Kaoru Ishikawa

 Kaoru Ishikawa

Born: July 13, 1915  

Died: April 16, 1989

Best known for: ​Ishikawa Diagram, Seven Basic Quality Tools, Quality Circles, Company-wide Quality

Ishikawa is best known for:

Ishikawa Diagram

Also known as Cause-and-effect Diagram or Fishbone Diagram.

Seven Basic Quality Tools

Seven Basic Quality Tools were first emphasized by Ishikawa.

Quality Circles

Ishikawa introduced the concept of Quality Circles.

Company-wide Quality

Ishikawa believed that quality must be company-wide.

Perhaps the most dominant leader in JUSE, Kaoru Ishikawa also served as president of the Japanese Society for Quality Control and the Musashi Institute of Technology and co-founded and served as president of the International Academy for Quality. Upon retirement, he was named professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Honorary Member of ASQ and the honorary member of the International Academy for Quality.

He wrote 647 articles and 31 books, including two that were translated into English:
Introduction to Quality Control and What Is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way. He is well known for coming up with the concept for the fishbone shaped diagram, known as the Ishikawa or cause and effect diagram, used to improve the performance of teams in determining potential root causes of their quality problems.


​​Developed and delivered the first basic quality control course for the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers (JUSE)


​Credited with creating the Japanese quality circle movement.


​ASQ named a national medal after him, recognizing him as a “distinguished pioneer in the achievement of respect for humanity in the quality disciplines.”

 Company-wide Quality

    Kaoru Ishikawa built on Feigenbaum’s concept of total quality and suggested that all employees have greater role to play, arguing that an over-reliance on the quality professional would limit the potential for improvement. Maintaining that company-wide participation was required from the top management to the front-line staff. As every area of an organization can affect quality, all areas should study statistical techniques and implement as required with internal and external Quality Audit programmes. Going on to name areas such as engineering, design, manufacturing, sales, materials, clerical, planning, accounting, business and personnel that can not only improve internally but also provide the essential information to allow strategic management decisions to be made concerning the company.

    Under the “company-wide” Ishikawa umbrella are not just a company’s internal quality control activities but the company itself, the quality of management, human respect, after sales service and customer care. Therefore suggesting the following benefits:

  • Reduced defect
  • Improved product quality is improved
  • Quality improvement becomes the norm
  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased quality of production
  • Waste is identified and reduced
  • Rework is identified and reduced
  • Improvement techniques are established and continually improved
  • Inspection and after-the-fact expenses are reduced
  • Contracts are rationalized
  • Sales and market opportunities are increased
  • Company reputation is increased
  • Interdepartmental barriers are broken down and communication becomes easier
  • False and inaccurate data is reduced
  • Meetings are more effective and focused
  • Repairs and maintenance are rationalized
  • Improvement in human relations
  • Company loyalty is increased
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