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The Japan Business Mastery Show aims to draw back the velvet curtain on what is rerally going on with doing business in Japan. Everything is so different here it can be confusing. This show will take you through all those minefields and position you for success in this market.
 
A freelance journalist Yuzuha Oka picks up trending business news each day from Japanese publications. Yuzuha have produced content for BBC, Reuters, ABC, Japan Times and more. 東大4年、フリーランスジャーナリストの岡ゆづはが、毎日一つ日本発の経済ニュースをピックアップして英語で振り返ります。ロイター通信で為替の記事を書いたり、BBC、東洋経済オンラインなどに執筆したり。取材を通じて日々勉強中です。 https://yuzuhaoka.wordpress.com/ https://yuzuhafood4thought.wordpress.com/
 
Japan's Top Business Interviews is the premier business interview podcast for people who want to know more about business in japan. The guests cover a range of industries and organisation sizes, to present a thorough overview of issues with leading in Japan. If you are a leader, especialy someone leading in Japan, then this is the podcast for you.
 
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show series
 
I was at a speech recently, given by a very prominent person, an extremely experienced speaker, to a very prestigious audience. There were two particular problems with the speech. One was it was set for 25 minutes but the speaker finished in 8 minutes. The second problem was that the most interesting part of the speech was not readily accessible fo…
 
Christian Wiedmann, President & CEO of BMW Group Japan had already arrived in Japan on one first stint back in the early 2000s. He was born in Thailand and grew up in the country for all of his youth. Due to this background, he seized the opportunity to run as the Chief Financial Officer in the BMW leasing business in various Asian countries such a…
 
“I gave my liver for my company” is a common refrain amongst Japanese salespeople. The other one is “I gave up my weekends for golf with the client”. What about foreigners selling here? Do we have to donate our liver to the cause and get divorced, because we are never spending any time with the family? There is a difference between bribing the buye…
 
Dan Kerrigan spent nearly six years with Citibank in Tokyo as Managing Direrctor, Head of Execution Services from 2009 until 2015. For the next seven years he had a number of roles in Hong Kong with Ohara Capital Partners Limited as Principal, then Managing Director, Head of Sales Trading and Execution Asia Paciific for BNP Paribas, later as CEO at…
 
It sounds so obvious that we should have structures for doing our project planning. However, the project team jumps straight into arranging the details of the project, without giving any thought to how the project should be approached. There are eight steps we can consider when we begin working on a project. Step 1: Define what is the “should be”. …
 
Yusuke Asai is presently the CEO at Standard Chartered bank in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Asai has spent over 32 years in the financial services industry. Mr. Asai credits much of his success and leadership qualities to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which he has read twice. Mr. Asai spent his first 10 years with a Japanese bank, …
 
Most talks and presentations we hear, we cannot recall. Why is that? We were there presumably because we had an interest. Part of the problem is the way people present their information in the first place. The slides are too dense and confusing. The delivery is done in a lethargic manner, devoid of passion, with zero body language backing up the ke…
 
Noboru Nakatani has been leading in a global environment in various industries including manufacturing, IT, finance, and consulting in France, US and Japan. He is currently the President and CEO of JASTEC Co., Ltd., a leading systems integrator in Japan. Mr. Nakatani graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University and holds a…
 
Salespeople don't set the price of what they sell. This is usually an obscure outcome decided by someone else inside the machine. It might actually be an elaborate process, where multiple variables are carefully calibrated, mathematical formulae are applied and a price is arrived at. Or, it might be a slightly moist index finger boldly thrust skywa…
 
Ikuo Yasuda is the Chairman, President and CEO of Pinnacle Inc. (IMAP Japan) and is an expert in M&A business in Japan with over 30 years of experience. Mr. Yasuda graduated from Hitotsubashi University in the late 70s and entered the Long-term Credit Bank of Japan (currently Shinsei Bank) where he eventually became a Joint General Manager. After o…
 
Project leadership is a task most leaders are never properly trained to perform and so the results are often underwhelming. Projects are too common. Because of this we take them for granted, seeing them as part of everyday work, but we don’t approach them properly. We usually gather the team together and then dive straight into the details of the p…
 
Yumiko Murakami is the General Partner and Founder of M Power Partners, Japan’s first ESG-focused global venture capital fund. The organization was founded by Ms. Murakami, along with Kathy Mastsui and Seki Miwa. Ms. Murakami was born and raised in Japan but studied in the US and spent a significant part of her adult life abroad. Upon returning to …
 
The content was really great and the way the words were put together was quite clever. The speech was a dud. It failed miserably because it was a written speech, read to us. He could have emailed it to all of us and we could have read it for ourselves. The next speaker just spoke. He wasn’t such a fluent talker, sometimes stumbling over some of his…
 
Mario Munoz is presently the President of Mölnlycke in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Munoz has a long-standing history with Japan, having first come to Japan in 1979, he was studying in middle and high school until 1982. He moved to France for the rest of high school, where he continued studying Japanese. Mr. Munoz was one of the lucky foreigners who was immer…
 
