Cutting-Edge Research
in Kyoto University


The Competitive Advantage of Omotenashi in the Global Market How Japanese firms attain market leadership overseas by leveraging their uniqueness.

PHOTO: Shiseido Co., Ltd.

Omotenashi is a defining characteristic of many Japanese firms. Although it is difficult to translate the word into English, it can be roughly defined as “the spirit of selfless hospitality.” Japan’s service culture of omotenashi is internationally praised for its thoughtfulness, dedication to the needs of customers, and meticulous attention to detail. However, since omotenashi is deeply rooted in traditional Japanese values and ways of thinking, it has been very difficult to replicate outside Japan. My research explores how companies can leverage omotenashi in the global market to attain market leadership. I am examining the issue both from the perspective of the provider (i.e., successful Japanese firms leveraging omotenashi overseas) and the market (i.e. the attitude of local people toward omotenashi). The objective of this research is to construct a new model for company globalization.

Satoko Suzuki, DBA
Senior Lecturer,
Graduate School of Management