Do you know David Atkinson?

The other day, I had the opportunity to hear his lecture, and I also read his books, I got a new awareness. Therefore, this time, I will introduce him.


(1) Who is David Atkinson?

His bio is as follows. (Some excerpt from Wikipedia)


He learned Japanese studies at Oxford University. He worked for Andersen Consulting (the predecessor of Accenture) and Solomon Brothers and came to Japan around 1990. In 1992 he moved to Goldman Sachs and worked as an analyst, pointed out a huge amount of bad debts sleeping at Japanese banks after the collapse of the bubble economy. After being promoted to a partner in 2006, he left the company in 2007.

After retiring from analysts and devoting to Japanese tea ceremony, he joined Konishi Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd., which is repairing Japanese national treasures and important cultural properties, in 2009. In 2010 he became chairman of the company. After that, as an expert of Japanese cultural assets, he also makes suggestions on Japanese cultural property policies and tourism policies. From June 2017, assumed the special adviser of Japan National Tourism Organization.




(2) What is the inconvenient truth of Japan that Mr. David Atkinson exposes?

In his book “新・所得倍増論”(new edition – income doubling theory), he pointed out the low productivity of Japan.

For example, we, Japanese people have been heard the brilliant achievements of the Japanese economy as follows.


GDP = 3rd in the world

Export value = 4th in the world

Number of Nobel laureates = 7th in the world



However, he insists that “Because these are all influenced by the high population of Japan, we should see per capita figures, not absolute numbers.” Therefore, when looking at the above three items “per capita”, it turns out


GDP = 27th in the world

Export value = 44th in the world

Nobel laureate winners = 39th in the world


and it is never a special country.


For reference, the export value is only 48% of Germany (3rd in the world). Moreover, since the population of Japan is 1.6 times more than Germany, the per capita export value of Japan is only 1/3 of that of Germany.


He mentioned the incompetence of Japanese executives as follows, touching on Japan’s population decline problem.

“Japan was booming in the 1970s not because Japanese executives were excellent because they benefited from population bonus due to the rapid increase in population. When the population declined in the 1990s, it was necessary to completely change the way of economy, but Japanese executives did not recognize it. In Japanese-style management so far, emphasis was placed on “management” of things. It is fine for the time of constant growth, but now is different. Despite the fact that there are the most competent workers in the world, Japanese executives who showed only the lowest productivity in developed countries can be said to be ‘crisis’. ”



(3) Three points when telling the message to Japanese people

I was able to take the above-mentioned “inconvenient truth” obediently. I think that there are the following reasons.


  • He uses objective data.
  • He is familiar not only with the Japanese economy but also with Japanese culture.
  • We can feel his passion of “I want to improve Japan”


And I think, these three points are also important when non-Japanese people persuades or advises the Japanese. For example, when you suggest something to your Japanese boss or Japanese management or Japanese clients, if you clear these three points, the success rate will be high.


デービッド・アトキンソン 新・所得倍増論

(ISBN-13: 978-4492396353)



デービッド・アトキンソン 新・観光立国論

(ISBN-13: 978-4492502754)

For those who are involved in inbound business, this book is also recommended.

It is recommended to read Japanese business magazines for business Japanese learning. Newspapers are also good, but since there are many new topics, the information can be sporadic, so the magazine is better to intensively read topics of interest in feature articles etc. Besides, information is useful for business, so it is two birds with one stone.

So, I tried searching for business magazines at Fujisan, a Japanese No1 online bookshop for magazine’s, but I hit 1375 cases! Too many to choose best one. Although it is recommended to go to a bookstore and actually see the contents, it is also hard to compare all magazines.

So this time, I will introduce the top 5 business magazines sold in Japan and 5 other recommended magazines, totaling I selected 10 magazines.

The sales circulation TOP 5 from January to March 2018 is as follows. (*2)


No1: PRESIDENT (319,933 copies)

In 1963 it was launched as the Japanese edition of FORTUNE USA. For managers and business leaders. Publication twice a month. It deal with a wide range of subjects ranging from high quality business information, skill ups and lifestyle.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan


No2: Weekly DIAMOND (週刊ダイヤモンド:125,833 copies

First published in 1913. A business weekly magazine that is most popular in bookstores. In addition to economic, financial, and corporate information, it has plenty of diverse serial articles and columns.

There are also many contents for young employees.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan


No3: Weekly TOYO KEIZAI (週刊東洋経済 : 90,250 copies

First published in 1895. Feature articles on seasonal themes and of various companies, there are many useful information for all generation including a student in job hunting. You can grasp the latest topic of the Japanese economy.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan


No4: THE21 (49,400 copies

First published in 1984. Monthly magazine. Many information is useful for self-improvement.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan


No5: DIAMOND Harvard Business Review (ハーバード・ビジネス・レビュー : 20,700 copies)

The only comprehensive management magazine in Japan that fully cooperated with Harvard Business Review magazine in the United States. For managers and business leaders.

Sharp suggestions and explanations coming from opinion leaders are popular. It has plenty of information on strategy and analysis.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan



Since all of these are dealing with a wide range of information, you can choose from your interests and positions of work.

Although it did not enter the top 5 in the number of sales, there are also many magazines that I would like to recommend. The following are some of them.



Trendy information magazine introducing the latest trends and latest products. There are many easy-to-read contents.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan


Monthly JIGYO KOUSOU (月刊事業構想)

Professional journal on corporate activity, regional creation, innovation. Monthly magazine. For managers / new business planning staff.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan



Specialized magazine of advertisement, advertisement, and marketing. Published twice a month.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan



As its name suggests, it is a specialty magazine for online sales. Monthly magazine. Since it is not sold at a bookstore, go to the following link for purchase.

Buy this at Fujisan



The only M & A special monthly magazine in Japan. For people involved in M & A.

Buy this at Amazon / Buy this at Fujisan

I added links to Amazon and to Fujisan, but please note that images and links are not limited to the latest issue. At Amazon, it is easier to order one book, but at Fujisan, they offer discounts of up to 50% when subscribing. They delivers it to your home (limited to Japan only) and e-book version can also be read.

If you want to know other magazines, please consult your J-OS instructor or support team (^^)/


*1: As of July 9, 2018

*2: Source:Japan Magazine Publishers Association


If you are working in Japan, you will often go to karaoke in a second party etc.

If you sing at karaoke and you can enjoy it with the Japanese, you can enjoy deepening relationship with your business partners.


The difficult thing for foreigners will be choosing a song that will be appreciated by Japanese people.

So, I will teach you the site introducing the ranking of Japanese songs by age.


1950’s Ranking:

1960’s Ranking:

1970’s Ranking:

1980’s Ranking:

1990’s Ranking:

2000’s Ranking:


* You can jump to the ranking of TOP 50 for each year from the link above.

* If you click on each song title, you will be connected to YouTube so you can listen to that song.


The point is “Choose songs that were popular when people going along were around 18 to 22”.

Because people listen to music the most during these ages.


For example, in my case, I often listened music from 1996 to 2000, so I checked the yearly ranking of 1996 to 2000. As a result, I found that each TOP 50 songs by year were very familiar.


If a person going to karaoke with you is around 50 years old, that person may often listens to songs of 1984 to 1988, so it is better to check these pages.


If you know old Japanese songs, it will be a good conversational material. Also, learning the song lyrics is useful for Japanese study.


How many chat topics do you have?

“Chat” is an easy talk without deciding the theme. As well as talking with family and friends, chatting is essential in dates and business.

When I ask the Japanese businessmen around me, they say that the chat is very important.

One of them insists that “If you do various interesting talks and impress the other person with your charm, business negotiations will proceed. If you talk about the product from the beginning, no one will succeed.”

I agree that it is more necessary to sell yourself than goods.


People who don’t run out of things to talk about are called “people with many drawers.”

Let’s hold a number of drawers in your head.

Here are four examples of chatting.


1, Weather talk

Japanese love to talk about the weather. It is likely to start from this topic in many cases. You do not have to talk from yourself. Please try to enrich the story of the weather that the other person speaks. Please keep in mind that you always return it positive way.


A-san: “It is cold today, is not it?”

B-san: “Yes, it is said that it is the coldest winter this winter, but the cold weather makes hot sake delicious, so why do not we go drinking together next time?


2, News stories

From now on, let’s check the Japanese news. Besides big news, an interesting news such as “baby panda in Ueno” are also useful. If the other person likes animals or cute things, you may be able to mix those topics in the middle of the story. Also, Ueno is famous as a sightseeing spot, so you can use it when that story comes up. Television, internet and radio are useful, and referring advertisements in the train is also helpful to know outline of news. If you have news you care about, look it up on the spot with a smartphone.


3, Review your country

How well do you know about your country? Let’s check not only cultures and customs, but also current trends in your country. By knowing how it is different from Japan, you may be interested in the other party. You may also find the same place as Japan. A special products of your city is a good topic to talk about.


4, School days experiences

Have you tried hard on something? Not only your major field of study, but also part time job or your boom at that time can be a good topic for chat. It would be better to summarize some of the hardships into episodes rather than having fun. Japanese people are interested in how you have studied Japanese. Let’s recall, for example, what was difficult and what kind of words you liked.


