Tomoko Nanba talks about the methodology that will have a great impact on the future of the world



On May 22nd, X-HUB TOKYO, which supports domestic startups’ overseas expansion, will hold a kick-off event that will strongly back up overseas expansion of Tokyo entrepreneurs.

The outline of the program, which will start in fiscal year 2019, and the past cases of collaboration needs by large overseas companies were presented.

The keynote speech was given by Tomoko Nanba, the founder of DeNA. She will deliver a speech that encourages entrepreneurs to expand overseas.

Growing as a Japan’s leading IT company in 20 years

This year is a special year for me. It has been 20 years since the founding of the company.

When looking back on last 20 years, there are both good and bad memories. There are times that I can be proud of myself as well as regrettable situations.

I feel proud about the times that I survived. The company was able to grow into an IT company that represents Japan while delivering useful and enjoyable services to many users. I am very proud that I never gave up or looked backward at any time but continued to go forward with my hard work.

On the other hand, we could not become an IT company that represents the world. That is the most regrettable thing. There were times that I worked hard to make our services available to the entire world, but all the operations, tactics and strategies did not go well, and I gave up. When smartphones began to rise, all dominant platforms were taken over by the American companies.

This is not just our problem but a problem of Japan.

Acceleration of startups is a must

2018 is an era when IT extremely flourished. It is sad to mention that Japan could not create a company that created an overwhelming impact on the global market during this era.

Tough Japan created companies that provided a great ‘delight’ to the world after the Second World War, it was not the case during the recent 30 years. I strongly feel that we must create a lot of new companies in order to overcome this situation.

Of course, large companies have to work hard, and mega venture companies like ours also have to continue to work hard without giving up. And when looked at the problems of Japan, I believe that acceleration of startups is a must.


However, Japan’s startups are extremely small compared to China and the United States. Nowadays, talented young people are starting their businesses, but there are very few that has global standards. Most startups that are born in Japan are now in a situation where they get listed before reaching the full potential or maturity and end up soon.

In the age of providing great impact though minimum collaboration


Though there are various causes for this, I believe that root cause lies in education. Current education is a system that has one correct answer that mass produces masters who do not make mistakes. This system was ideal for postwar Japan’s development. In the recent years, the ability to find and create answers that nobody has found so far has become important, and the former education system has become ineffective. Under such circumstances, DeNA has been focusing on human resource development.


When identifying human resources, I place emphasis on the opposite of common sense. It means that I do not enslave myself to so-called common sense, or respect the authority. And when they join the company, I educate those who show their originality and try to their best, rather than giving the answers.


In order to create such talents to the world we, DeNA is actively engaged in this in various ways such as establishing a new business development program and an independent entrepreneur support program.

At the moment, DeNA is not just a baseball and game company. We do a lot of business. We are also thinking about expanding such business to outside.

We will provide our services and facilities such as stadiums to entrepreneurs to come up with new ideas. Particularly, we think that we can do something new by becoming a customer or partner.


So far, DeNA has concentrated on the business that was centered around DeNA only, but from now on we hope to collaborate with one another, and provide a great impact to the world.


Children always learn something that matters most to life

Ichiro retired the other day. At the time of the conference, I was mostly impressed about him when he was asked ‘what was the proudest thing in baseball life’. I expected him to talk about a hit, a prize or a game, but Ichiro said, “In the last year I was doubtful if I can’t make a hit or if I am not given a chance in a game, so I was prepared to do routine work as Rookie”.

It really moved my heart.


There is also a golf player named Tiger Woods. He got very good results and got injured, causing various problems and crawling from the bottom. When he revived and won at the Masters, he said, “It was good to show this to children.”

However, even if he didn’t win there, would not his children be proud of the father? I think that even if he was not qualified, children would still have the same respect and affection that would not change at all.


It is because there was a period when it was necessary to make an effort to climb up from the lowest condition, in each day and even if there were no results, I thought that children definitely learnt something that matters most from their own way of life.


In this way, basically, life is from where you are now, then there is a goal, and it is not a straight line toward it, it is something that you make twists and turns and sometimes retreats.

Join hands with various people to make a big impact on the world

The same was true for DeNA’s 20 years. I think that the path from now on will go with the feeling that we will achieve what we have left behind, but at the same time I think that there will always be a time when we are going to make twists and retreats. However, I think that what we leave behind for the future should be something more than a big achievement or a success, it should be a way of life that motivate people to work hard and be a source of enthusiasm for everyone.


When we say we will join hands with various people to create a great impact to the world, what we can’t forget is that, never turn back halfway through this road, never give up, maintain honesty and sincerity and work hard with a with a faith.

I hope that this attitude alone will enable us to seek high dimensions as companions.

Thank you very much.