Let me introduce you to Koji Kamibayashi. Koji is quite unique in Japan. And you will be glad you met him today.
There are many people in Japan who claim to be Internet experts or professionals in SEO, but I'd wager that there aren't many who can put proof behind their claims of expertise. One of the few who can is a guy named Koji Kamibayashi. I think it is safe to say that Koji is one of Japan's top five, if not the top, Internet expert in the entire country.
Koji Kamibayashi was the founder and president of TV Tokyo Broadband (TXBB); which he started in 2001. Within 4 years, by 2005, TXBB became a company with over $50 million (USD) in revenue and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Market in 2005. This was truly an amazing feat considering the fact that every terrestrial TV station and network in Japan started up a Broadband network only to fail with tens of millions of dollars in losses. Only Koji's TXBB was successful. See Koji's Wikipedia here.
During his time at TXBB, Koji was also talented enough, and had the foresight, to recognize that, if broadband were to be successful in Japan the ownership of the rights for the content would be critical. This leads to one of Koji's most amusing and fascinating success stories; it was Koji who brought Snoopy to Japan and put him and Woodstock on Junior High and High School girl's bag in the country.
When the people representing Peanuts first approached Koji about a partnership for Peanuts in Japan, they wanted him to take the entire group; Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Lucy, Linus, and the rest; along with the stories. Koji told them, "No!" He told them that he only wanted the dog and the bird. Initially the Peanuts team was insistent on the entire story being taken up, but Koji stuck to his guns. He threw out everything - even the stories - excepting Snoopy and Woodstock and now Snoopy in Japan earns five times the income that Peanuts earn in all of the United States.
Koji remarked, "Sometimes it's not what you keep that's important, it's what you throw away that matters."
Koji also worked the same sort of magic in Japan for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Miffy, and he was the one who resuscitated Sesame Street and brought it back from the dead in this country.
Alas, it couldn't last forever in one of Japan's oldest companies. Anyone who becomes president at a Nikkei related company in Japan can only be president for six years under ancient company rules. This posed a dilemma for Koji when he became president of TXBB in 2001.
"I didn't want to accept the position at that time as I was only 42 years old. Usually people who become president's at a Nikkei related company are in their mid-to-late sixties, so it's OK for them, but I was only 42... What was I to do in 6 years? I tried to ask them to change the rules for me, but they wouldn't... Those rules had been around for decades and this is Japan..." Koji related.
So Koji left the company. But it wasn't all roses then. TV Tokyo is a Nikkei Group company and another rule is that, after you leave, you cannot do any sort of marketing, PR, advertising, entertainment-related business... That doesn't leave a lot for a guy to do who had spent over 25 years of his life in that field.
So, Koji then followed one of his dreams and opened a Chinese restaurant in Sapporo. I've eaten there and it is fantastic!
Now that the restaurant is going well, he visits it once a month to make sure it is doing fine and then spends the rest of his time back in Tokyo with his lovely wife who is a professional Yoga instructor. In Tokyo, Koji is doing what he really loves and that is Internet related work.
"I often get offers from large foreign companies to join in their ranks, but I don't want to work in the confines of a large company anymore. I want to do my own thing and I want to have fun."
If you wish to contact Koji Kamibayashi, his Linkedin profile is here. Of course Koji also Twitters and does Pick and other Social Media.
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