It is said that the productivity of Japanese companies is lower than that of non-Japanese companies. In fact, the companies and organizations I’ve worked for have had wasteful or inefficient operations. Three of the most commonly cited wasteful things are
(2) HANKO Culture
(3) Face to face sales
So, in this newsletter, let’s examine whether or not these will be changed by the coronavirus.
The main characteristics of a useless meeting are
“I have to attend a meeting that has nothing to do with my work.”
“It ends with just a sharing of information.”
“We got together to talk about it, but it didn’t come to a decision.”
But these are separate issues from working remotely, so even if the meeting held online, it won’t change much if the purpose of the meeting and the way to work doesn’t change.
(2) HANKO Culture
Not a few people say they want to work remotely, but have to come to the office to stamp documents. “The HANKO Culture is a major cause of the difficulty of working remotely,” some said. In June, the Japanese government announced that “a seal on a contract is not necessarily required. (FYI, it wasn’t originally required by Japanese law to put a seal on the contract, but the government announced it because many people misunderstood.)
Now there’s a greater awareness that other means of authentication, such as electronic authentication, are acceptable. So while many people think the HANKO Culture will change, I expect it to be about halfway there. The reason for this is that there are system costs associated with implementing alternative methods such as electronic authentication. However, 99.7% of Japanese companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and many of them cannot afford to invest in systems, so they continue to do things the way they used to. First, large companies that can afford it will be the first to adopt e-authentication. Second, it will be popular in companies that do business with such large companies. So I think it will take some time.
(3) Face to face sales
At the company I used to work for, we had a tradition of visiting clients at the end of the year to present them with calendars made by our company. I knew that it was useless to give them a calendar because it wouldn’t affect our work, and that we could just mail it instead of visiting, but I followed the previous custom.
But nowadays, most companies refrain from meeting with outsiders as much as possible. This is a good excuse to stop wasting time on face-to-face sales if the client side is willing to STOP. And since older people, who used to be reluctant to do online meetings, are now using ZOOM and the like, there will be less face-to-face sales and more business meetings over the phone and online.
These are my predictions. What do you think??
In Japan, there are many adults who read manga, but it seems that in some countries it is embarrassing for adults to read manga. Most J-OS users are business people, so there may not be many people who read manga, but there are many Japanese manga that even adults can enjoy. Therefore, this time we have collected business-themed manga so that business people can enjoy it.
Kacho(Manager) Kosaku Shima https://amzn.to/2uGyG35
Speaking of manga whose leading role is a business person, many Japanese will probably mention this. It has also been turned into a TV drama. The main character is Kosaku Shima, who works for a major electronics manufacturer in Japan, and there are many current events and situations that are likely to happen, such as mergers of competitors and measures to take over from overseas companies. Kosaku Shima, who was the manager at the start of the manga, became a division chief, a director, and was promoted to the president. When his title changes, the title of the work will also change, such as “Division chief Kosaku Shima” ” Director Kosaku Shima” and “President Kosaku Shima”
Salaryman Kintaro https://amzn.to/2w3S22v
This Manga is also popular and has been turned into a TV drama. Kintaro Yajima, the main character, is a salaryman working for a construction company, and his work and growth are drawn. There is also a series that has changed jobs to a foreign investment bank.
Investor Z https://amzn.to/2Hkekj8
A manga that allows you to deepen your understanding of investment and has a reputation for nurturing your mind as an investor while enjoying the story.
Kaisha Shikiho, a company that provides corporate information, describes this as “a manga that gives both beginners and experienced investors a” notice “to win.” Also, many real Japanese entrepreneurs have appeared, and there are many collaboration projects with real companies.
A story that uses the hotel’s concierge as the main character and solves various problems and requests that guests and staff cause. Not only people working in hotels, but everyone who serves customers will enjoy it.
Yamikin(Illegal high interest lenders) Ushijima-kun https://amzn.to/2vo5NJg
This work has been turned into a drama and a movie.
Although the main character is an illegal high-interest lender, the content is dark, but it is a work that reminds you not to get involved in money troubles, and many entrepreneurs recommend this. Recommended for those who want to know about Japan’s dark society.
There seems to be a lot of Kindle versions recently, so please try it. And if you like, please see this article I wrote earlier.
Japanese business magazine TOP 10 recommended for business Japanese learners!
Popular 18 Business Japanese Dramas recommended for business Japanese learners!
December 18, 2019
If you work in Japan, what are the criteria for choosing a company?
When you find a job in Japan, you will see the “Job popularity ranking, but frankly, this ranking is not useful, so in this article, I will explain why and will introduce some other rankings.
Reason 1: The respondents are college students who has just started job hunting.
