"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to both education and business. Looking back to our early days, I never imagined that our school and company would grow as much as they have."
Paul Broman is Honorary Chairman and founder of GrapeCity, Inc. Born in 1927 in the United States, he emigrated to Japan in 1950 and became a Japanese citizen in 1970, adopting a Japanese name, Masaru Iwasa, at that time.
Paul majored in education at Tamagawa University in Tokyo and became a teacher at the American School in Tokyo. In 1967, he took the initiative in founding the Keimei Elementary School in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan; soon after, he founded MeySen Academy in Sendai, a school that today has more than 4,000 students. Both schools emphasize teaching English and Chinese to young children. Paul also founded Bunka Orient Corporation, the forerunner of GrapeCity – originally as an importer of handicrafts from India.
In 1980, when the first personal computers began coming to market, Paul saw them as a great opportunity to streamline the schools' operations. Realizing that there was an unmet need for PC software aimed at the Japanese market, he worked with Daniel Fanger and Nobuo Iwasa to turn Bunka Orient Corporation into a software development company – initially with the aim of creating software solutions for schools. The company's first product was LeySer Services for school management, which Paul used to help run MeySen Academy as well as selling the software to other schools. The company later expanded into a range of other software products and services.
In addition to his other accomplishments, Paul has a large family. He and his wife, Setsuko, live in Sendai, Japan, and have 13 boys and 9 girls, 12 of whom were adopted at infancy. Several of them are now working in GrapeCity and the MeySen Academy.
Reflecting back on his career, Paul says, "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to both education and business. Looking back to our early days, I never imagined that our school and company would grow as much as they have. I give much of the credit for that to the excellent skills and hard work of our staff. I have always felt blessed to have such a fine group of people supporting our efforts."