How is the Job Market in Japan?

Hi Everyone, 

Yesterday, I wrote that the Japanese try to live economically and are not very interested in earning money. It is encouraged to work hard and not to talk about money.

Some people say it is because we are not educated about money at school.

Japanese also have a very unique idea of a job.

Today,  I want to talk a little bit about the job market.

Japanese don’t change a job or company often. It is called ‘lifetime employment’ and still highly respected.

These days, only 5% of people change a job on average, which may be much lower than that of the rest of the world.

This is what I think. 

I changed my job several times. I don’t belong to the typical Japanese group, I guess..

I started my career at Canon. There were two people I worked with. One guy was one year older than I, and the other was one year younger than I in accounting. I recently found that both became the executives of Canon.

I wonder what would happen if I stayed with Canon. Sometimes..

Well, it means

working in Shinjuku HeadQuarters for long (this is Shinjuku now)

taking crowded trains every day…

And being relocated to oversea branches for five years as other accounting people are.

And I chose a different career. No right or wrong.

I respect life-time employment as well. It was just my personal preference to change a job when I like.

I also had a chance to work for foreign companies and learned a lot from them. This is a summary of my career if you are interested.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/toshiyafukuma

People have a perfect job in mind, but often it ends up in a so-so job. Any job has a good and bad aspects. Any work place has people easy to talk to and difficult to talk to.

But, how do you know it is good or bad if you know only one job?

I lived in the USA and stayed in Finland for several months.

With those experiences, I was able to develop my opinion on what is good about Japan and what is not.  If I only lived in Japan, I would not get it.

The same applies to the job market. You can see many aspects of different jobs or companies when you change a job.

That is what I loved.

I will talk about Fude Japan work in my next blog.

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Japanese people prefer to live poorly?

Hi Everyone, 

I read an interesting article about why the Japanese don’t talk about money in public. 

Japanese don’t tend to talk about money. That is true.

Money is not a subject that good people want to talk about. It is ethically believed.

In Japan, the school doesn’t teach kids what money is. 

It is a beauty that people work hard even though they don’t get rich. 

You may know ‘Oshin.’  It is a TV program of NHK that a poor girl works so hard, lives her life vigorously and gets over all kinds of difficulties.

That has been a good role model in Japan. 

This mentality dates back to 400 years ago, according to one source.

It was the Warrior era where many samurai’s fought to govern Japan. 

All kinds of people could be a ruler. Toyotomi, the winner, was a farmer before being a disciple of Nobunaga Oda. 

In 1584, Nobunaga, a revolution fighter, was killed in Kyoto by his disciple, called Akechi.

Ieyasu Tokugawa, a Nobunaga’s alliance, was staying in Osaka with only a few people so he needed to run from the Akechi army. He gave up on surviving once. This picture is from a TV drama where Tokugawa decided to die.

but, he miraculously managed to go back from Osaka to his town near Nagoya, going through mountains.

On his way back,  Tokugawa was attempted to kill by not only his enemy but farmers who wanted money. 

This experience became the basis of how he governed Japan. 

He wanted Japanese people to have little money and live poorly ( or frugally )!

He closed the country to the world for 300 years. 

He divided the society into 4 classes (samurai, farmer, artisan, and merchant ) and prohibited them from moving. 

He made other lords live poorly to establish a system called Sankin Kotai. Sankin Kotai (参勤交代) makes lords come and see Shogun in Edo(Tokyo) every other year. 

Those lords got poor by spending a big money on bringing many people to Tokyo. This spending was a strategy to get rid of money from lords who might decide to fight against Tokugawa.

So,

This is the basis for the mentality to work and live poorly. 

It still works under the contemporary Japan. 

This theory makes sense to me. 

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Are Japanese students spoiled?

(the featured picture is Kihtisu animal year brush)

Hi Everyone, 

It is December.

And it will be an entrance exam season soon. 

In this blog, 

I want to talk about the Japanese school system. 

It is 

6 (elementary school)

3 (junior high)

3 (high)

4 (university)

It is compulsory to graduate from Junior High school.

Inevitably, a student needs to take an entrance exam for High school and University.

It is January, February and March when students take an exam.

It is once a year, therefore, students study hard under a huge pressure. 

And if they fail in the exam, they will have a

‘Ronin’ 浪人 year.

Ronin is originally a samurai who lost his job.