Companies that make such rankings often take questionnaires to university students who come to joint company briefings. For this reason, the number of companies that respondents know and the actual situation of the companies are extremely limited. It’s like asking a zero-beginner Japanese learner about recommended business Japanese materials.
Reason 2: The reality is just name recognition ranking
This is related to the first reason, most of the top ranking companies are doing BtoC business rather than BtoB. There are many excellent BtoB companies in Japan, but such companies are not well known, so they do not appear in the ranking.
So what ranking should you refer to instead?
Here are some suggestions.
Suggestion１：Job change popularity ranking
Example : https://doda.jp/guide/popular/
The respondents are already working, and the question is “Which company is better if you change jobs?”, That will be closer to the actual evaluation of the company than to ask students.
Suggestion２：Average annual income ranking
Example : https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/257530
Many people think salary is the most important. For those people, the average annual income ranking of employees will be helpful.
Suggestion３：Lifetime wage ranking
Example : https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/310498
In Japan, where the lifetime employment system was strong, there are many people who place importance on the ranking of lifetime wages rather than annual income.
Suggestion４：Ranking of employees working overseas
Example : https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/206216
There are many people who are worried about whether they can return to their home country in the future, work at a place where they can use their language skills, or do business globally. This is a ranking that allows you to know how many people work for the company overseas.
The operating profit margin ranking and overseas sales ratio ranking may also be helpful for you.
However, such ranking varies depending on the industry and business model, and may vary depending on the time of aggregation. For this reason, it is better to think that there is no ranking that perfectly meets your requirements.
So what should we do?
If you have a specific industry or job type that you want to work with, it may be good to create your own ranking based on that industry or job type. Also, if you are concerned about both the average annual income ranking and ranking of employees working overseas, it may? be good to create a list of companies that are ranked in both.
In this article, I wrote about how to use rankings, but it is always recommended to consult with people who are already working in the industry you want to go to without using such rankings.
Our free video course called “Japanese for Job Hunting” is available on YouTube.
I would be happy if you could register for your channel or do a GOOD evaluation 🙂
I hope you all succeed in getting a job or changing jobs.
April 22, 2019
■ What is “SUBSK”?
Do you know the word “SUBSK”? This is a new Katakana word derived from an English word “subscription”, meaning a service or business that users usually pay a “monthly fee” or royalty depending on the period of use.
■ The most popular SUBSK model
Traditional services such as newspapers (many Japanese subscribe to newspapers as well), membership fee for gym, and house rent fall under this category. Recently, IT related services are increasing, for example, Microsoft office software is 37,584 yen for purchase-type, but 900 yen for monthly for subscription type. Adobe’s Photoshop was 96,000 yen at the time of purchase (as of 2003), but the current monthly fee is 980 yen. While the sale unit price drops, Even the sale unit price drops, Adobe’s revenue has increased significantly by a successful user acquisition strategy. In addition, the all-you-can-listen service, such as Apple Music and Spotify are also popular .
■ Why the SUBSK is getting popular?
Why is the number of SUBSK service increasing? Let me analyze the reasons from both sides of users and companies.
Cost: SUBSK is much cheaper than purchase type. In addition, initial costs, upgrade costs, support costs, etc. are all unnecessary.
Easiness: You contract the service only for the period you want to use. If you are not satisfied with the service, you can cancel it immediately.
Service improvement: The services make the companies much easier to analyze the reason of cancellation and undertake service improvement. It is easy to plans for constant growth and also it is highly valued in the stock market, therefore new market entrants is increasing.
Customer LTV (Life Time Value) Improvement: The longer a company succeeds in attracting customer to its product, the more customer LTV will be improved even the unit price is low.
If these two functions(service and customer LTV improvement) work well, a virtuous cycle, that is “user satisfaction” > improvement of repeat rate> “sales improvement”, could be created.
■ What are the recommended SUBSK services in Japan?
Let me introduce some of the popular and unusual services in Japan.
(1) Amazon Prime Video
With an annual membership of 4,900 yen, you can watch movies, dramas, and animations. The annual fee for such Amazon Prime has been raised from 3900 yen to 4900 yen stating on April 12,2019. However, this price is less than half of $ 119 in Amazon USA, so it’s still a quite good deal, I think. Because of viewing restrictions depending on the area, Amazon prime membership of other countries will not work in japan. It is necessary to apply for Japanese prime membership, if you want to watch Japanese content.
(2) Sutadiisapuri (study supplement)
This service is recommended for families with children attending schools in Japan. It is a service that is used by 339,000 elementary and junior high school students in Japan because the video classes at the preparatory school are all at a 980 yen for a month.
(3) THE STELLA
A monthly service delivering 1 or 2 bottles of premium and cult wines depending on the plan.
