About Us

COMPANY

With offices in Tokyo and Osaka hosting a team of more than 70 full time researchers and 100 staff interviewers, CarterJMRN is a full service Japan-based market research and innovation insights agency. Our history began in 1989 with the founding of the Japan Market Resource Network, which merged with Carter Associates in 2012.

In those more than 30 years we have worked with most of the major international brands to have entered and prospered in Japan. As a proudly multicultural agency, we are known for the cultural depth and effectiveness of our responses to clients’ challenges, applying intelligent and efficient design to deliver actionable outcomes. We work to deliver highly practical, prescriptive and actionable insights, no matter how difficult the challenge seems.

We believe that, although the terrain you face in building a successful marketing strategy and activation path sometimes seems obscure, the path to success is knowable and that the consumer is the guide who will show you the way. Our work is creative and stretching yet grounded in the consumer’s life, their culture and the truths they reveal. We combine the tools of the market research trade with our sense of collaboration, thinking, creativity and boundless enthusiasm to help you create the understandings that drive you to action. Our goal is nothing less than to help you create a successful partnership between your brand and the people who trust it.

The CarterJMRN Family

Debbie Howard

Chairman

Debbie has lived and worked in Japan for over 30 years, and founded JMRN in 1989. Debbie is a specialist in translating qualitative research into clear strategic direction for international clients, and over her career has worked with most major brands that have entered Japan. She served as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) in 2004 and 2005, Chairman in 2006 and 2007, and continues to serve as ACCJ President Emeritus. Debbie also serves as an advisor to the US-Japan Bridging Foundation, which facilitates study-in-Japan programs for U.S. college students.

Dominic Carter

Representative Director & CEO

A double major graduate in marketing and Japanese studies from the University of New South Wales, Dominic came to Japan from Australia in the late 90’s to launch and develop the Japan business of a major global research company. His career highlights include being local managing director for a top ten global research agency, founding his own business in Japan and helping some of the largest brands in the world use research to influence real improvements in their Japanese business performance.

Takashi Iizuka

Chief Operating Officer

When it comes to getting things done the right way there is nobody you would rather have on the case than Takashi. He will do whatever it takes to ensure that methods are precise, data is accurate and deadlines are met without any compromise on quality. Having studied in the U.S., he is bilingual and a skilled communicator. He commands a high level of respect from both colleagues and clients or indeed anyone else who has come into contact with his operational expertise. With experience in a leading global research agency and as key manager of a number of high-profile projects in Japan, Takashi is very well placed to handle complex, customized research demands.

Marika Lind

Client Director & Partner

Marika has worked in the insights and strategy area of marketing research for almost 20 years. Marika is a specialist in reaching the heart of the Asian consumer using traditional modes such as focus groups and depth interviews. However newer techniques such as ethnography, semiotics and consumer immersion form an important part of her toolkit, as well as client innovation and immersion workshops, she also creates inspirational multi-media deployment materials. She has lived in both Japan and Singapore and worked extensively across most Asian markets, including Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Risa Hamada

Senior Client Service Director & Moderator

With a 20 year background in strategic planning on both the agency and client sides, Risa brings a wealth of experience to CarterJMRN projects. A graduate of Central Michigan University, majoring in Interpersonal Communications, Risa has moderated workshops and focus groups for product categories ranging from household products to diamonds. Her calm and understated manner helps encourage respondents to open up and give real insights. It is estimated that she has conducted over 3,000 focus groups since 1995.

Takeshi Tomizawa

Client Service Director

Tomizawa-san is a highly experienced researcher, with particular strength in quantitative research for clients in the luxury and tobacco industries. His quantitative research for these companies helps to revaluate their relevance in the Japanese market, in order for them to discover areas of new opportunity. He also has a flair for the English language, and has a very engaging way of articulating concepts. When not at work, Tomizawa-san loves to play the electric guitar and enjoys seventies rock music.

Susanne Walloscheck

Client Service Director

Susanne is dedicated to identifying emerging movements in popular culture and translating that information into relevant knowledge for brands and services over the last 17 years. She explores the convergence of brands, products and consumers in order to define and recommend the best route to success in clients’ target markets across Asia. In addition, Susanne was highly engaged, serving as the Chair at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). Susanne holds a Master’s degree in Communications Management from the University of Applied Sciences Deutsche Direkmarketing Akademie in Berlin, Germany.