In the Tokugawa era,  Tokugawa Shogun often gave a hard time to a lord who did not obey the Shogun and sometimes deprived him of the territory. 

Especially, early in the 1600’s, many lords who supported Toyotomi, the rival of Tokugawa, were broken by the shogun. 

A samurai who lost his lord had nowhere to go.

They wandered around a town and did nothing. 

The Ronin word comes from the Edo Period.

Students, who fail the exam, spend an entire year to prepare for an entrance exam.

Very hard year and needs self-discipline, but they can only study for a whole year. 

It is hard. And big pressure,

but 

I like what a teacher of one preparation school said, 

‘How many students are allowed only to study in the world?’

Yes it is the privilege of those Ronin students  that they don’t have to work, earn money and help their parents. 

Many children in the world have to work and earn money to support their parents. 

What those Japanese students do: 

Only to study. 

In fact, I had one year of Ronin, and I am still thankful to my parents. 

I still feel I was spoiled.

And many Japanese students are spoiled. 

They need to know this .

And the same can be said to many adults in Japan who always complain about living in Japan.

I am spoiled! I recall this word for myself all the time.

One of my motivations to work.

Thank you for reading, 

Toshiya

Hidden market to meet a partner in Japan

Hi Everyone, 

I had a cup of coffee with an old friend of mine the other day. All of a sudden, he said he got married several months ago. 

I went shopping in a department store. One shop employee told me that she was happily seeing someone. 

In this blog, I will not write about them, but I will write how they met their partners and how they should.

In Japan, ‘Omiai’ has been a popular way to meet and get married. Maybe till 30 years ago.

Japan traditionally consists of a community e.g. village.  An old person (usually a woman ) talks to another village’s counterpart if there is a candidate to get married to. 

That was typical of Omiai. 

My parents met through Omiai.  An 80-year old woman was a matchmaker. 

My parents were matchmakers as well, as my father was a high school teacher and my mother ran a stationery store, so they knew people. 

I think this couple was the first one that they arranged.  My father is next to the bridegroom and my mother is next to the bride. 

Once Mother told me if she successfully arranged marriage, she would get 100,000 yen. It was a long time ago and I don’t know the current market.

But I remember she spent lots of her time and 100,000 yen was nothing for her work. Yet she seemed to enjoy being a matchmaker.

Now time passed and how people meet is different. 

Dating apps

Well, apps are not yet dominant ways of meeting, but it is getting popular. 

Those people I mentioned both met their partners by apps. 

Japan is changing)

though the market has been the same.

In general, women are complaining that very few good men are in the market.  Mother said the same thing when she was a matchmaker.  I think it is true. 

Here is my biased opinion which could be very wrong, lol. 

In Japan, women seek men with three ‘high’s 

Good school (high education background)

Good money (high income)

Tall (high)

Those men are not so available – not many whether it is apps or Omiai or party …

Very competitive with many rivals.

I think there is a hidden group of men who don’t join the market whether it is apps or parties.

It is Otaku.  I think it is already an English word.

In Japan, otaku are people who are excessively interested in manga, anime, figurines, computers, trains,  etc. 

Otaku guys are not good at communicating with women.

They go to Akihabara to be socialized with other Otaku’s. 

But most of them are intelligent with some engineering backgrounds and earn good money. 

Imagine this,

A woman has the first date with Otaku. 

He doesn’t talk muc, and asks very few questions. She tries to ask questions to be friendly, but his reply is very limited.

And silence… 

She will not meet him anymore.

I totally understand this is not an ideal date.  

But she can change or grow this man and introduce him to a new world. 

Maybe he can wear new clothes and gets fashionable with her advice. She can change him to be more amusing later. Maybe he will be a good father who loves kids so much. 

I know there are many ‘if’ and ‘maybe’ but this is the hidden market. 

And it is true that there are many men in this hidden market and they have the potentials to be good husbands.

Here are some limited products.

https://fudejapan.com/product-category/limited-brushes/

Thank you for reading.

Toshiya

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

What do you think favorite dishes are among Japanese?

Maybe these TV survey results are not very different from what you think. 

If you travel to Japan, I want you to enjoy Japanese dishes of many kinds.

Food here is not so expensive as you might be imagining. You will not regret travelling to Japan for food)

These are rankings of the dishes Japanese like:

No. 5 Grilled fish (Yakizakana)

This is daily food, we eat more fish than meat.

Japan consists of many islands, and fish has been always main dishes. We still eat it almost every day.

