About Yoko Ishikura

Yoko Ishikura

Yoko Ishikura is a Professor at Hitotsubashi University ICS in the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy in Japan. She has held positions as a professor at the School of International Politics, Economics and Business of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, as a consultant at McKinsey and Company Inc. Japan and a visiting professor at Darden School.

Professor Ishikura is a consultant to a number of multinational companies and has been a frequent speaker at management conferences, seminars, and workshops throughout the world. She was a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee for the Japanese government and the International Competitiveness Commission for METI. She is currently a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum.
She is the author of Strategic Shift from OR choices to AND paradigm, Building Core Skills of Organization , and the co-author of the following publications: Managing Diversity in the 21st Century, Strategy for Cluster Initiatives in Japan , and Building a Career to the World Class Professionals – all in Japanese. Her books in English include: Asian Advantage, Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management and Trust and Antitrust in Asian Business Alliances.

Professor Ishikura’s current research interests are focused on global competition, innovation, and knowledge management. She received her BA from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan; MBA from Darden School, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia; and DBA from Harvard Business School.

Latest Posts by Yoko Ishikura

Revival of the “Best Man” on Broadway By Stars in Their 80s

May 26, 2012 by  


I heard on English podcast that the stars in their 80’s are doing very well at Broadway shows.  James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury, both in their 80’s are starring in the revival “Best Man”.  There is an interesting article on them.

I saw Angela Lansbury many years ago when she starred in the show Sweeney Todd.    I had known her from the TV program “Murder she wrote”  and also knew that she is such a fine actress.  As it was few decades ago, I was amazed that she is still going strong AND she is in 80’s.

Another star now active at Broadway is Joel Grey. I saw him in the movie, Cabaret, with Liza Minelli.  He was magnificent in the movie (I believe he also had the same role in the show, Cabaret at Broadway.)  I believe I may have seen  him at the show recently(I believe it was “Anything Goes”, and he was magnificent.

As you hear about these professionals who are so good at what they do, you feel that physical age really does not matter.  I have quite a few friends I have known for a long time (and quite close) whose age I do not know.  You love what you do, and you are good at it. Isn’t that all that counts?

On Prince Charles Reading the Weather…

May 24, 2012 by  


I heard on podcast awhile ago that Prince Charles of Britain read the weather on BBC News. It was a global hit, I hear.

As I was trying to find the video (I watched on TV, probably while I was overseas), I came across with the Official website of the British Monarchy.  I was amazed how much fun to look at the website.  Here is the link.

Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa: Povery, Coffee, Cathedrals & Open Air Markets

May 11, 2012 by  


ytrinitybet3 I just visited and took a tour in Addis Ababa, which included the Trinity Cathedral, the National Museum, Mount Entoto, the highest peak in Addis and Merkato, the largest open-air market in Afrida.

We had lunch at the local restaurant where I got to try the local food. (I was very interested in finding that in many countries there is something like a crepe regardless of where you go and Ethiopia is no exception.)   (Photo on the left at Trinity Cathedral).

I was struck by the poverty I saw at many sections of the city, contrasted with the section where the diplomatic headquarters and other municipal buildings are located.  What impressed me was the fact that Ethiopia has such a rich history, so many unique geographical features (particularly its trees) and seems to have abundant resources available.  At the same time, I saw many people carrying leaves and woods from the mountains,  together with many donkeys doing the same.

I asked my guide what needs to be done to promote economic development, and his response was education.  He said that young people go out of the country to get high education and do not come back.  I have seen some other countries where the trend gets reversed and the youth starts building the country.   I am sure we will be discussing many of these issues at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week.

NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral

March 25, 2012 by  









On the last day of my stay in NYC, I decided to go to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the Fifth and 51st Street.  It is one of my favorite cathedrals and I usually go there for the mass with choir whenever I happen to be in NYC on Sunday. It is so beautiful and the choir is wonderful.  Great way to spend time next time you’re in New York.

The Air Is Different In Hawaii Than In Tokyo

February 25, 2012 by  


I left Tokyo the other night to come to Hawaii.  I have noticed quite a few differences since I arrived this morning.

