Keys to the Kingdom
Illustration: Adam Fitzcharles

The real meaning of "To Earn is To Win"

*"Honorable poverty" is a Japanese expression for poor people who are poor through rightful acts and not seeking wealth.

So, it’s been written that “There is nothing you can’t buy with money” [Horie said] and he can praise honorable poverty extravagantly because he is so far from it,” and it looks like this was quote from the heading on the first item of my book “To Earn Is To Win” but actually, this is the wrong interpretation and if you read it, you will understand. [What I meant is] that as a way of building self-confidence, without relying on the advantages you were born with and riding on your parent’s coattails, how about gaining confidence through earning money? That was the proposal, and I wasn’t trying to say that if you rely on money then the world will be this or that. Somehow it seems that some sections have been misinterpreted…

I do not think that honorable poverty is bad, but I do think that if everyone started thinking along those lines, then no doubt the world would become a boring place. Well, I guess it’s about balance. We need people that earn a lot and spend a lot, and I don’t think it’s very good to ridicule that. Oh, by the way I am not a money-worshiper. Although I am sure many will object.

Additional Notes:
Oh, I think that obviously, there should be people who hold different values, and I’m not trying to push my values on others. However, I am just proposing that maybe that’s what we should do, and I try to act on that proposal, and if someone doesn’t accept it, I just think “Ah, they don’t agree” and that’s the end of that. I don’t try to criticize them. Honorable poverty is fine. Just, from my experience it tends to be that in many cases, people who are talking about “honorable poverty” have a bizarre relationship with money, and they act dirtily towards money. That’s why quite frankly, I feel uncomfortable towards people who are talking about this concept.

By the way, the titles “To Earn Is To Win” and “Complete Resistence” are both titles that the editor chose. Well, those are ideas that I approve of. Especially in “To Earn Is To Win,” the section titles are chosen by the editor, so they are probably as bit sensational. For me, I really want you to properly read the contents. Things like money, even if you save, is not useful. Unless you spend it. That’s why I’ve invested a lot into space development enterprises—-mankind’s dream. Someone somewhere said that my goal is to make money and that’s why I work, but that’s only partly true. It’s half wrong. To reach towards a big dream, you need big investment. That’s why I was earning money, and once I had earned money, I was planning on investing it, which is what I ended up doing. Although the amount of money is still only halfway there.

The reason for that is, the ideas are sometimes too fast for big projects such as those and it is not easily understood in general. In the past, Kings would invest recklessly in things like that but now, it can’t be like that as most countries are democratic republics. There would be many people who would be against the national budget being used for things that they don’t understand. Those types of people say this: “This isn’t the time to be doing something like that. Welfare and social security, the world’s starving—we should be donating to them.” Of course that is important, but so is the dream. Turning your back to stagnation, and a world maintaining the status quo, and how are young people meant to find hope in that? Even though it’s reckless and hard to understand for many people, I was busily making money so that I could invest it [in those ventures].

Being born into this world as a man, I wanted to leave at least one significant result, and I’m sure there are many who feel that way too. There is no doubt that to accomplish that, money is very helpful. Especially if you are not awarded with regional bonds and blood relationships. I think a culture which ridicules those people as being “upstarts” is ridiculous.

Note 2: I have a lot of dreams. Not just about space development. I only use the word “dream” because it’s easy to understand but it’s not the word that I want to use, and I haven’t really talked about “dreams” before. Because, if you say “dream,” it sounds like it is something that cannot be realized. As a kind of omen, I have used the word “objective,” but it seems that people feel refreshed by the word “dream.” So in order for me not to be misunderstood, I have decided to use the word “dream.”

And also, if you talk about just “dreams” and “ideals” then in reality, they are often likely to fail. In this world, it is likely that nothing will get done if you just talk about a “dream.” Within that, the biggest issue is probably “money.” Likewise, connections are also one of those. If you’re lucky enough to have connections, that’s good, but if like me, you’re a person without any connections, money becomes an even more important factor. I think that’s true for a lot of people. Therefore, if people treat money as a “dirty thing” and just keep talking about “dreams,” and you are influenced by those adults (advocates of dreams, or most of them anyway, just have “connections”), a lot of people are broken by the dream and live lives which are worn out of dreams. That is something I cannot forgive. That's why I wrote the truth. I said, “Money is important.”

Originally posted on

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