Spring 2009 Issue

Spring 2009: Spring 2009Spring 2009

On the Cover:

Cutting Through the Storm
James Gow and FXONLINE Ride the Waves of Volatitility

- The Stratification of the Workforce
- Digimon and the Female Entrepreneur in Japan
- Marketing With Social Networking Services

Spring 2009
No. 85

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Publisher's Message -- In the face of adversity, lead the way forward

Terrie LloydTerrie LloydBy Terrie Lloyd

As a global recession continues to bring down some companies, there are a few that survive, and even thrive.

Reading the media every day, you’d be forgiven for imagining that March 2009 was the beginning of the end of the commercial world as we know it. While it is true that we are certainly dealing with a major global recession, or possibly even a depression here in Japan, the fact is that people still have to live and eat, and as such the recession should be seen as merely grating upon rather than destroying the fabric of our economy. Of course, I’m an eternal optimist!


Editor's Message

Michael CondonMichael CondonBy Michael Condon

So, as the cherry blossoms come out, is there some hope on the horizon? For some, yes. This quarter we’re running on the front cover one of the great success stories of the foreign entrepreneur in Japan— James Gow from Internet forex trading company FXOnline. The company made headlines in the financial press around the world when 87.5 percent of it was sold for 21.9 billion yen to IG Group late last year.


Trends -- In the Mix

Ramen maker Maruchan’s Yahoo Japan cup noodle “Thick and Rich Miso Tonkotsu.“By Rebecca Milner - CScout Japan

Ramen companies are kicking back and letting customers write the recipes in smart marketing campaigns

When Maruchan introduced the new cup ramen flavor, “Thick and Rich Miso Tonkotsu,” on February 16, nearly two million potential consumers already knew about it. How did the instant noodle manufacturer manage to create that kind of buzz over the introduction of an ordinary convenience store staple? By teaming up with Japan’s most popular web portal, Yahoo Japan.



Arts Sponsorship -- Advertising in Tough Times

By Tokyo Sinfonia Music Director Robert Rÿker

Advertising in tough times

Performing arts sponsorship is big business. Despite the gloomy economy and impending recession, corporations continue to spend on arts sponsorships.


Executive Interview -- Business Class for Banking

Adrien WattelAdrien WattelBy Rob Churcher

J@pan Inc talks to HSBC Premier Financial Service (PFS) Relationship Manager Adrien Wattel about taking on the high-end Japanese retail banking market.


Manufacturing -- Shifting Gears

By Norifumi Kawai

Keiretsu corporate networks are innate to the Japanese auto sector, but could this system finally be changing?


Entrepreneurs -- Challenging Perceptions

Illustration Female EntrepreneurBy Marilyn Helms

How one female entrepreneur made it work for her.

Can Japanese women find career success and personal satisfaction through new venture creation? Professor Shiho Futagami and I addressed this question in our recently published case study of Digimom Workers, a successful female start-up company in Japan.


Entrepreneurs -- Dipping From the Well

Illustration: Female EntrepreneurshipBy Shiho Futagami

The significance of female entrepreneurship in the Japanese economy.

One economic solution for reversing Japan’s financial challenges is female entrepreneurship. These independent businesswomen are emerging outside the traditional Japanese management but remain Japan’s greatest untapped human resource.


The Labor Market -- Poles Apart

Illustration: WorkforceBy Wataru Nakazawa

The stratification of the Japanese workforce.

Over the 2008/2009 holiday period, the reality of Japan’s non-regular employment system set in. The nation tuned in to the television news to see report after report on a temporary village of haken workers (dispatched workers) camped in Hibiya Park in the center of Tokyo. The flood of newly unemployed and homeless entered the park as the fallout from the Lehman’s collapse and the unprecedented recession that followed spread to factory floor.



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