We all know that consistency is a fundamental requirement if we are going to establish trust with others. We ask buyers to purchase from us on the basis that we will be delivering what we say we will deliver, on time, at the agreed price point and quality. Saying you are reliable and trustworthy is hot air, until you prove it. Obviously once we get…
 
Christian Wolf, Managing Director of JAS Forwarding Japan originally moved to Japan straight out of university in Germany where he worked in the freight and logistics industry as a student. He first started out as a roads development manager at DHL, developing new business for air and ocean freight transportation from Germany to Japan. Upon moving …
 
We can control 100% of our attitude. Yes, but often we don’t. There are few things we can be 100% in control of and our attitude would have to rank at the top of things we really need to control. So you would think we would all be brilliant in this area. We aren’t and so why do we have problems? Part of the issue can be allowing past failures to sa…
 
Please listen to our most accessed episode of Japan's Top Business Interviews! Leading A Small Team In Japan - Kervin Go: Episode #5 Japan's Top Business Interviews Kervin Go CEO Of Curvature Japan Because it is easy to let your inner pride at being a leader override the humility that is necessary as a leader, it is important to meet with other peo…
 
Getting up in front of people is confronting for a lot of speakers. Beady eyes are boring into you, a sea of serious faces is scary, the lights are painfully bright and the pressure feels intense. You studiously avoid confronting eye contact, by staring down at your laptop screen or your notes. Or to leaven things up, you read the screen to the aud…
 
Mark Militello is the Country Representative of the Bank of New York Mellon. This is his third posting to Japan, though he has had a long history within the Investment banking space. He was most recently with the Bank of New York Mellon in Hong Kong for 10 years before relocating to Tokyo. When leading in Japan, Mr. Militello explains how Japanese …
 
Three woeful contributions from salespeople include "we have this widget", "you should have it?" and "we can discount the price". What a mess right there. Yet, left to their own devices, this is the type of nonsense salespeople say to clients. Serving the client's best interests is job one for salespeople, so why aren't they having a proper convers…
 
Mr. David Bennett has been in Japan for more than 10 years in total. He has lived in Japan throughout his student years, and came back after graduation on the JET program for two years before joining AMD, an American multinational semiconductor company in Tokyo. His first leadership role would be with Lenovo Japan and NEC. Currently, Mr. Bennett ha…
 
“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do”. This quote from one of the pioneers of the self-help movement, Dale Carnegie, marked a major change in how people thought about the future. Up until the 1920s, fate and God’s will were the more common explanations for what would become of us. Psychology…
 
William “Bill” Hall is currently the President at Ipsos Healthcare Japan Ltd. Mr. Hall has a long-standing history with Japan. He first visited the country in 1969 on a scholarship for post-graduate research, having majored in Japanese and Economics at Sydney University. After graduation, Mr. Hall worked in the consulting and marketing research fie…
 
Every performance is better when practiced beforehand and presenting is no different. We are putting ourselves out there when we present, so don’t miss it, there is a lot on the line. We need to ensure we are a triumph rather than a joke. The way to do that is to practice beforehand. How do we do that, what are some best practices to help us? We ne…
 
Jennelle “Jennie” Petit is the President of TUV Rheinland in Japan. Over 30 years, Ms. Petit has gone through different positions in a various companies including the service and manufacturing industry. Her first leadership experience was after her first year in Japan when she was training new teachers who had come to Japan to teach English. In the…
 
Cold calling is an unheralded intervention into someone's already packed schedule. They are distracted by the phone from what they were concentrating on, so they are automatically annoyed. They are time conscious because this call was not planned. The person calling them is an unknown quantity, so the trust factor is zero or less. They have been co…
 
Originally from Australia, Mr. Campbell Hanley is presently the Managing Director of Weber Shandwick, Japan. After graduating from university, Mr. Hanley was looking to go to a country that was non-English speaking, which led him to Japan. Since then, Mr. Hanley has worked with various organizations, the latest being Weber Shandwick for the last 8 …
 
Peter Drucker has this great quote. “Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and under performance. Everything else requires leadership”. In this modern day and age, why do still encounter these three horseman of the apocalypse of organizational dis-function? Each signals its own raft of challenges, magnified even f…
 
Ernest (Ernie) Higa shares his extensive leadership and entrepreneurial experience starting from his mid-20s succeeding his family business and leading various industries including lumber, medical device, and food and services. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mr. Higa graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in In…
 
How should we reproduce the content we have designed for our talk? Do we have to remember it exactly, memorise it so we can be faithful to our speech design and message? If it is a very short speech, you can try and memorise it, but these are usually very special occasions. Japan is a very formal country, so if you are asked to speak at a friend or…
 
Originally from Austria, Mr. Dieter Haberl has a wide array of experiences, the most recent being the President and CEO of Furla Japan. Previously, Mr. Haberl has worked with well known names in the retail space such as Adidas, Toys R Us, Lacoste, Reebok, and GAP. Mr. Haberl went to the US after high school. He first went to Northern Michigan for h…
 
