I'm Kohin Ma
Global Division Sales Team
Bachelor of Law
Chinese / Japanese / English
I'm Kohin Ma
Global Division Sales Team
Bachelor of Law
Chinese / Japanese / English
About Kohin Ma
I am originally from China, but then my father decided to study abroad in Japan when I was 9 years old. My life in Japan started when my family moved to Japan along with my father. My family was originally planning to go back to China, but we stayed in Japan even after my father finished his education here. My father got a job in Japan, and also I was able to adapt to the Japanese environment really well. As I grew up in Japan, my family recommended that it will be more convenient in many ways if I naturalize my nationality, and become a Japanese, so I became a Japanese when I was 15 years old. I could have changed my name, yet I kept my last name “Ma” because it would be easy to remember and to keep my identity.
What did you do during college?
Finding my future overseas
At the beginning of my college life, I majored in business but then changed to online law major and spent most of my college years overseas until I graduated after 6-7 years since the entrance. First, I took a year off and spent 5 months in the Philippines and 7 months in Australia. The original purpose of going abroad was to study English, but then I began to grow strong interest to become the bridge person between China and Japan after spending so much time outside of Japan. At the remarkable turn of event, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in Beijing for 2 years where I gained hands-on experience.
What I learned outside of Japan
Out of many great people I had met overseas, I was fortunate enough to meet many business owners and entrepreneurs. These people looked brilliant and gave me so much inspiration and impact on my life. One of the most impressive game changers that I met in the Philippines was an exceptionally great person. This person had a strong commitment to solve the gap between the rich and the poor and even started his own social business. After meeting this person, I started to think more seriously about what I wanted to do in life before I actually started job hunting. After much consideration, I decided to become the bridge between China and Japan, so I started my internship at a start-up company in China. One essential lesson that I learned from this internship was that doing business was actually difficult.
However, all the lessons that I have learned a few years ago in China has become the foundation and advantage for my current job I have right now.
Internship was the most fruitful time in my 20’s
At the internship in China, I experienced starting a fashion E-commerce business with an entrepreneur, literally just the two of us from scratch. Early in my 20s, I was quite inspired by the vision of the business to an extent that I almost wanted to drop out of college. Since the CEO could not speak Chinese at all, I was in charge of interacting with the Chinese side business people not only translating but also running business along with the CEO. After 2 years of hard work, we ended up growing our business and expanding the brand portfolio from 4 to 10 brands. Our team also grew in 2 years from just the 2 of us to 20 members. The growth of the business came true because of the synergy with the CEO and the members who joined the company during the course of journey. Everyday was like a battlefield where continuous learning as an individual and as a team was an essential part of the success. In this internship, I was not only involved in the business side but also was in charge of the managerial strategy handling from finance, HR, and corporate management. I made plenty of mistakes, yet I was privileged to encounter the hard things a startup company had to go through which you could never read from books. These 2 years were definitely the most fruitful time of my 20’s learning valuable lessons.
Try your best to have no regrets later in life
I spent a long time as a university student, so I did almost everything I wanted to do. I believe that if there is something one really wishes to do in life, the person can start it anytime. So, I have no regrets.
What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?
Ask yourself what you want & how you want to spend time
There are many important skills to succeed in job hunting in Japan, but the most important thing is to be very clear about what you really want to do. Having a clear understanding of your goal will definitely help you to decide your career path. That being said, I think it is important to start with having your own dream or goal for the future. In my case, I spent a long university life and also spent a lot of time abroad. It may seem like a detour, but that’s how I found what I really want to do. I still believe that the decision and path that I have taken is still the best way. In order to find what you really want to do, going out of your own community and putting yourself in a completely new environment to meet various people is necessary to broaden your horizons. I believe this aspect applies when you look for a suitable company for yourself as well. It is important to take a look at not only big companies but also start-ups or uprising companies.
What are the beneficial skills needed for working in Japan?
