Makoto Iida was born in the heart of Tokyo in 1933. The family home was near Nihonbashi, or ‘Japan Bridge’, in the Nihonbashi district of the city. For centuries the bridge marked the starting point of the Tokaido, the highway linking Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto, and four other politically and economically significant highways penetrating to different parts of Honshu, Japan’s main island. Road distances are still measured from this point. It was near Nihonbashi that William Adams, the first Englishman to live in Japan and a model for James Clavell’s novel, Shogun, resided. A ship’s pilot, he was called Miura Anjin (Pilot) for the twenty years (1600–20) he lived in the country. Many of Japan’s oldest banks, trading houses, and department stores were founded and still remain in the Nihonbashi district. In the present century the area has become the home of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It was in this urban commercial environment that Makoto Iida spent his childhood. The youngest in his family, he had five brothers, the eldest of whom died at the age of six months. His father was Monjiro Iida, and his mother Fusa Ohtsubo, daughter of a well-established wholesaler of traditional Japanese paper.