Working in Japan

What it’s like to work in marketing in Japan (Interview)

Are you interested to work in Japan? Or have you already got a post? In this article, we are going to show you what it’s like to work in Japan in marketing. Because it is significantly important to know how a day in the life as Japanese marketer looks like before you make a decision and start the new life.

This content is written 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.

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