Pick Up

With local person's perspective and mindset, it became possible for us to discern a path towards overseas expansion.




インターンYanawee Tantivachyanon

Thailand/Tokyo International University, Business Economics Faculty


Looking overseas to seek new markets. Getting Hints for developing products that will be popular in Thailand.

Q.Why did your company decide to take on interns? What did you aim to achieve?
Our company based in Mie Prefecture that manufactures and sells seafood cake consisting of hanpen (fish sausage) and kamaboko (fish cake). For some time now, we have been wanting to expand our sales channels into overseas markets rather than attempt to compete for market share with competitors in the Japanese market. While we thus used to conduct field surveys in Thailand for some time, we could no longer do so as the pandemic worsened. As we pondered what to do, we found out about this program and applied accordingly. Our main objective was, in the course of investigating the feasibility of exporting products to Thailand, to find out what kinds of products would be accepted, the nature of people’s tastes, local needs, and the size of the market in Thailand. In this internship program, we were matched with Thai intern Jenjen. Since she had studied in Japan and was very interested in Japanese food, we were happy to hear that she was a match in terms of the contents of activities for which we had requested.



A wide range of ideas by the intern and specific surveys for development as prompted by proactiveness and the ability to take action.

Q.What kind of internship did you run? What difficulties did you face and how did you resolve them?
For the activities in question, we asked the intern to conduct a survey on local needs, market size, and tastes in order to learn about what kinds of kamaboko taste would be agreeable to local consumers. In addition, we had her compile reports on topics such as the Japanese foodstuff's forms of selling in Thailand, products that are in demand, and price ranges of products. What we received went beyond just a completion of the requested task. She depicted her own product ideas with illustrations and gathered information from the Internet and other sources to consider and propose various sales methods and provide feasibility assessments, such as in terms of a plan for selling products through food stalls.
She also told us of trends and conducted specific surveys on the costs of opening outlets, and on the feasibility of selling products through online channels. In addition, since we are planning to roll out businesses catering to inbound visitors, we consider to provide kamaboko-making experiences to foreigners and other initiatives in anticipation of the post-pandemic era, we asked her to perform various types of tasks, such as by requesting a translation of our website into Thai, and she was clearly willing to take on any task. Activities were essentially conducted in Japanese. While she appeared to be accustomed to communicating with Japanese people, we felt that we were able to communicate smoothly by trying to speak slowly during meetings to ensure that we could convey what we wanted to express to her.



As surveys are conducted together with the intern, we come across the unexpected “needs of the local market”.

Q.Comparing before and after the internship, what effects did it have on you, your employees, or your organization?
While we had previously conducted local surveys on our own, we were only able to consider such matters as product development and local marketing approaches from a Japanese perspective. Thus, we believe that the fact that we were able to obtain feedback and ideas from the perspective of local people was a positive outcome. Since we had not even considered that it was possible that local people might want to enjoy the authentic taste of Japanese food rather than products that have been tailored to the local market, it was a huge step for us to learn that the exporting of Japanese products in an as-is state would best satisfy needs. We were also able to obtain information on online sales sites used by local people and learn about trends concerning stores, which thus gave us a foothold for overseas expansion. Since we feel that Thailand is an attractive market, we will continue to study product types, pricing, and our inbound business with a view to expanding our sales channels based on the report and information that she compiled for us. By participating in this program, we were introduced to an exceptional high-level overseas intern with whom we would not normally interact, and were able to gather a substantial amount of information that could not have been obtained on our own. We managed to conduct market research and collected feedback from local people without having to travel there in person and believe that our participation in this program was very beneficial to us.



The activities about Japanese food and traditional culture I have been interested in were very meaningful.

Q.What did you get out of the internship?
My main activity was market research. I conducted research on preferences, customer bases in Thailand, and other matters as they might relate to possible overseas expansion by Wakamatsuya from multiple angles, and also made business model proposals. Specifically, I made product development proposals, came up with a financial plan for opening a store in Thailand, and conducted a survey on location conditions, taxes that would be incurred at the time of exporting products, employee wages, and other costs. I feel that it was meaningful that we were able to exchange thoughts on the differences in terms of branding between Japan and Thailand. I would like to go to Japan again and master Japanese so that I can be proficient enough to use the language in business settings. I am exceedingly grateful that Wakamatsuya were very tolerant of my poor Japanese and took the time to carefully listen to what I was saying. Once I am capable of engaging in business conversations, I would love to work for a wonderful company like Wakamatsuya.



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