Well, Unagi is my favorite though it gets expensive year by year. Unagi is not daily food now, but we eat it on a special occasion. Still good! I bought this Unagi at supermaket)

Grilled Mackerel is a typical breakfast for Japanese. It is not so expensive but healthy.

No 4 Miso soup

At breakfast for most families. 

We are raised by miso soup so kids remember it as mother’s taste.  Married men still like ‘mothers’ tastes’ more than their wives’,

and women call them マザコン Mother’s boys, and want them to change but…

Mothers are strong! Maybe everywhere in the world?

No.3 ramen

No.2 sashimi 

No.1 sushi 

These three are known to most of you and I would recommend you to try them in Japan, and compare them with those in your home country. 

Sushi has been expensive, but ramen is not. Especially we have cup ramen which also tastes well. 

But Conveyor Belt sushi makes sushi not special anymore these days. Sushi bento(last pictures) can bought at less than 1000 yen for lunch.

Oh Natto is not here, it was ranked 20th, so even for Japanese, Natto is difficult to eat at first.

Personally, I try to eat more miso, natto, tsukemono (Japanese pickles ) these days as those fermented dishes work well inside a body.

Sake is aslo fermented, but I am so weak at it that I drink Amazake !

Please try)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya


There are some makeup shops I don't want to visit

Hi Everyone, 

As you may know, I am located in Shibuya, so three or four department stores are within a walking distance. 

It sounds easy, right?

But, it takes some energy to go to the makeup sections of the department stores. I can feel that male customers are not welcomed, as we don’t look like regular buyers.

A new place is especially difficult as shop employees wonder what I want.  Sometimes they ignore me.

They don’t think I would buy high-end cosmetics though most shops say there are many male customers. Is it true? I seldom see men alone there.

At the shops I regularly go to, I have explained to them that I send Japanese brushes and makeup to overseas so  I  have an easier time.

Actually, many are very nice. 

Of course, it depends on a person. I have some people easy to talk to and difficult to talk to. 

I googled some surveys on which brands are friendlier and which are less.

I can see that some or many Japanese women feel pressured to visit a department cosmetic section as they are more expensive than drug stores and also they sit and receive a touch-up. 

These are what I found.

Good : Albion and Decorte are friendly. 

MAC shop employees don’t look friendly,  but actually they turned out to be great, LOL.

Ok: IPSA, Dior, ADDICTION has mixed opinions.

Maybe no good: NARS (I haven’t bought much there so I don’t know…)

I know I cannot generalize brands’ images, as they totally depend on a person whom a customer talks to.

Here are the rankings based on my experinces:

Good!

Albion, Decorte, SUQQU, Jill Stuart, Laduree, Paul and Joe, RMK

Chicca ( sorry they will close)

Mixed feelings??

ADDICTION,   Tom Ford,  Shiseido 

I don’t want to go….

Chanel

Armani 

Shu Uemura (except for one person, LOL)

At the last three brands, I try to spend as short time as possible, lol.

In general, shop employees are well trained, and I may be just demanding and spoiled.

I will update these rankings from time to time)

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya


Hakuhodo brush will be returned to the factory

Hi Everyone,

I received a call from Hakuhodo. 

I had an order of 4 x G5558, and one of them was not made as it should have been.  There is the Hakuhodo Standard which they need to follow, and they have the quality-check division.

But the right one was sharper than the others, and the shop kindly called me to inform that it would be returned to the factory and the delivery would be one week late.

Their explanation is that a brush is made by hand, and it is inevitable that not all brushes are exactly the same. 

I have been to Koyudo, Chikuhodo and Houkodo to tour the factories, and saw the process by hand, but I have never been to Hakuhodo.

I heard that they did not provide a tour.

I was guessing they achieved their own standardization processes, which might be a secret.

Otherwise, they could not make so many brushes every day. 

Takeda said the same, but they claim to be a family-company with a small operation and it makes sense.

Well, a shop explained to me that brushes were different from each other but the difference should be small. 

And that right one will be returned.

By the way, I worked for Canon, which makes cameras and copiers, etc.

I had training at a camera factory and participated in the manufacturing line.

The processes were strictly managed, and my part was rejected at first, LOL.

That is the beauty of Japanese manufacturing, represented by Toyota Kaizen.

Each Kaizen proposal is paid, 500 yen, I recall, and better ones get paid more.

