Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Bringing Value, Building Trust

I certainly do feel quite often (just as a gaijin walking down the street) that I am different and the way people treat me is different. It happens all the time. You’re never going to be Japanese and of course I don’t want to be Japanese but you know, there was never a problem when I was in Hong Kong. I didn’t need to be Chinese there but here there is a really big difference between being Japanese and non-Japanese. It was really great when I got to the stage where I could take a kind of ‘fuck you’ attitude (which I wasn’t able to when I was out looking for work in Japan). Now that I’m not looking for work and people actually need me it’s more interesting. (C:So that was a way to overcome the barrier of being non-Japanese?) Totally, there was and is a wall – a communication and understanding wall. But now people see me and they think ‘now this guy can actually teach me something’ – now, when I go and meet managers they ask me to introduce them to new things or ideas. Perhaps it’s a source of inspiration for them and they are using me as that bridge with the West. It’s an interesting position to be in and it does take a while to build that trust.