Some people think that, “Even if I have stories, I cannot speak well!” However, listening to chats properly is one of the most important things. Especially for the people from Chinese background, I recommend that it is better to nod more than you normally do when listening the conversation.

Do you know what kind of Japanese company is good for advancing your career?


The following are the two checkpoints:

(1) the company has developed international business

(2) the company has actively implemented the policy of employing foreign nationals


In contrast, it is suggested that you should avoid choosing “super localized companies” with the following conditions:

  • business development in Japan only
  • all employees of the company are Japanese

Below I will show you how to evaluate a company’s employment conditions in order to separate from super localized companies.


First of all, you have to check the company’s “domestic and overseas sales ratio” and “the proportion of foreign employees.” There are many relevant information and data for the public, you should be able to find both checkpoints easily. However, making judgement just according to this information is not enough. Because even if the company has a higher proportion of overseas sales, it may be commissioned by the overseas trading companies for the sales operations. With regard to the number of foreign workers, the company may include foreign employees who are living and working overseas, while there are no foreign nationals in Japan office.


So, I suggest you more checkpoints as follows:

(3) whether or not any foreign nationals are employed in the management layer

(4) whether or not any foreign nationals are employed in the HR team


If there are foreign nationals working in the management layer, it can be said that the company has a relatively high possibility of developing a global business, and has a higher number of English-speaking Japanese employees.


In addition, it is supposed that the HR team is usually the most localized department. If there are foreign nationals working in the HR team, it can be said that the company’s diversity is making good progress. Coupled with the perspective of foreign employees carrying out recruitment and training, it can be said that the company can provide foreign nationals a friendly working environment.

What do you sell?

March 28, 2018

Overseas travelers to Japan were asked what they would like to take home with them and try to sell as a business. Here are the interesting results.

No. 1 Gourmet foods

Japanese food, ramen, and Japanese candy were popular answers.

Okonomiyaki, curry, tsukemono, sesame dressing, furikake and other such items were also popular.

Suprisingly, many travelers also liked Japanese bread.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir liked Japanese bread so much he opened a Japanese style bakery in Kuala Lumpur.


No. 2 The Japanese character and way of thinking

Many travelers also said they would like to make a business out of the Japanese mentality, consideration toward others, hospitality and politeness.

No. 3 Traditional culture

Traditional items like kimonos, yukatas, bonsai trees, hand towels, and Japanese sake.


No. 4 Cosmetics

This was particularly a big hit among Asian visitors who also bought cosmetics as souvenirs.

During Chinese New Year, Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstores are full of travelers from China.


No. 5 Pop culture

Otaku, anime, print club photo booths, and so on.


Stationery, the Japanese transportation system, and kotatsu (discussed in the last newsletter) also ranked high.

Japanese businesses have been aggressively developing transportation infrastructure projects similar to the shinkansen and Japanese subway system overseas, so maybe the Japanese transportation system will eventually be used in everyone’s country.





I’d like to introduce you to funny non-Japanese celebrities living and working in Japan.

【Atsugiri Jason】

Jason became famous for his phrase “Why Japanese People!” to lament the difficulty of the Japanese language.

He wanted to be a comedian in Japan, but they don’t give out visas for that, so he came to Japan and joined an IT company that was expanding in Japan. Later, he attended an entertainer training school, and has continued both jobs until the present time.



This comedian works as a team with a Japanese comedian. He not only appears on comedy shows, he also does other work as the moderator of an English education program and a commentator. He is actually a prodigy and graduate of Harvard.



【Chad Mullane】

Chad dreamed of becoming a comedian. When he came to Japan to study abroad he felt Japanese comedy is the best in the world. After graduating from high school, he entered entertainer training school. Now, in addition to working as a comedian, he also works as a translator, translating many Japanese comedy movies.


I have three reasons for telling you about these people.

First, they are all are very good at Japanese.

Second, just like Jason Atsugiri, you can come to Japan and work at a job for which a visa is relatively easy to get, and then find work in the kind of job you really want.

Third, Pak-kun and Chad get many offers to do work other than being comedians. In other words, it’s important to have a career plan once you arrive in Japan.


During my grade school days in Japan, there was an extracurricular activity, called a “social studies field trip”, where I got to visit a local factory.

In recent years, more and more companies are actively accepting factory tours in order to create corporate fans, and field trips for adults are very popular. Such tours can easily be enjoyed, because they usually are free or cost only a few hundred yen.


I have primarily selected spots close to Tokyo.

Note that in some cases you must apply in advance, or there may be age restrictions or limits on the number of people in a group. Check with each site for details. Most websites are in Japanese only, but try to do the best you can.



Beer tastes significantly different depending on the country. Japanese beer is relatively easy to get used to for people from overseas.

Almost all beer factories allow beer tasting, so I recommend these tours for beer lovers.


KIRIN(Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture) 


ASAHI(Minamiashigara City, Kanagawa Prefecture)


SUNTORY(Fuchuu City, Tokyo)


SAPPORO(Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture)


Japanese Sake

For Japanese sake, there is a huge warehouse called a sakagura (酒蔵) that you can tour.


SAWANOI (Oume City, Tokyo)


KOYAMASHUZO (Kita Ward, Tokyo)


ISHIKAWASHUZO(Fussa City, Tokyo)



Soy Souce

You can also see how soy sauce, an integral part of Japanese cuisine, is made.


Yugeta Soy Sauce (Hidaka City, Saitama Prefecture)


Kikkoman Soy Sauce (Noda City, Chiba Prefecture) site)



Automobiles and Motorcycles

You can see the history of Japanese cars and motorcycles, and famous cars from the past. These tours should be irresistible to car and motorcycle enthusiasts.


TOYOTA(Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture)


NISSAN (Several plant tours exist)


HONDA (Several plant tours exist)


MAZDA (Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture)


SUBARU (Oota City, Gunma Prefecture)


SUZUKI(Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture)


KAWASAKI (Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture) tours)(English site) City, Hyogo Prefecture)

(Kawasaki limits tours to motorcycle clubs only)


YAMAHA(Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture)



The airplane hangars are incredibly impressive.


JAL (Oota Ward, Tokyo)


ANA (Oota Ward, Tokyo)



You can even buy gifts and souvenirs. There’s even a place that offers all-you-can-eat ice cream for free!


glico (Kitamoto City, Saitama Prefecture)



(Hokkaido, Tochigi Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture)


AKAGI (Honjoo City, Saitama Prefecture)

*This is the manufacturer of the popular Garigari Kun ice cream in Japan.


chateraise (Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture)


unagipai(Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture)


shiroikoibito(Sapporo City, Hokkaido)

(English site)


royce (Chitose City, Hokkaido) site)





(Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture) site)

You can make your own original cup ramen, including drawing a picture on the container and choosing the ingredients.


Yamato (Oota Ward, Tokyo)

You can tour the latest facilities of a Japanese distribution company that delivers luggage quickly and accurately.

Railway-Museum (Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture) site)

This is a museum, so it is a little bit different from a social studies field trip, but it is a very popular spot for those who like trains.


In Japan, the way of thinking about side jobs is changing.

It became a hot topic that Softbank, Japan ‘s major telecom giant, allowed their workers to do side jobs since November 2017.



■ Why did this movement happen?

There are five main reasons.

  • As a Japanese employment system, seniority and lifetime employment are famous, but this system is changing.
  • Anxiety about pension.
  • Pursuit of diverse lifestyle
  • With the spread of nets and tools, it became easier to have side jobs.

・Because it is a shortage of talented people, it also has the aim of recruiting and holding excellent talent by allowing various ways of working.


■ Main side jobs being done in Japan

  • Asset management (eg real estate management)
  • Utilization of idle assets (eg Airbnb, Anyca) in the sharing economy * UBER is not operating in Japan.
  • Second-hand goods sale (example: Amazon Marketplace, Ebay, Mercari, Yahoo auction)
  • Internet Talent business, Internet Advertisement business (eg YouTuber, blogger)
  • Utilize skills and qualifications (eg translation, interpreting, weekend soccer referee, rafting guide)


■ Side jobs unique to Non-Japanese people

There are an increasing number of Japanese people who start business for overseas / foreigners around me. So, in addition to translation, interpreting, demand for overseas market research etc seems to grow further. Language teachers will be needed more.



Your knowledge and skills are required more and more, but we strongly recommend that you check your employment rules and laws.

There are still many companies banning side jobs under the employment regulations. Please pay attention to VISA, too. If you earn income for operations other than what is stipulated in VISA, it will be regarded as “unauthorized activity” and become illegal here in Japan.


There is no doubt that opportunities are increasing, so follow the rules and get your success.



Mergers and acquisitions have become a popular business strategy for companies looking to expand into new markets. Nowadays, buying and selling websites has become most popular in Japan as well. There are also business advisors and brokers specialized in buying and selling websites.

The main functions required of the M&A advisors are as follows:

  1. look for a seller or a buyer
  2. provide negotiation support
  3. conclude a business transaction


M&A advisory firms typically charge a commission (in form of ~% of contract price) when a business transaction is concluded. Business brokers specialized in buying and selling websites are always the same. In this article, we will introduce four major companies engaged in brokerage services for buying and selling websites in Japan.