Originally from Austria, Mr. Dieter Haberl has a wide array of experiences, the most recent being the President and CEO of Furla Japan. Previously, Mr. Haberl has worked with well known names in the retail space such as Adidas, Toys R Us, Lacoste, Reebok, and GAP. Mr. Haberl went to the US after high school. He first went to Northern Michigan for h…
 
It always astonishes me that many salespeople have very little sense of proper timing to start selling their product or service. In the sales call, they are in a rush to get down to business. Japan has mastered the idea of building some rapport before starting the sales conversation. Small talk predominates at the commencement of the meeting and th…
 
Masatsugu Shimono is the former Senior Vice President at IBM Japan. Mr. Shimono has a longstanding career of 40 years with IBM, primarily in Tokyo but with a short stint in New York. Mr. Shimono majored in Computer Science at his university when computers were new and computer science was quite different to what it is now. Mr. Shimono says that to …
 
We find it frustrating when we have good ideas or suggestions but all we receive is rejection or even worse criticism of our ideas. Part of it can be the culture of the organization. When someone savages our contribution they cancel our idea creation ticket right there. However my crazy, unworkable, ridiculous, stupid idea might be tweaked by you i…
 
Philippe Jardin is the Country Manager for Pierre Fabre in Japan. His interest in the global world was greatly inspired by his parents who had an interest in Asia. Mr. Jardin learned Judo in school and during business school he had an opportunity to learn Japanese. As a part of the curriculum, which included doing internships, Mr. Fabre chose to do…
 
Formulistic presentations tick the boxes, but don’t ignite much enthusiasm in the audience. The things that go missing are often passion and commitment about the topic. Additionally, it may be an already low energy, flat delivery is further hindered by a poor structure. We enter a room full of pre-occupied people, with microscopic attention spans, …
 
Hans Werner Burg is currently the Representative Director for Leschaco KK in Tokyo Japan. Originally from Germany, Mr. Werner Burg describes himself as a working-class kid raised in Western Germany close to the French border. He went to university to study Business Administration and that was when he had the opportunity to do an internship at a sub…
 
I am a buyer too and am constantly amazed by what some people get up to. They are playing that pathetic, failed salesperson game named “process of elimination”. You don’t like that one, well then how about this one, or this one, or this one, ad nauseam? I want “blue” but they keep showing me 50 shades of “pink”. Let’s improve our approach. There is…
 
Scott Smalley is presently the Managing Director of DSV in Japan. Mr. Smalley is originally from Michigan in the United States and his first introduction to Japan was through an exchange he did with Japan during his schooling at Michigan State University. He returned to the US to finish his degree in Economics and Anthropology before starting to ex…
 
Sakaiya Taichi, well known author and futurist, made an interesting observation about the current trend of Japanese society. He referred to Japan’s current lack of yoku (desire), yume (dreams) and yaruki (guts). What does this mean for business and for our companies if we are staffed by young people without these three Ys? As leaders, how can we re…
 
Per Rasmussen is currently the President and Representative Director for Millet Mountain Group, Japan. Mr. Rasmussen is originally from Denmark, and he studied Business at University of Southern Denmark. His first introduction to Japan was through his Japanese wife who was based in Denmark when they first met and his first job after graduating was …
 
Listen to our most popular episode in sales for The Japan Business Mastery Show! I subscribe to various sites that send you useful information, uplifting quotes etc. The following morsel popped into my inbox one morning, “People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care–Anonymous”. Wow! What a powerful reminder of the things t…
 
Doug Hymas was the previous Japan Country Executive for the Bank of New York Mellon Group. Many years ago, during his college days, Mr. Hymas served in Japan as a Mormon missionary based in Tokyo. He returned after this stint and finished up college at the Brigham Young University (BYU) back in the US. He developed an interest for Japan, while he w…
 
It is so easy to become “Johnny One Note” when presenting. We get locked into a modality of voice and body language power. We just keep hammering away with that mode throughout the whole talk. That might be fine for us, but for our audience it is killing them If we have a lot of energy, are excited about our topic and eager to share the goodies wit…
 
Mitch Kristofferson is currently the Director of Customer Service Japan for UpClear. Mr. Kristofferson was a Pre-Med student during his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University. His first experience of Japan was when he came on exchange, and was place in a teaching hospital at Yamaguchi prefecture. He graduated from his undergraduate degree and wor…
 
The legal profession is one of the last holdouts, still clinging to the misguided belief that being smart equals getting the client’s business. Big mistake. Lawyers have spent a lot of time studying to pass their bar exams. When they graduate, they are the white collar galley slaves, shackled to legal partner’s teams, doing the grunt work for years…
 
Peter Cammaerts is currently the Managing Director, AB InBev in Japan. Mr. Cammaerts is originally from Belgium. He studied in Leuven in Belgium, which is still where AB’s headquarters are located. He started working at AB as a student and worked in different positions first as a sales rep where he was visiting stores and ensuring good store execut…
 
Time is life and time is money – we know this, but do we organize ourselves well enough with this in mind. The disappearance of Executive Assistants and Secretaries reflects the dominance of the keyboard and a DIY approach to work content creation by leaders. Once upon a time, the majority of boss content output was produced by others, a magical ti…
 
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