Working in Japan

Career in marketing in Japan (Interview)

If you want to move to Japan and work there, ideally it is better to know how the life could look like before you do it. In this article, we are going to show you what it’s like to work in Japan in marketing.

One of the advantages of finding a job in Japan is that you have chance to get a post even if your bachelor degree has nothing to do with it. This is because of the Japanese hiring culture and system. Many companies look for those who graduated from university regardless what they studied.

The reason: companies select job applicants based on your personality rather than the faculty you graduated from. And they will teach you the required specific knowledge in the job after entering the company. This is the basic, standard and absolute normal in Japan.

That is why, this is one of the biggest advantage when you want to find a job in Japan. And if you are interested in marketing, then you should try to find a post in marketing.

By the way, this content is based on true statement which means that it will be very good reference to you to grasp what it’s like to work in marketing in Japan. At the same time please also be aware that all cases are different person to person and industry to industry.

In addition, you can also refer the following topics:
Can I negotiate salary offer in Japan?
Most common mistakes that foreigner make at Japanese interviews
Working for Japanese company: Pros and Cons

Case introduction

HITOMI TAKANUMA – working in marketing for one of the biggest Japanese electrical manufacturer.

Takanuma entered the company in 1999 and working in marketing department for more than 20 years. In charge of domestic cooking appliances among electrical products. She is the first person in Japan who started to hold sampling events of rice in order to demonstrate and introduce the new rice cooker at that time. So she served Onigiri (riceballs) made by the rice cooker.

End-user want to buy rice cooker. It is so natural way of thinking that they’d like to try the rice cooked by the product.


A day of Takanuma

04:55 Getting up
08:00 Arrive at office, preparing of the day (checking emails etc.)
09:00 Morning assembly
09:30 Meeting (internal)
11:00 Respond to inquiries
12:00 Lunch
13:00 New product study session
15:00 Move for the next schedule
15:30 Meeting with sales company about events
18:00 Return to office → Planning new products for the next term & video conferences with other departments
20:00 Answering emails and preparing for the next day
21:00 Going home

What she keeps in mind during working

  1. To disseminate information quickly to relevant departments because information must be always fresh.
  2. To maintain cleanliness and tidiness for task efficiency because more and more documents accumulate when busy with work.
  3. To always have a calm mind. Take a breath first and then respond.

Difficulty of working in Japanese company and how she broke through

Generally, the larger the manufacturer, the more difficult it becomes to cooperate with related departments such as development, planning, and sales. In a Japanese company, it is important to get other departments involved in a project and play your cards well. In such circumstances, Takanuma overcame the problem of having a small budget by using an advanced means of “negotiating with her boss”. Initially, budget allocation to rice cookers was about 20%, and the rest was budgeted as microwave ovens, but she explained the purpose of the plan to the key person of the relevant department, and finally succeeded in getting a 70% budget to the rice cooker. In Japan, negotiations with bosses are high hurdles. Because of the strong class society, there is an environment where it is difficult to give opinions to people in higher positions. But if you show your passion with logical explanation in a good manner, it is possible to negotiate with Japanese bosses.

Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany