Which are the top commonly preferred Japanese companies?


Working in Japan gives me an opportunity to observe cultural and societal aspects rather different from Europe or the US. Personally I continuously learn more about the rather unique Japanese marketing style. For sure a wide range of company naming exists in Japan, when I would like to focus your attention on the picture on the side: Tomato Bank. To this day I am wondering how this name was created and moreover, how come that the management supported this unusual idea? Frankly no matter how much time I take trying to figure out the logic behind this name branding, I still cannot see any connections with tomatoes and banks, money or loans.
Let me move one step back and ask the question: Within Japan what kind of companies are perceived as the top companies? In the recent Nikkei Shimbun an overview of the commonly top rated Japanese companies was presented. The feedback for this survey was conducted in November last year and contains the responses from 4094 men and 4406 women. On one side, I am shocked that it seems that for 3 years an insurance company gets overall top rating – because instead of finding creativity, I perceive a desire for protection of the present – but even more I am flabbergasted that it seems necessary to divide the responses based on gender.
First let me list the results of the survey about overall top rated Japanese companies based on Nikkei Shimbun, the leading economical newspaper in Japan.

1. Tokyo Kaijonichido Kasai Hokken (Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. 東京海上日動火災保険株式会社)
2. Nihon Seimei Hokken (Nippon Life Insurance Company, short version Nissay, 日本生命保険相互会社)
3. Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank
4. Mitsui Sumitomo Kajio Kasai Hoken (Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd, 三井住友海上火災保険)
5. Mitsui Sumitomo Bank
6. Mizuho Financial Group
7. Daiichi Seime (The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Ltd, 第一生命保険株式会社)
8. Sony
9. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank
10. JR Higashi Nihon (East Japan Railway Company, 東日本旅客鉄道株式会社)

Overall insurances and banks top the list, when the selection was done based on company performance, size, stability and perceived global competitiveness. Considering the long ongoing economical challenges Japan is facing, society seems to trust mostly stable companies, which by nature of the business are not aggressive. I would have never expected Sony to get a rank in the top ten list, but it seems their customer service got an unusual high-ranking.
Before having a look at this company overview, I had assumed that there is no need to separate responses based on gender. I automatically assumed that in a business sense both gender have similar priorities in ranking companies. Personally I focus on profit, product innovation, customer service, company culture and word of mouth of employee satisfaction.
Lets check the responses from male respondents about the top 10 companies, which do not differ much from the previous list.

1. Tokyo Kaijonichido Kasai Hokken (Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. 東京海上日動火災保険株式会社)
2. Nihon Seimei Hokken (Nippon Life Insurance Company, short version Nissay, 日本生命保険相互会社)
3. Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank
4. Daiichi Seime (The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Ltd, 第一生命保険株式会社)
5. Mitsui Sumitomo Bank
6. Sony
7. Mitsui Sumitomo Kajio Kasai Hoken (Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd, 三井住友海上火災保険)
8. JR Higashi Nihon (East Japan Railway Company, 東日本旅客鉄道株式会社)
9. Mizuho Financial Group
10. Tokai Ryokaku Tetsudo (Central Japan Railway Company, 東海旅客鉄道株式会社)

With women now all of a sudden travel and food related companies pop up later in the list, when the Railway part is gone.

1. Nihon Seimei Hokken (Nippon Life Insurance Company, short version Nissay, 日本生命保険相互会社)
2. Tokyo Kaijonichido Kasai Hokken (Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. 東京海上日動火災保険株式会社)
3. Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank
4. Mitsui Sumitomo Kajio Kasai Hoken (Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd, 三井住友海上火災保険)
5. Mizuho Financial Group
6. Mitsui Sumitomo Bank
7. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank
8. ANA (All Nippon Airways, 全日本空輸株式会社)
9. JTB Group (Japan Tourist Bureau)
10. Meiji Group (mainly diary products, chocolate)

I am not sure what is for me more surprising, the actual difference of response based on gender or the possibility that Japanese companies are not truly effective in their marketing and PR approach addressing both gender.
As a side remark: The company I have been observing closely recently due to their promising business strategy made it at number 19th on the list: Suntory Holdings Ltd.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

8 thoughts on “Which are the top commonly preferred Japanese companies?

    • Dear バッグ 新作,

      thank you very much for your comment. Is there a chance that you can explore further your comment, because I don’t understand why you prefer to list mcmカバン as a noteworthy Japanese company.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you,

      Sibylle Ito

  1. Thank you for your interesting list about Japanese companies. I have also the same preference for ANA and JTB at the female list. maybe I think that those comepanies give female workers more opportunities to work than other companies. For example, in ANA cabin attendants are mostly made up with female workers. And in JTB workers at counters are also made up with female workers. So women including me have favourable impression on these companies that they give female workers opportunity to work. But I am not sure whether they can get promotion or not. Although most workers at the branch in my town are femal, the manager is a male worker.
    I am also interested in the last rank of female table. Chocorate company is on the last rank of the list. It is funny and interesting. Do chocolates attract women stronger than JR or other financial companies ? Maybe so. I love chocolates, too. Thank you for your interesting lists about Japanese companies that tell us a lot of interesting factors in society.

    • Dear Nishi san,

      thank you very much for your comment.
      Personally I am still somewhat doubtful whether really a high number of visible female has any connections with being a “female friendly company”. Furthermore, I believe the goal is to be an profitable, employee friendly company and then gender does not play a role anymore.
      I have to confess I love chocolate, but Meiji has not ranked yet high on my favorite chocolate list. On the other hand, I believe I am a good Meiji milk buyer.

      All the best and hope to see you again here,

      Sibylle Ito

  2. It would be interesting to compare the rankings 10, 20 years ago.

    Interesting too that no foreign company makes the top ten, also that bastions such as Toyota and Matsushita did not either.

    But interesting to know that the ladies at the tellers’ desks at the major banks are loyal representatives of prevailing culture, even if they are unhelpful and tongue-tied.

    • Dear David,

      thanks for your comment.
      Potentially you can find more information then from the Japan Business Database (Teikoku) on older business ratings. This time Nikkei Shimbun focused solely mainly on this year’s data compared to last year’s data.
      Additonally note that the question was about the general rating of Japanese companies, therefore foreign companies are not included.
      Just being curious, what is the connection for you with customer service (unhelpful and tongue tied) with loyality as a female employee? Can you let me know more about your thought?

      Thanks for your time to comment,

      Sibylle Ito

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