Hideki Motohashi

Senior Client Service Director

Hideki has managed research for the movie and entertainment industry for over 20 years, working with major movie distributors such as Disney Pictures and utilizing a variety of methodologies, including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and central location tests. His extensive experience ensures the delivery of deeper contextual insights to clients. On the rare occasions when he is not delving into the development of new entertainment offerings, Hideki loves enjoying the great outdoors, and is an expert fisherman.

Shingo Kuwahara

Account Manager

Shingo is a tireless researcher who currently divides his time between our offices in Tokyo and Osaka. When overseeing projects he steers the research towards a quality execution and a thorough collation of results and analyses. Quietly confident in the precision of his methods and careful in managing the research team, Shingo is ready to deal with projects of vast and varied proportions.

Ken Fujii

Operations Leader

Having our own in-house respondent recruiting and fieldwork department is one of the secrets to CarterJMRN’s success. After all, a critical component of success for our clients is ensuring we’re talking with the most well-qualified and articulate respondents. For Ken, our research participants are far more than an ID number on a spread sheet. They are real people with valued opinions, who make irreplaceable contributions to our gaining deep insights. A native of Tokyo, Ken has perfected his craft over the past 30 years, unearthing and engaging thousands of respondents across industries as diverse as healthcare, gaming, skincare, luxury brands, and robotics for aging in place. In his spare time, Ken enjoys cooking for his family, and we hear he has a vintage sneaker collection that would make Michael Jordan jealous (over 400 pairs!).

Riku Kitamura

Project Manager & Moderator

Born in Seattle and raised in Tokyo, Riku is a bilingual, international researcher and moderator with 5+ years’ experience working for both international and domestic clients, with a strong focus in the fields of FMCG, digital, and gaming. Riku was graduated from the University of Washington at Seattle, with a BA in Biochemistry – a fitting foundation in the micro-mechanics of living matter.
Despite having lived in Japan for 20+ years, he finds himself even more passionate today about identifying new trends and staying on top of changing consumer mindsets in Japan. Riku lives by the motto of “seeing is believing”, and enjoys diving into the sources of trends and experiencing them himself to enhance his personal understanding. A self-proclaimed “foodie”, Riku enjoys both eating as well as cooking. He cooks a wide repertoire “from scratch”, ranging from Italian Focaccia to Taiwanese food stall dishes.

Saori Hirasawa

Project Manager & Moderator

Saori is dedicated to the smooth running of project work by supporting client-communications and internal translations with her excellent English skills, which she acquired as a student in the US. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from UCLA, where she became drawn to this field after becoming an assistant researcher for a lab studying human interaction and physiological reactions to conversation. With her recent work experience as a data processor for a Japanese quantitative market research company, she also contributes to quantitative outputs. Saori hails from Akita, which is famous for its different varieties of festivals. It is this love of traditional culture, that keeps her travelling around Japan festival hopping.

Alejandro Lopez

Project Manager

Alejandro graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Sociology, after having proudly served for four-and-a-half years in the United States Army National Guard. While in university, he actioned on his dream to experience Japanese culture by securing a 1-year internship living and working in Japan in marketing and marketing research for multinational financial services giant AIG. Alejandro subsequently joined CarterJMRN, where he is honing his qualitative and quantitative research skills in a wide range of categories, including food products and services, digital news, and entertainment, among others.

Sho Sato

Project Manager & Moderator

Sho’s international education - including one high school year in Ann Arbor, MI and med school at the University of Pecs in Hungary - gives him the perfect background to assist healthcare and pharma companies with leveraging in the Japanese market. He worked for a medical research company for two years before joining CarterJMRN in 2018. His calm yet engaging manner has led him onward from project management to moderating, where his approachability is a big asset in connecting with medical specialists and patients. Although he also has experience in non-medical categories such as digital and entertainment research, Sho’s deep experience in the healthcare category is impressive and growing. He’s conducted research among a variety of respondent types (i.e., physicians/ KOLs, nurses, pharmacists, patients and caregivers) ranging across the gamut of diseases and conditions (including neurology, oncology, respiratory, bone and joint, ophthalmology, hematology and metabolic disorders). Born and raised in Tokyo, Sho enjoys traveling abroad as well as in Japan, and has even run the Honolulu Marathon. His hobby of photography travels with him, and he has thousands of photos from his trips.