(4) Bloomee LIFE
A weekly service that delivers flowers for appreciation.
A shirt delivery service with both rental and cleaning of 20 shirts for 1 month.
A service that a professional stylist coordinates the entire body and delivers a set of clothes.
Please let me know if there are other services available in your country (^ ^) /
February 20, 2019
YouTube’s popularity has greatly grown within these years in Japan.
There seems to be more people searching on YouTube rather than Google, especially on finding a way to do something. However, in fact, many of YouTube channels in Japan are made for young generation, not for business use. So this time, I will introduce my recommendation of Japanese YouTube channels for business persons.
A channel by Mr. Takafumi Horie, a famous IT entrepreneur commonly known as “Horiemon”.? There are a lot of fan of him, however, some people do not like him very much because of his frankness of speech. He is extremely well briefed on various business, not only IT business, but also rocket, gourmet and so on. In this channel, Mr. Horie discusses new business ideas with people in vogue such as best-selling authors. Also, he answers various questions from the readers of his mail magazine that gives beneficial ideas for business. This channel is updated frequently and well-organized.
A channel by News Picks, which is a content curation media for business. (I introduced NewsPicks in this article https://goo.gl/ih8A8b ) Many business talks with well-known entrepreneurs and innovators are up on this channel.
There are also videos （https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOlE7uqvvLE）of Mr. Kosaka known as “Pico-Taro” who is famous for “”Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen”. He talks about the hidden story of Pico Taro’s birth. Japanese subtitle in this channel is excellent, so it will help your listening practice as well.
A channel of TEDxTokyo which is the Japanese version of TED.
Although quality and quantity of this program are inferior to the above two, it will be helpful for those who are interested in an interview and a presentation in Japanese.
Industry Co-Creation is an entrepreneur conference that is gathering of company founders and business leaders. Movie of pitch events is the main content of this channel. This channel will be helpful for those who are interested in an elevator pitch or a presentation.
BBT 757 program
A channel of online university “Business Breakthrough University (BBT)”, presided by a well-known management consultant, Mr. Kenichi Ohmae. It covers such topics as MBA, business news, and business trends.
Sekai wa ima – JETRO Global Eye
A channel of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) which supports overseas expansion of Japanese companies. A content format of the channel is like a real TV news program, and the narration is made by a professional narrator who speaks beautiful Japanese.
It is especially recommended for people involved in trade.
A channel of “Kigyoo TV”, a movie learning media for entrepreneurs.
The main contents of this channel is interviews of venture-business entrepreneurs.
All the channels I introduced this time are useful not only for Japanese listening practice but also to your business. So check them out!
I will introduce another channel as an extra edition.
Dad has naturally curly hair
A family channel of “VAN LIFE”, “Vehicle Night” enjoying outdoor such as hiking, surfing, skiing, snowboarding. There is no useful business information, however, I recommend this channel for people who want to enjoy outdoor activities with family in Japan.
There are many information on ski resorts, travel stories from Chiba to Hokkaido by car, and so on.
October 18, 2018
Today, I would like to introduce the spots that both people who live in Japan and those who come by travel can enjoy it.
Have you heard the word “depa chika”?
“depa chika” is an abbreviation for “basement of a department store”.
The underground of most department stores in Japan has become a sales floor of food materials and sweets.
Usually, department stores sell better products than supermarkets.
Alothough most of products in department store are a little expensive,there are many people who go shopping at depa chika as a little treat for themselves.
Four reasons to recommend depa chika
Reason 1: Only in Japan
I think that it is unusual for all of the department store’s one floor to be food and sweets.
If you like eating and drinking, you surely will have a good time in depa chika for one or two hours.
Reason 2: Clean look
Food is displayed beautifully, so it is fun just looking.
Reason 3: Deliciousness
Many delicious foods are gathered in depa chika.
There are times when local specialties in Japan are sold, so you do not have to go out to the region to buy them.
Moreover, you might be able to try them. (Please keep good manners in this case.)
Reason 4: Cheapness
I said as “department store is a bit higher than the supermarket”, but these products are very delicious and I think it is much cheaper than the overseas luxury supermarket.
When I went to Hawaii the other day, I have seen the Whole Foods’ Deli corner, but I thought that Japanese department store is cheaper.
If you think that it is a sightseeing spot you can enjoy for free, it is advantageous.
If you want to buy it cheaply, the time zone just before closing is recommended.
There is a high possibility that popular products are sold out, but the remaining products may be discounted.
This is the official Instagram of department store called Tokyu in Shibuya.
In this YouTube, foreigners are introducing Japanese depa chika.
Since this site organizes department stores across Japan, it is convenient to find a department store nearby.