It was every day when I wrote several Kaizen proposals for the 500 yen.

Valuable bonus for the first year employee, right?

Thank for your reading,

Toshiya

Have you tried this ramen in Tokyo?

Hi Everyone, 

I recognize that some of you have been to Japan. 

Some are repeaters, and you know Japanese food very well. 

I am often surprised that you know places I have never been to) 

Living in Tokyo, Japan,  I can tell you that the restaurant prices are in general not too expensive. Most of lunch is provided at less than 1000 yen, and dinner is not as expensive as you imagine. 

And they have good service. 

Actually, the restaurant business is very competitive, and employees work hard, but not get paid well. Yet, most employees provide good service, which I am proud of as a Japanese. 

Most competitive may be the ramen business.

I want to introduce ‘Ramen Jiro’ in this blog.

It is located next to Keio University, which I graduated from, so I was walking to school while looking at a long line every day. 

The portion size is large with bean sprouts/cabbage and pork. It is what students love. Shoyu, soy sauce, is special.

Menu is simple with only two kinds -しょう(Shou)  and だい(Dai). Shou is small and Dai is big, lol. Simple is good)

There is a story that one American student, who came from Stanford and studied at Keio. He wasn’t able to read Kanji but was able to speak Japanese.

He came to Ramen Jiro every day to see the owner.

He came back to USA, and  often comes back to Japan for travel.

He eats ramen everywhere in Japan, but he says Ramen Jiro is best. 

If you worked for Ramen Jiro for three to four years, you can open your ramen Jiro shop on your own.

Actually, there is one in Boston,

I would not highly recommend this place LOL, as you need to wait in a long line, but if you are fond of ramen, and want to find a different ramen shop. 

This may be it. 

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Working for a big company in Japan is respected?

Hi Everyone,

I read an interesting blog by a foreigner living in Japan.

‘Entrepreneurs in Japan complain it is difficult to find a girlfriend. One reason is parents want their daughters to marry a man who works for a big respected Japanese company. If a boyfriend works for a small unknown startup, parental approval is usually denied.’

Interesting, right?

Personally, it not safe anymore to work for a big company. Yet, this is still a mentality of parents, and maybe daughters as well.

Another foreigner disagreed: 

‘This is hardly representative of all Japan. Actually Japan is a much more fragmented country than one would initially assume. Besides, let us not forget this is a country of small companies and artisans, and historically a country of entrepreneurs. Hard work in small companies is highly regarded.’

This is also true.  How about Kumano brush companies? Most of them are still operated by family members. (An artisan working for Koyomo)

Hiroshima’s most international company is Mazda, but I cannot name another big one easily.   A local city is full of small companies, artisans, startups.

Both represent Japan well. 

Knowing this fact, parents still want a daughter to marry a man working for a big company.

Working for a big company means ‘stability’ and small companies means ‘risk’ in Japan.

Maybe true now but I wonder how long this idea will last. 

Also, I wrote about Konkatsu ( activity to seek for a marriage partner) before and received interesting feedback!

I will write more about it in coming newsletters)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

Japan's best Judo player lost in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic

Hi Everyone,  

As you might know, Tokyo will have the Olympic in 2020. The last Tokyo Olympic was held in 1964, and maybe, for me, it will be the first time to watch it in my life.

I might be lucky to watch some of them, but I expect that people from overseas watch more and enjoy the rest of Japan.  

I want to talk about one story. It is about Judo competition in 1964. It was the first time Judo was competed in Olympics, and Japan, as the Judo country at that time, was supposed to win all the 4 classes.

I mean Judo was not so international as now, especially now European countries are so good. Japan won three gold medals in a row, and the last day was the heaviest, where the match would decide the strongest Judo player in the world. 

The opponent was a Dutch Judo player, called Geesink. He was good and he had  been improving himself by staying in Japan many times before the Olympic to practice with Japanese.

Moreover, his personality and discipline were highly spoken of among Japanese players. 

And he beat the Japanese finalist.

The auditorium became quiet, and the Japanese finalist seemed to be crying.  

It was the next moment : when the Dutch coach tried to hug Geesink on the tatami, Geesink stopped him from coming.(the picture below) And he came back to the original position to bow to his opponent.

Judo as a Budo, which begins with Rei and ends with Rei, where everything begins and ends with a bow. A bow represents ‘courtesy’ or ‘respect’ to others.

