Cross-Cultural Management

Pick Up

Training a business partner who is familiar with our company and with Japan, while building the basis for mutually beneficial, minimal-risk overseas expansion...

Naganuma Works Inc.Naganuma Works Inc.

Host companiesNaganuma Works Inc.

Akita/Manufacturing/Sheet Metal and Machined Parts Manufacturing

InternsRozihan Izmi Bin Zainul Rashid

Malaysia/University of Toyama, Mechanical Intellectual Systems Engineering


We wanted to get a deeper understanding of the situation in his country in preparation for doing business there…

Q.Why did your company decide to take on interns? What did you aim to achieve?
Our company has been conducting site visits and gathering the latest local business information with the aim of expanding our operations overseas. But to actually start doing business in another country, we need an even deeper understanding of the situation on the ground, which is why we decided to taken on an intern from Malaysia, an ASEAN country that is a possible target for expansion. We did expect him to get involved in manufacturing, which would allow him to communicate with our Japanese staff, and to teach us about Malaysian culture and the situation there. But our main aim wasn’t to have him do any particular task; to start with, we just wanted him to come to our company so that we could learn from each other.


Details of the Internship

We worked together to establish internship goals based on his own experience…

Q.What kind of internship did you run? What difficulties did you face and how did you resolve them?
When creating his internship plan, we started by discussing his experience so far and prospects for the future. Our intern had studied as an international student at the University of Toyama and has excellent Japanese-language skills, as well as experience working as an engineer in Malaysia. In the course of our discussions we also touched on his career after the internship, and I suggested that he pursue a career as a technical engineer who also had design and proposal-making skills. We wanted this experience to help further his career back home, so we made it the goal of his internship to design and then manufacture a simple apparatus with the help of our staff. In terms of his personal needs, we found out that he could only eat halal food. At first we were unsure what to do, but we resolved this issue by finding local restaurants that serve halal food and researching local wholesale supermarkets that sell it. We also held advance training sessions on how to handle differences in thinking between cultures and prevent potential problems, and made a point of communicating with him in a more direct way than we Japanese normally would.

Details of the Internship


Our intern is deeply familiar with Japan and with our company, and we want to work with him as our overseas business partner...

Q.Comparing before and after the internship, what effects did it have on you, your employees, or your organization?
The first benefit of this internship was to strengthen our international business connections. The internship gave us the opportunity to get to know other Malaysian students who are studying at Akita University. They expressed an interest in using our technology here at Naganuma Works to tackle an issue they were facing in their research, which lead to them visiting our production site. It looks like this will lead to an industry-university collaboration between us and the local university. The second benefit was that we could develop a work culture that is welcoming to people of different cultures. For example, we always have our annual year-end party at a regular bar, but since we had a Malaysian person with us this year, we held it at a Nepalese restaurant that serves halal food. That was a first in our fifty year history! Finally, at first our intern told us that he wanted to get a job in Japan, but as we worked together he hit on the idea of setting up a design company in Malaysia that catered to Japanese companies, which opened up the possibility of us working together as partners at some point. Connecting with an international business person who is very familiar with Japan and with our company is a strong first step toward international expansion.


From the Interns

I could learn about the concept and practice of "monozukuri" and start to dream bigger!

Q.What did you get out of the internship?
I was able to learn about the concept and practice of “monozukuri”, the Japanese style of manufacturing. Also, in Malaysia I had often heard that Japanese people value trust, and I thought that I understood that, but this internship has really let me experience that first hand. The internship gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the Japanese business world, and has given me the confidence to do business with Japanese companies in the future. The company president told me that if I studied management then we could work together as partners, which has inspired me to dream bigger.

From the Interns


KS Partners Inc.

Host companiesKS Partners Inc.

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InternsLe Thi Dieu Thao

Vietnam/Foreign Trade University, International economics

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SAKURA Community Service Corporation Co., Ltd.

Host companiesSAKURA Community Service Corporation Co., Ltd.

Hokkaido/Nursing Care Service

InternsMuhammad Harrtyan

Indonesia/University of Indonesia, Economics

InternsDien Thi Ngoc Linh

Vietnam/Viet Nam/Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, Business Administration

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Yutaka Co., Ltd.

Host companiesYutaka Co., Ltd.

Hokkaido/Food Service Industry

InternsPimsri Piengrawin

Thailand/Srinakharinwirot University, Computer for Communication

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Assign Co., Ltd.

Host companiesAssign Co., Ltd.

Ibaraki/IT Services

InternsBui Thu Thao

Vietnam/University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS), Japanses

InternsMohamed Sabtu Noraiman

Malaysia Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Melaka, Software Development

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