(Please check in advance whether there is a depa chika.)
Please go to depa chika where you can enjoy both visual and taste (^ ^) /
September 18, 2018
Many people know that there are many vending machines in Japan.
There are also vending machines that sell not only drinks and tobacco but also ice, cup noodles, candy, bananas, pizza, books, umbrellas, diapers, crepes and so on.
* Aside from that, in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake, there are many vending machines with offering the products (mainly drinks) contained free of charge.
Vending machines that brew drip coffee are also popular.
The most surprisingly, there is a vending machine that sells wedding rings. It seems there are people who propose while going out and buy them immediately after that.
By the way, how many reasons are why many vending machines exist in Japan? (please read the following after considering the reason, )
In this movie, in addition to the safeness in Japan, other reasons are mention, for example “high population density”, “personnel expenses of salespeople is high”, “cash society (often using coins)” “Japanese like robots and machines”
Besides these, there are the following reasons.
“Summer is hot” By the way, sales of vending machines are peak in summer, and in winter there is only half of sales in summer.
“Landscape rules are not strict”
“The beverage maker lends a vending machine to the land owner for free.” The owner of the land gets a commission according to the sales amount from the beverage maker, so you can start a no-risk business on a narrow land.
Do you have the same reasons?
In this way, thinking as “what’s the reason?”, is helpful for business as well, and comparing it with other countries will help you to rediscover the uniqueness of Japan.
Either way, the primary reason for existing so many vending machines in Japan is that Japanese public security is extremely good. I hope that Japan will be safe from now on.
Three points when telling the message to Japanese people / British who uncover “inconvenient truth” in Japan
August 17, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
No4： THE21 (49,400 copies）
First published in 1984. Monthly magazine. Many information is useful for self-improvement.
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.
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.
NIKKEI TRENDY (日経トレンディ)
Trendy information magazine introducing the latest trends and latest products. There are many easy-to-read contents.
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.
SENDEN KAIGI (宣伝会議)
Specialized magazine of advertisement, advertisement, and marketing. Published twice a month.
INTERNET SALES (ネット販売)
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.
The only M & A special monthly magazine in Japan. For people involved in M & A.
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
June 14, 2018
It became a hot topic that Airbnb canceled all reservations for properties that violate Japanese law. And it is said that there are still various problems in the sharing economy. However, as the Mercari listed soon, the sharing economy itself is growing also in Japan, so I would like to introduce Japan’s major sharing economy service this time.
Sharing economies are generally classified into three categories: object shares, space shares, and skill share. (There are various opinions on how to classify.) The representative services of each are as follows.
(1) object shares
Mercari: The most famous in Japan as a flea market apps.
Laxus: All-you-can-use brand bags at 6,800 yen per month. Popular with young women.
Air Closet：A service that can wear three clothes chosen by a professional stylist at 6,800 yen per month.
Anyca ：A service that allows you to lend and borrow a car among individuals.
If you like Initial D(Japanese manga), would not you want to drive this car?
This car that became famous by the movie “Wild Speed” should be popular.
※To use Anyca you need a driver’s license issued in Japan. International licenses are not acceptable.
(2) space shares
Space Market: Services to lend and borrow party venues, conference rooms, photography studios, etc.
Akkipa：Services to lend and borrow parking lots.
ecbo cloak：A service that introduces space that temporarily keeps luggage such as large suitcase which does not enter coin locker. The site also supports English, Chinese, Korean.
DogHuggy：A service that allows you to leave your dog at other dog-lovers. Many people use it instead of pet hotel.
(3) skill share
Basically it is a service that provides individual skills and free time, but some also provide housekeeping or manual labor. The following services are famous.
There is also a service called Traveloco specializing in matching with Japanese guides living abroad.
Foreigners may seem surprising, but general Japanese people are cautious about “lending and borrowing for a fee”. (There are many people who will be kind to those in need.) There are many people who are concerned about trouble due to interaction between individuals in sharing economy. Therefore, many people think “Even if it is expensive, I will depend on the pros”.
Many of (1) are comparable to the services provided by professionals and are inexpensive, so the number of users is increasing even around me, but those who use the service introduced in (3) There is not much yet. For the service introduced in (2), users and usage frequency are limited, but there may be strong demand for specific users, specific timing.
It may be the nationality of the country to decide which sharing economy will be popular there, rather than the regulation problem.
- New book: “How to Write Business Documents for Foreigners with 10 Basic Rules”
- Our Response to the Gender Free Policy
- Will the coronavirus change the productivity of Japanese companies?
- To everyone living in Japan, if you don’t want to die, look at the hazard map
- Is an indirect or direct method of learning better for mastering Japanese?
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