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The Buddhist Monk Using Age-Old Wisdom to Shape Robotics

ZMP may hold IPO as soon as September, person familiar says.
Hisashi Taniguchi, president and CEO of ZMP.

Hisashi Taniguchi, president and CEO of ZMP.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Hisashi Taniguchi took a sabbatical from developing software for driverless taxis and drones to pilgrimage to a Buddhist temple in western Japan. He shaved his head, donned black robes and studied to become the shrine’s leader.

He passed the test, yet within a week was back at the Tokyo offices of ZMP Inc., overseeing his robotics company in a more-typical wardrobe of jeans and red Converse sneakers. As ZMP’s founder and chief executive officer, he tries to sync millennia-old teachings with efforts to make artificial intelligence part of everyday life.