Kaizen Institute Announces the Passing of its founder, Masaaki Imai


13 June 2023

With saddened hearts, we share with you the passing of Kaizen Institute’s founder; a husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, colleague, and Sensei – Masaaki Imai.

To those who were fortunate to get to know him during his full 92 years of life, he was truly the Father of KAIZEN™. He reached out to millions of people globally, through his books, lectures, articles, and via Kaizen Institute (KI). We will remember his determination, as well as his humor.

Since the founding of Kaizen Institute in June of 1985, at the age of 54, Imai lived to spread this methodology to the world, long after he established Japan’s leading executive recruiting firm, Cambridge Research Institute, in 1962. At the age of 90, he concluded the trilogy of the KAIZEN™ book series, with Strategic KAIZEN™, published in 2021. Yesterday, on 12 JUN 2023, he passed away peacefully.  Although he will be missed terribly, he and his love for KAIZEN™ will live in all of us. 

Imai was born on 1 SEP 1930 in Tokyo, Japan. Even since his childhood years, he always had the attitude to reflect and do better, as written in his journals and seen in his actions. He entered Tokyo University and that eventually lead him going to the United States, working as an interpreter for the Japan Productivity Center.  His time in the US became one of the foundations for him to write the first KAIZEN™ book, which became a global bestseller – the proverbial ‘bible’ of Continuous Improvement.

He put the holistic KAIZEN™ methodology together, beyond what any Japanese companies were doing for the betterment of their own operations under the term ‘kaizen’. KAIZEN™ was then born as a universal approach to any organizations’ strategy and how companies shall manage their operations, based on his diligent and tireless research, conviction, and firm principles.

As we move forward in both our personal and business journey, we ask you to continue to embrace the KAIZEN™ spirit, and always learn, grow, and improve with all that you do, while helping others do the same along the way.

Should you feel the desire to send anything, we do humbly request that you refrain from doing so, except for memorable photos, videos or stories of Imai, which can be sent to, which we will most welcome and appreciate.

Kaizen Institute’s Global Leadership Team and all KI members are determined to carry forward what Imai believed in and achieved in his life’s work towards KAIZEN™. In Loving Memory and Life Celebration of Masaaki Imai.


PDF Download


Kaizen Institute, Ltd.

HQ Global Operations – Zug, Switzerland



Get the latest news about Kaizen Institute