Local business leader explains Ohio’s

October 7th, 2010

International business leader and Osaka, Japan native, Koichi Tanaka, has a first hand look at the daily economic relationship between Japan and the United States. 

On Oct. 5, Tanaka spoke to JCU students, professors and community members as part of the East Asian Festival and Maroon Discussion Series.  

Tanaka is the general manager for TOMATEC, a food packaging company and a branch of the Toyo Seikan Group.  He has been an international business leader for twenty years, and currently resides in the United States.

Every seat was filled in the Boler School of Business classroom as Tanaka gave his presentation containing a brief introduction of Japanese culture and history. The second part of his presentation was about the difference in business between Japan and the United States.

As the general manager of TOMATEC, Tanaka covers business, documentation, accounting and hires within the company. 

“I was interested in foreign cultures and foreign affairs and wanted to put that knowledge to use,” said Tanaka.

Tanaka’s presentation provided information about the various factors within international business, and the essence of working with others in business.  

Tanaka spoke about how to handle an International Business meeting, and explained the concept of “honorifics” within Japanese business—proper customs, language, gestures and etiquette.  He also explained the differing employment systems within Japan and the United States. 

Tanaka offered personal experience during the presentation.  He spoke of his biggest personal challenges with his occupation adaptation.

“Adapting the knowledge and cultural aspects of other countries, and using that knowledge in business meetings [was a personal challenge],” said Tanaka.

Tanaka was educated in Japan and earned a position with TOMATEC right after graduation.

“In Japan, the best chance to get a job is right after college graduation.  If you miss that chance, it is much more difficult,” he said.

With Tanaka’s experience in International Business, he wanted to give advice to students with aspirations in this field.

“Try to gain knowledge of other cultures,” said Tanaka.

The East Asian Studies department enjoys having speakers like Tanaka and encourages learning about other cultures partly through the Maroon Discussion Series. It is a program sponsored by Maroon, Incorporated, of Avon, Ohio. Maroon, Incorporated, is a specialty chemical distributor, which not only does business in Northeastern Ohio, but reaches international consumers as well. The series invites Asian and American business leaders to discuss Asia-related issues in business and the economy.