2 important things to work in Japan
I have two pieces of advice; enthusiasm and execution. It is important to be enthusiastic about work and to be able to execute. The works that are assigned to new-graduates might be simple and carry less responsibility compared to the seniors. Some of the work may look tedious, but you always need to gain something out of the tasks given to you so that you can reach closer and closer to the long term goal of your life. If you have this goal-oriented thinking along the way, you will be more likely to find value in the tasks assigned to you and also keep yourself motivated. In my case, I always try to “do it rather than thinking about it”, so I can be a change agent all the time. Because of this mindset, I have learned so many lessons from each tasks.
What does Global Division Sales Team Do?
Currently at Allied Architects, I am mainly in charge of the Chinese SNS marketing support for Japanese clients. We provide a one-stop SNS marketing solution from planning, proposing, executing and reporting our marketing strategy for clients aiming to target Chinese visitors to Japan and/or clients expanding to China utilizing cross-border E-commerce platforms.
Work Environment Allied Architects
Employee-friendly environment with diversity
I think the working environment at the company is great. Currently, we have to work remotely at home because of Covid-19, but when we actually work in the office, each meeting room has all the online tools and web-business meeting tools which helps employees to allocate time and resources in a very efficient way. Also, our office is located in Ebisu which is a very easy access in the heart of Tokyo.
The team I am currently working with is called the Global Division, and nearly half of the members are from China. We use both Chinese and Japanese to communicate with each other. Members in our team truly care about the clients, so we discuss freely and talk straight when it comes to business which I personally think is one of the best features about our company.
Entrepreneurial mind-set as a growing venture company
In my opinion, employees working at big companies are assigned with smaller scale tasks which carry less responsibilities compared to employees working at venture companies. Allied Architects is more like a venture company, so employees at our company can get big opportunities even if they are comparatively new to the company. In my case, I was assigned to a project with a big Chinese cosmetic company during my first year at Allied Architects. I made mistakes sometimes and got a hard lesson by some clients a few times, but I enjoyed working and learning in this challenging environment. At our company, we always think about how to prevent the same mistake from happening again as a team when someone makes a mistake. Needless to say that making mistakes is not acceptable in any professional fields, yet some clients evaluate our services even more than before when we come back strong and improve our operations.
Doing business in China has its unique and intangible challenges due to the internet restrictions which we encounter in our marketing support. Therefore, keeping up to date regarding the latest situation on a daily basis is a requirement to successfully provide marketing support for our clients since this market is volatile to change over one night.
Challenge & Responsibility
One of our core value at Allied Architects is “Challenge & Responsibility” “ワクワクヒリヒリ” (waku-waku,hiri-hiri). In our definition, Challenge & Responsibility becomes true only if the following 2 conditions coexist. First, people get excited (waku-waku) when challenging new or difficult things. Secondly, we feel responsible (hiri-hiri) when making promises to the new or difficult things. We treasure this value of having these 2 different emotions coexisting in our mind all time. Especially in the Global Division, our services are a growing domain within our company, so the expectation from the top management is very challenging. Everyday, we aim to target the challenging goal feeling “hiri-hiri” by working collectively as a team feeling excited and responsible, waku-waku.
In the end, I feel very proud and motivated when we achieve big projects as a team and bring great results to spread great products and services from Japan to China.
To be the bridge between China and Japan
Ever since I came to Japan at the age of 9, I had various experiences. Unfortunately, I was bullied once just because I am a Chinese. Due to the international relationship between China and Japan in recent years, it seems like people have prejudice against each other. After studying abroad for years outside of Japan, I have gradually begun to grow a strong commitment to create a society where Japanese and Chinese can positively care about each other, and my role to make it happen is to become the bridge between Japan and China. At this point in my life, my mission is to spread services and products across these 2 countries by feeling “waku-waku” and “hiri-hiri”.
Recommended Job-hunting Resource
wantedly / barikatsu