(1) Sitecathcer


–Operator : Faber Company, Inc.

–Fee (1) without brokerage service – direct negotiation

-Basic fee : N/A

-Commission : 3% of the contract price

-Minimum commission : 50,000 yen

–Fee (2) with brokerage service

-Basic fee : 100,000 yen

-Commission : Commission for contract price are calculated based on the following Lehman Formula.


< 20 million yen: 10%

20 million yen – 40 million yen: 9%

40 million yen – 60 million yen: 8%

60 million yen – 80 million yen: 7%

80 million yen – 100 million yen: 6%

> 100 million yen: 5%


–Minimum commission 200,000 yen

–Comparison of commission for contract price of 25 million yen <<2.55 million yen>>

100,000 yen+2 million yen (20 million yen ×10%)+450,000 yen ((25 million yen – 20 million yen)× 9%)



-Established in June 2005.

-The number of transactions so far has exceeded 700, and the total number of websites registered for sales is 2,500.

-Administrative scriveners, who are familiar with buying and selling websites, make contract documents free of charge.

-Two plans, direct negotiation plan and brokerage plan, are available.



(2) Site M&A

–URL :

–Operator : GMO Internet, Inc.

–Fee (1) without brokerage service – direct negotiation

-Basic fee : N/A

-Commission : Sell: 15% of the contract price / Buy: Commission-free

-Minimum commission : N/A

–Fee (2) with brokerage service

-Basic fee : 100,000 yen

-Commission : Commission for contract price are calculated based on the following Lehman Formula.


< 20 million yen: 10%

20 million yen – 40 million yen: 9%

40 million yen – 60 million yen: 8%

60 million yen – 80 million yen: 7%

80 million yen – 100 million yen: 6%

> 100 million yen: 5%


–Minimum commission 300,000 yen

–Comparison of commission for contract price of 25 million yen <<2.55 million yen>>

100,000 yen+2 million yen (20 million yen ×10%)+450,000 yen ((25 million yen – 20 million yen)× 9%)



-Company listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with good reputation and achievement. (The GMO group is a comprehensive internet company which nine group companies are listed.)

-10 years of management record

-Good connection with listed IT & Internet companies and excellent companies.

-The price of websites less than 1 million yen is a marketplace type (1), that direct negotiation between buyer and seller in auction form is conducted. The price of websites over 1 million yen is M&A service type (2), that brokerage service by experts are provided.




–Operator : SiteStock Inc.

–Fee (1) without brokerage service – direct negotiation

-Basic fee : N/A

-Commission : 3% of the contract price

-Minimum commission : 50,000 yen

–Fee (2) with brokerage service

-Basic fee : 100,000 yen (Only in case of contract signings)

-Commission : 10% of the contract price

–Minimum commission : N/A

–Comparison of commission for contract price of 25 million yen <<2.6 million yen>>

2.5 million yen (25 million yen ×10%)



– Started in 2007.

– Business approach to several thousand companies. (There are many affiliated partners.)

– (1) the lowest prices in the industry.

– (2) A contingency fee type commission, commission-free in case of contract failure.



–URL :

–Operator : ZESTUS, Inc.

–Fee (1) without brokerage service – direct negotiation

-Basic fee : N/A

-Commission : N/A

-Minimum commission : N/A

–Fee (2) with brokerage service

-Basic fee : Commission-free

-Commission : < 100 million yen: 10% / > 100 million yen: Separate consultation

–Minimum commission 300,000 yen

–Comparison of commission for contract price of 25 million yen <<2.5 million yen>>

25 million yen ×10%



– Established in July 2006.

– Specialized in corporations. Websites operated by individuals are not eligible.

– (2) A contingency fee type commission, commission-free in case of contract failure.


※Amounts are all tax excluded. As of 27 March 2017



Given the above information can clarify the following two points:

First, there is a trend that small-scale business websites become a marketplace type that buyer-seller interact directly. On the contrary, buying and selling high-priced business websites are usually conducted with support of the M&A advisors.

Second, each M&A advisory company has different commission rates and basic fees, but the basic fee structure is more similar to each other.


Please note that company which offers a lower commission rate is not always good. M&A service quality and engagement are more important than the fee. For good mergers and acquisitions advisory and brokerage services, it is more important that the company how to negotiate with good partners to make good conditions and how quickly it can make a prompt decision. For this reason, even if the commission are somewhat high, the overall merit will increase when the transaction is concluded.


It would be a good idea to have these options when launching a new business or as an exit strategy for your business.

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