|LIFE IN JAPAN
President/CEO of Rainbow Japan Inc.
Time in Japan:
Where are you from?
Where are you from?
What is Rainbow Japan?
We' the largest web developer in Japan and a digital media production company. We wanted
to do multimedia initially, but when we started in 1991 nobody knew what multimedia was.
We started with computer graphic animation production, which is still about 20% of our
business, and the rest is web development.
What were your first projects?
The first TV commercial was for a Sharp washing machine that used air bubbles to clean
clothes. Major projects we've done are almost all of the JR East Japan's web development,
Dell Computers in Japan, EMG's website, Sony Music Entertainment's website, Mitsubishi
Motors, J-Wave and other major web development. We did Tokyo Disneyland's Toontown
commercial several years ago, and coordinated the CG production for the Toyota Mark2
commercial where you can see through the car.
How do you feel about the development of the Internet over the past few years
Right now there are so many issues of distribution and it seems to me that the issues for
e-commerce and web development are based not on marketing decisions, like what the users
want, but on what the company wants to do. The lack of venture financing up till now was a
real hindrance but that's changed and it's easier to get financing. I'm sure it'll change
even more. It's going to affect the web development industry and will change the content
available for Japanese users. It's all very exciting because major content change will be
What are your goals?
I want to retire when I'm 45 so I have about nine more years. I had this dream to get a
big sailing yacht and cruise around Southeast Asia, but the dream was crushed by a cargo
ship captain I met on a plane; he tells me that it's impossible because there are pirates
in the seas of Southeast Asia. Unless you have a ship that is faster than theirs, you have
no way of surviving. He said to get an AK47 and a rocket launcher. So I have to look for
What's your favorite thing about Japan?
The people are great. It's interesting because Americans and Japanese have opposite
ideals. Americans like to be very straightforward and honest but in reality, a lot of
Americans say what they think the other person wants to hear. On the other hand, the
Japanese have the ideal of tatemae and bringing harmony to the group and not
wanting to rock the boat but in reality, most Japanese are really straightforward and this
whole idea of a mysterious Japan is so ludicrous because you can generally find out what
someone's thinking by just asking them. Just take out the "nihonjin wa"
and change to an "I" and you have what the person is thinking.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the web business?
It's a fast-growing market with enormous growth potential so there are a lot of shady
characters and people who don't know what they're talking about, because there's so much
money being invested into it. So be careful. Find out what companies are producing and
take a look at their websites to see what kind of clients they have, especially regular
clients. There are so many fly-by-night businesses, you really have to be careful.
What's your recipe for a happy life in Japan?
Don't be judgmental, go with the flow.
Kevin Meyerson spoke to Maki Nibayashi.
Check out Rainbow Japan's website at http://www.rainbow.co.jp/
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