 He shocked many Japanese by his victory, but impressed Japanese more with his courtesy. His behavior is still highly spoken as a Judo sprit. 

Maybe this was the moment, when Judo began to be international from a local sport. 

Thank you for reading again!

Toshiya

Japanese students wear uniform?

Hi Everyone, 
I woke up early today at 5 am. This time, I did not go back to sleep,  LOL. Instead, I went to a gym, where many people were doing excercies before work. I was surprised!

Anyway, it is not what I want to talk about. 

When I came back, I saw many high school students walking to school. 

In Japan, most schools have uniforms, As a matter of fact, uniforms are important to students, and some students consider how attractive uniforms are when they select a school to go to. 

Personally, I was not interested in school uniform, and I wore a typical black uniform with a stand-up collar for six years. Actually, the high school I went to did not have any school uniform. However, It was a boys’ school, and they did not care much and most of students wore black ones. 

Years later, I read an essay Haruki Murakami, a novelist,  wrote. I don’t remember it exactly but it was like this :

‘My (Murakami’s) high school had a vote whether students should wear a uniform or can wear anything we like.  The result was that we should wear a uniform. I was disappointed at the result as we did not choose ‘freedom.’ We did throw away the right of having freedom.’

I am not sure if this is an issue of ‘freedom’ but rather Japanese don’t want to stand out from colleagues. Maybe most people feel comfortable when they belong to a community where they feel ‘same.’

At the same time, freedom is not something that is given free, history proves.

Well, when I see students wearing school uniforms, I recall that essay that Murakami wrote, and I think of ‘freedom’ or ‘culture.’ 

Thank you for reading again,
Toshiya

Memory of Bento box

Hi Everyone, 

It is still raining and cold outside so today I bought a bento box for lunch.

It is the food section of the new building ‘Scramble Square’ I went to. Here are some pictures.

Have you ever head of bento box ?

It is a lunch box, and in Japan, it is common to have okazu and rice in a bento box.

Okazu is a side dish, with rice. 

Side dishes could be chicken, beef, pork… 

Rice is often provided in the form of ‘Onigiri’ with seaweed like these:

I had my bento made by my mother during Junior High and High schools. It was so much fun to open a bento, I remember. Maybe a students’ favorite time)

My mother ran a stationery store, so sometimes she was so busy that my grandmother made it.

Grandmother tried her best but how it looked was a bit old-fashion at the time, and I remember I was embarrassed when I opened it in front of my classmates.

And I did not thank her when I came home. Or I might have even told her not to make bento for me because I was not able to open it at classroom.

Now, when I am relaxed while taking a long bath, this bitter memory comes back to me.

If she was still alive and made me a bento, I would give her plenty of gratitude. And I should have proudly opened her bento box in front of classmates. I just did not have such courage.

In Japan, we say 

孝行のしたいときには親はなし

it means 

‘By the time you wish to be a good child, your parents are long gone.’

In this case, it is my grandmother. I have many things to say to her.

For brushes, here are some sets for Christmas – Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo.

Please let me know if you are interested)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya

American soldier and Japanese boy after the War

Hi Everyone,

I want to talk about one story right after Word War II.
I get some good feedback on writing about Japan itself. I am going to learn makeup and brushes more to give you more useful information!

In Japan, we are supposed to respect old people. We help senior people. We have seats in all trains for old people, pregnant women, and others but any kind of seats would (should ) be given to old people by younger people.

I was always spending time with my grandmother when I was a kid as my mother owned a stationery shop and was seldom at home. So even now I like watching happy grandmothers with their grandkids on the street. Not grandfathers, lol. They seem to be happy but I am sure they have many experiences, good and bad. Especially during and after the war.

I asked many questions about the war of my grandmother – she did not tell me much .. She was in Taiwan and the ship she took was wrecked by a storm on her way back to Japan in 1945. She thought she would die but survived. That may have been the only thing she talked about. She had a painting in her room which looked like so wet. 

This is the story of an American soldier and a Japanese boy at that time.

In 1946, after Japan surrendered, the Allied forces came to Japan from USA and the British Common Wealth. My father told me he spoke with an Australian soldier in Hiroshima, where those from British Common Wealth stayed. He somehow acknowledged Australian accents)

USA occupied Tokyo.

There was a 20 year -old soldier who came to Tokyo. His name was George. George worked at GHQ, General HeadQuarters in Tokyo, as an interpreter.

