News & Highlights

  • JANUARY 2022
  • WORKING KNOWLEDGE

Scrap the Big New Year's Resolutions. Make 6 Simple Changes Instead.

Self-improvement doesn't need to be painful, especially during a pandemic. Rather than set yet another gym goal, look inward, retrain your brain, and get outside, says Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi. In this article Professor Takeuchi explains how business leaders can use the six practices to guide their own self-improvement efforts in the new year.
  • NOVEMBER 2021
  • Case Centennial

HBS Case Centennial: Benihana of Tokyo

“Benihana of Tokyo” case author W. Earl Sasser and Ryan Buell discuss the case, its importance to the field of service operations, and the joy of teaching it today 50 years after it was first written and taught.
  • September - November 2021
  • EVENT

Sustainability Speaker Series with HBS Club of Japan

In collaboration with the Japan Research Center, the HBS Club of Japan launched a series of webinars on sustainability and invited guest speakers to share and promote their current thinking on sustainability issues in Japan and Asia. The speaker series kicked off with a webinar by Professor George Serafeim in September where he introduced his research on Impact Weighted Accounts (IWA). In November, Senior Lecturer John Macomber discussed his current research on how climate change will transform the way we build and invest. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman, Ayala Group and Koichi Narasaki, CEO, Palantir Japan and CDO, SOMPO Holdings joined as panelists and discussed the actions we can take on a practical level.
  • SEPTEMBER 2021
  • ALUMNI

Growing Home: Yoshito Hori (MBA 1991) on revitalizing his hometown

In August of 2015, Yoshito Hori (MBA 1991) returned to his hometown of Mito, Japan, for a reunion with his high school swimming team. After high school, Hori had gone to Kyoto University and then to HBS, eventually settling in Tokyo to begin his career, which has included founding GLOBIS Management School and GLOBIS Capital Partners, a VC firm. He hadn’t been back to Mito in 34 years. Hori was distressed by what he saw: Shuttered department stores, abandoned buildings, empty streets. It had become a ghost town. “It was a really shocking sight,” says Hori, and one at odds with the bustling commercial hub he remembered. The experience led him to start the Downtown Mito Rebirth Project in 2016, a public-private partnership designed to breathe life back into the city. In this conversation with the Bulletin, Hori talks about his plan to reinvigorate his hometown—and why it's important to save the cities that the global economy has left behind.
  • SEPTEMBER 2021
  • EVENT

HBS Online: Tokyo Chapter's winning recommendation for building a global community

Over the last four months, dozens of Harvard Business School Online learners have been brainstorming solutions to connect schools worldwide and build a global community. HBS Online partnered with United Planet for the third-annual Community Challenge and tasked the Community with crafting business plans to improve the reach and scale of the nonprofit’s Virtual Exchange Program. United Planet named the Tokyo Chapter the winner of this year’s Community Challenge. Their proposal detailed strategies for implementing United Planet’s Virtual Exchange Program in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and India; suggestions for innovative technology use; and a multifaceted marketing plan.

New Research on the Region

  • February 2022
  • Case

Sekisui House and the In-Home Early Detection Platform

By: John D. Macomber and Akiko Kanno

To address an aging population and sales declines, major Japanese homebuilder considers pivoting to provide and support an in-home health detection platform, in competition with tech companies. This case considers the point of view of major builders regarding how aggressively to adopt smart home technologies as the nature of demand changes and as they navigate the digitalization of a very traditional bricks and mortar industry. The company has to consider its core business of building and selling homes, which is now under pressure in Japan as the creation of new households is slowing and the population is aging. Should the company incorporate smart home components, particularly regarding health monitoring and early response to health crises, and establish an ongoing service relationship with the occupants? How will major building products manufacturers like Toto and Panasonic respond? Health insurance companies? Can the company's health detection service compete with voice recognition offerings like Alexa and Siri from Amazon and Apple? With respect to serving this aspect of an aging population, will expertise in the tangible real property aspects of homes be a stronger or weaker influence than digital services in this evolution of business and global society?

  • February 2022
  • Case

Toraya

By: Lauren Cohen and Akiko Kanno

Mitsuharu Kurokawa was the 18th generation leader of a family firm that produced and sold premium Japanese sweets, Toraya Confectionery Co., Ltd. He had succeeded the business from his father, Mitsuhiro Kurokawa who had led the firm for thirty years. Mitsuharu was committed to following his predecessors who had strived to please customers with delicious Japanese sweets. The challenge was how he could further improve product quality and diversify the product line to please the customers of today without affecting Toraya's brand image. Mitsuharu also believed that plant-derived "yokan" (a traditional sweet using azuki bean paste) was healthy and had the potential to become a global popular sweet, like chocolate. Thus as a long-term goal, Mitsuharu had an ambition to offer Japanese sweets to customers around the world. In planning ways to further grow the business, Mitsuharu had to pin down exactly how the family business was defined in relation to his family. He also needed to identify what role of prominence his family’s position within the highest tier of decision-making meant for the rest of the larger “Toraya family,” which included longtime employees. Would Mitsuharu’s endeavor to expand the product line to reach a wider customer base be in line with the well-being of the company? Would there be a risk of damaging Toraya’s image as a luxury brand? Would global expansion be the right decision for the firm with a long history of offering traditional sweets to premium customers in Japan?

  • January 2022 (Revised February 2022)
  • Case

Envision Group

By: Gunnar Trumbull, Bonnie Yining Cao and Dawn H. Lau

Based in China, Envision was one of the world’s leading Greentech companies. Chief Executive Officer Lei Zhang had set the goal of achieving carbon neutrality across the company’s global operations and supply chain by 2022 and 2028 respectively. As part of its longer-term goal of finding ways to match the supply of renewable energy with demand more efficiently, the company was also pursuing a Smart City project in Singapore as well as building the world's first net-zero industrial park in Inner Mongolia. In face of the many opportunities afforded by the fast-changing energy sector, with constraints on its human as well as financial resources, was Envision taking the best actions for the future? And will they be enough to combat the “climate crisis” that humanity is facing?

See more research

Tokyo Staff

Nobuo Sato
Executive Director
Akiko Kanno
Assistant Director
Akiko Saito
Senior Researcher
Yukari Takizawa
Office Manager