Hitomi Uchiyama

Project Manager & Moderator

Hitomi was born and raised in Tokyo, and has worked in the market research industry for 10+ years, following her graduation from Japan Women’s University with a BA in Human Sciences and Design. Her experience in moderating crosses a wide range of categories, from daily beverage brands to medical and healthcare, in which she specialized for six years. Currently, she conducts online as well as offline FGIs and IDI. Her calm and friendly moderation creates a comfortable feeling among respondents, encouraging them to discuss openly. Hitomi works hard using her skills to gain deep insights that connect with strategic planning. In her spare time, she enjoys surfing, gardening, and traveling new places.

Asami Kashima

Project Coordinator

After having witnessed the trials and tribulations of SME’s through her 10 years in the Japanese financial industry, Asami joined CarterJMRN in 2019 to focus her efforts on supporting businesses through market research. Her background in both finance and law (she was graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Meiji Gakuin University’s Faculty of Law in 2008) serve our clients well. Hailing from Yokohama City (a port city, and the original base of foreign trade from the late 1800s), Asami enjoys playing video games and following Japanese anime (short for “animation”, and an umbrella term for all animated works, regardless of style or origin). Her passion and knowledge in these popular cultural past-times are well-utilized on our entertainment-related projects ( including research in the gaming and film industries).

Aya Kurosawa

Project Coordinator

After Aya was graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Waseda University’s School of Culture, Media and Society, she went on to work in the systems engineering and construction industry for five years, prior to joining CarterJMRN’s quantitative division in Osaka in 2019. There she demonstrated her reliability and efficiency - and creativity - for handling qualitative methodologies as well. Born and raised in Tochigi (home to a number of corporations and industrial zones, as well as hot springs and ski resort areas), Aya loves owarai (Japanese TV comedy) an ever-changing cultural hotbed, with new talents emerging regularly with gags and skits. She also enjoys watching Korean dramas (known as “Kdramas”), which have been hugely popular in Japan (as in the rest of the world) for the past 15+ years.

Haruna Masuda

Project Coordinator

After receiving her MS from SOJO University’s School of Engineering (Department of Applied Life Sciences), Haruna worked in medical academia and research for seven years prior to joining CarterJMRN’s Osaka office in 2019. Having worked in our quantitative division there for two years, Haruna now works out of the Tokyo office, where she is expanding her consumer market research skills to include qualitative as well. Born and raised in Kumamoto (from where Musashi penned his famous Go Rin no Sho during his final years), Haruna has some quirky hobbies, which contribute greatly to making a well-rounded researcher. Her studies on the highly venomous Habu snake (native to the Okinawan Islands) and its treasure trove of genomes (which allows scientists to explore drug development applications) qualifies! When not researching or out for the occasional run, Haruna relaxes at home with her husband and the family hedgehog (named “Marron”).

Mariko Miyashita

Assistant Project Coordinator

Mariko embraces cultural differences and lives her life as you might expect from someone who was born and raised in the U.S., graduated from Waseda University in Japan (with a BA in International Liberal Arts), and then obtained her MSc in International Development from the University of Manchester in the U.K. Her wide and richly varied experience sparked her curiosity and fascination for the how’s and why’s of culture and its influence on people’s lives. Through her studies she enhanced her skills in secondary research and subsequently joined CarterJMRN, where she is further honing her skills in project management and as a market researcher to support companies and brands in their explorations into culture and the role it plays in drawing out consumer insights from a local and global perspective.

Hanae Tsukimura

Fieldwork Assistant

Hanae joined CarterJMRN after gaining experience in the research industry working in fieldwork for various methodologies (focus groups, IDIs, ethnographic interviews, and Central Location Test studies), as well as categories (including food and beverage, skincare, and tobacco). Prior to the research industry, Hanae spent 10 years working in the fashion retail and beauty industries. Her frontline, onsite research experience combined with her instinctive ability to provide Omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) ensures that logistics related to CarterJMRN’s research are smooth and seamless. Hanae loves fashion, and enjoys shopping on weekends.

James Norton

Digital Specialist

While pursuing a B.S. in International Business Studies at Temple University Japan in 2019, James joined CarterJMRN as an intern. He quickly demonstrated his penchant for mining data and building more robust content, as well as improving utilization of other digital corporate assets. It’s not surprising once you know that James was born in Sasebo, Japan, raised internationally, and pre-Temple, served for 10 years as a Self-Defense Weapons Technician in the US Navy. Working as a military liaison for several SME’s, he learned the importance of inter-agency coordination and systems operations. In his spare time, James (Dad to a 4-year-old daughter) enjoys playing video games, tinkering with gadgets and electronics, and reading isekai (psychological thriller) manga (comic books).
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