George met a Japanese boy, who polished shoes of American soldiers at GHQ. The boy looked so hungry that George made a sandwich with jam and butter and give it to him. He bowed and thanked to him, but did not eat it and instead put it into a box.

George said, ‘you can eat it here, you must be hungry’
The boy said, ‘Yes. I am hungry, but my 3 -year old sister is waiting at home. She is the only family member. I am going to eat it with her. Thank you very much’ He bowed politely. ’Her name is Mariko.’

George, a Japanese American, at the time of the war, felt inferior to his American colleagues. He met this boy, was actually encouraged by this boy, who lived in a dignified manner in the devastated land and poverty. 

George helped him for two months, but he decided to come back to USA to study law. 

Later, he came back to Japan and looked for the boy and his sister Mariko, but was not able to find them. Those brother and sister would be around 80 years old now if they were alive.

His last name is Ariyoshi. 
George Ariyoshi became a lawyer and politician after he studied law and later became Governor of Hawaii in 1974.

Those were tough times, not only in Japan, but everywhere in the world, and I remember this story when I see old ladies ( and men) who must have had a hard time.  Hard times that I cannot imagine. But they look happy now.

Thank you for reading again!
Toshiya

Crowded train and a frog in warm water

Hi Everyone, 

I took a subway the other day during the busy hours.

It was crowded. 

Usually, the trains between 7 and 9 AM are the most crowded, and that is one of a few things I don’t like Tokyo about. 

I spent my high school days in Hiroshima where I took a 7am train every day. It was crowded, but not comparable to Tokyo. 

Also, the number of trains are so few. In Tokyo, it comes every 2 to 5 minutes. 

I was thinking….

Many Japanese take it for granted that they have no choice but to commute on crowded trains.  Is it so?

There are plenty of choices you can make in life. Move to the countryside,  move to another country, quit a company and establish own business….

It is the beauty that Japanese work so diligently for e.g. 35 years until they retire. It was not unusual that people work for one company for a lifetime.  And this type of people contributed to the growth of the Japanese economy. In return, a company provides lifetime stability. 

At the time, maybe till recently,  people ’s mindset is that they should work for the same company and they have no other choice. The same mentality as they need to take a crowded train every day. 

One of my colleague’s favorite story is a frog in warm water. 

Not so hot, a  little warmer than usual, a frog doesn’t recognize it and stays. The frog stays there long and eventually dies…. 

My colleague quit the company for a new career path.

Maybe many Japanese are like frogs in warm water. It is hard to recognize a difference, but if you stay long, you will be another ‘you.’

My thought when I took a morning bath, LOL

I am checking which  Japan foundation is good, and try to write a blog about it. My knowledge is so little that I need time…

Albion, RMK, Decorte, Shiseido, THREE, SUQQU…

Thank you for reading!

Toshiya

Takeda brush ordering process

Hi Everyone,

We had a parade yesterday for the new Emperor and Empress. 

The parade was scheduled a month ago but the big typhoon damaged Japan so badly that it was postponed.

The Emperor is a symbol of Japan, and he has no political influence. He tries to be with people as much as possible so that Japanese people like the Emperor very much. The Empress was a diplomat educated at Tokyo University and Harvard, and am playing a role to be friends with foreign countries. The parade was watched by 27% of the nation. 

About brushes,

Today, I want to talk about the ordering process for Takeda.

Takeda is a Kumano brush maker and made Nadeshiko brushes to celebrate the World Cup win by Japanese women soccer.

Takada, for me, works like Hakuhodo. I buy a brush at Shinjuku Takashimaya at retail price + 10% tax. So I charge 20% in addition to a price excluding tax in the same way as Hakuhodo. 

The difference is that I exchange information with Takeda President to specify a client requirement so a brush can be almost order- made. 

A handle color can be chosen. Handle wood can also be chosen between a usual one and maple.  Hair shape can be requested – its length, width etc by presenting pictures sent by a client, which I send to Takeda. It is not exact-made as OEM that has a test product to start with. But it is unique that you can request a brush you like, by utilizing what Takeda has.

The downside is that it takes 2 to 3 weeks and I would ask you to accept a completed product though it might not be exactly the same as you want. Takeda tries best to make a brush you like, but it is made only with the resources they have. They send me pictures and you can check them before finalizing your order.

Takeda is flexible with client requests, which makes a difference from other brush makers.

If you are interested, please let me know)

Thank you for reading,

Toshiya