Mayumi Kotani grew up in southern Japan, in Kyoto prefecture, where women and men carried an equal load.
In her small fishing village, about 100 meters from the sea, her mother was an active worker, being the head of a local nursery school. Her father was in the military before starting his own business.
So when she began work at the company her husband founded, Kyoto-based Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd., a leading maker of take-out robots for injection molded products, she was used to being the only woman in the room. She has served as the president of the company since 2002, 12 years as vice president before then, and a total of 48 years as an executive.
Kotani is part of the 2021 Plastics Hall of Fame class, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be inducted in a ceremony in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 7. Kotani is just the fourth female to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She joins Donna Davis, Stephanie Kwolek and Maureen Steinwall.
Kotani was recently interviewed by Plastics News for the honor via a Zoom call.
"I'm extremely happy and I'm really grateful to all the people involved," she said in an interview translated by her daughter and current vice president of Yushin, Takayo Kotani.
Mayumi Kotani plans to step down from her role as representative director and president of Yushin. Takayo Kotani will take over the role effective on June 22 at the company's annual shareholders and board of directors meeting. Mayumi Kotani will then serve as an honorary chairperson for the company.