to me now that I've been ousted from the company.

{Mr Nakagawa has been privy to things around me and suggested that I create a trust. I have no idea at all what the trust is like, but as usual, I asked him to take care of everything regarding it. Luckily that helps.}

Uncle Mitsuda's Plot


{Well, looking back, I had agreed to marry Shino according to my uncle's desire maybe because money was dangling in front of me. Uncle Mitsuda was always telling me to take over the company and to marry Shino as if it were what should happen. He also told me that he would buy me a house. 

{I hadn't given enough thought to it because I was young. I had been besotted with Shino, two years my elder. She had been smoking hot and voluptuous. Infatuation had gotten the better of me. She was sexually experienced, and it was quite natural for us to have fallen into a sexual relationship.

{Shino may have been strongly persuaded by Uncle Mitsuda to mentally and physically enslave me, a greenhorn at the time.

{I wonder when it was that I came to know that Shino was the actual owner of the company. I see no reason why Uncle Mitsuda had contrived such a thing. I wonder when I came to know of the relationship between Shino and Uncle Mitsuda.} 


A Congenial Life

{Despite my doubts, Shino and I had been congenial to each other in our sex life and daily life. We had lived a peaceful and pleasant life together. Before and after marriage, I am sure we had enjoyed fascinating times, times that existed in true reality as if I could touch them with my hands. 

{I don't care whom the company belongs to. I know in my bones that Shino and I had been one flesh. Or perhaps I had only been sheepish, but happy in a way, finding myself under the lee of Shino, two years my senior. 

{When Uncle Mitsuda died, I was still young. I had intended to become a lawyer in the future.

{My father had joined the company as the president at the request of Auntie Mitsuda. I had pretended to have no interest in Mukoujima Transport. But I doubted that I was talented enough to pass the bar exam. My father was nothing but an employed president, so I had the vague expectation that if I were to step into his shoes I would be able to live a comfortable life, together with my lovely wife and our children. And with the respect of the local community.

{Never did I imagine that Auntie Mitsuda would one day assault me like a hive of wasps. Does she have the right to because she is a shareholder? No way!

{This trap…I had never expected to fall for it. The general shareholders' meeting…}

What's Invisible Doesn't Exist

{It could be that Mitsue has two faces. She is forty-four. When I met her, she was thirty. I wonder if any woman, excluding my wife, would have been unfailingly faithful only to me for the entire time from when I was forty-nine to sixty-three. It may well be that she has had a relationship with another man.

{But what is invisible doesn't exist. I don't see and don't want to.

{When I become too physically weak to move, my luck will run out. The serpents and slugs that Mitsue releases to take revenge on me will slither their way into my body, bringing me a slow and lonely death without anyone to attend me.

{After all, born as a human, we are doomed to be repulsed, hated and unloved by everybody. What a life! No, life is a contraption full of traps and tricks. I will ask myself once again, "Have I done only wrong in my life?"


{But it's meaningless to ask myself such a question, because the answer is always the same. It's "No". 

{Whether or not I have kept doing wrong…I want the people of the world to judge this by the so-called norm of the world…. 

{Shall I ask a lawyer? It's the latest trend that the rules and even ethics of this world are in the hands of lawyers.

{Shall I confess what actually happened as honestly as possible to that lawyer, Mr  Toshitake Maehara, and ask him to judge me?

{It's like having a third-party committee with one member investigate the scandals of Kensuke Kajita. 

{If I'm judged to be corrupt, I have to brace myself for whatever will ensue.}

Continues in: Minority Shareholders, Chapter 28: Wife of the President


Minority Shareholders
Shin Ushijima, Esquire

Minority Shareholders is a work of fiction and any similarity to real characters, companies and cases is purely coincidental and unintentional. Sign up to join our mailing list and look for the next chapter every Saturday on JAPAN Forward.

Author: Shin Ushijima

The founding partner of Ushijima & Partners, lawyer Shin Ushijima has an enormous wealth of experience in international transactions, mergers, and acquisitions, dispute resolution, system development, anti-monopoly law, labor, and tax law. Concurrently, he heads an NPO called the "Japan Corporate Governance Network." And in his leisure moments, he writes fiction. Additional details on Shin Ushijima's career, awards, publications, and more are available at his website: Ushijima & Partners, Attorneys-at-Law.



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