First of all, the weather is nice and warm, unlike very cold and harsh days in Tokyo last week.  Though it is breezy in Hawaii and you need sweater or some type of jacket at night (people from here are in T shirts!),  the mild weather warms you up, I feel.

The state of Hawaii has suffered from poor economy and many people have two jobs to support themselves, the atmosphere is upbeat and positive, it seems.  People are very friendly, and  I feel even more so than last year.

Because it was a long weekend (Presidents’ Day), many families are around and they enjoy good times.  Disney Resort which opened a few months ago nearby seems to have attracted so many people.  (They were taping the live TV show, and there was a LONG line of people waiting to get in.)

The pace is much slower and you can almost feel difference in the air.  People say something funny and we laugh, too.  Immigration officer at the airport wanted to know where I live etc. and we ended up talking about jogging in Tokyo!  The air, people and the pace seems to be more relaxed than in Tokyo.

Naturally I feel more relaxed as I have no deadline coming every day and my days are not filled with  meetings.  The fact that I am a visitor (i.e. not from here) makes me feel freer and more relaxed, too.

Getting away from it all helps, if you can.

Super Bowl Ad & Politics?

February 17, 2012 by  


It seems that the “political divide” is getting deeper in many parts of the world.  It seems that political gridlock is  intensifying in the U.S.  Whenever I listen to the podcast, I  hear quite a few  comments about the  “negative” ads around the presidential election.

It seems that the Super Bowl ad has been somewhat affected by this “negative” tone. I have heard about the Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood causing some discussion.  As I understand it,  some people seem to read into the wording and perceive it as something political.  I do not quite understand why it has gone so far.

I recall the conversation I had several weeks ago in which I heard politicians from the U.S. were arguing over so hard at dinner.  The person from whom I heard this story seems to have been fed up with the never-ending conflict and argument.

The US is not the only country where there seems to be continuing debate and never-ending discussion without some type of agreement and plan of action.  I realize that the issues and problems today are very complex and inter-related, making the solutions difficult to come by, not to mention to implement in a timely manner.  But we need to shift our course to take some positive and constructive argument to get something done. With a step forward, we can make it.

GAS 2012 – Global Agenda Seminar Series

February 5, 2012 by  


Today is the second day of the Global Agenda Seminar Series (GAS) 2012.  At  the first session held in mid January,  Dr. Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of Tokyo Foundation, our guest, explained the importance of Grand Strategy for the country (and company, individual) and how the Op-Ed is written and for what purposes. For the second session, we selected Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP)  as the topic for discussion.

As always, our assignment was some basic reading about the topic  and the written report.    This time, we assigned the participants into three groups–one representing the U.S., another China and the other Japan.  Each participants was asked to write  one’s view about TPP from the country’s perspective they are assigned.  We made it quite open-ended so that they can focus on any aspect of TPP.  The only rule was that they need to think and state their view, from the perspective of the country each member is assigned.

After the initial awkward moment of some hesitation, however, the discussion became quite lively.  I was impressed by the willingness of each participant to speak up and to argue back and forth.  As I found out later during the informal get-together with participants,   the clear view is not quite welcome, it seems, in most cases in the Japanese context. The argument and discussion is not that encouraged, either, I found.

The session ended with my comments as to the objective of this type of role play, its use and application, together with some tips on how to do.  Dr. Watanabe  made very helpful comments both for the substance and the style of expression.

Davos in Deep Snow

January 25, 2012 by  


snow The first day of Davos began in deep snow. My day began with meeting with WEF staff to prepare for private dinner tonight on Talent Mobility for Economic Growth. We plan to explain our report on Good Practices which just came out & discuss how to make the best of our activities. We are very excited about the report & also the launch of the repository of Good Practices which is available & accessible for everybody.

I hope we will have good discussion to move forward so that we can make an impact on the important topic of Employment & Growth, which is one of sub themes of Annual Meeting 2012.

The official opening will start in the evening, but there have been many interesting sessions held. I went to the session on “Europe beyond crisis” & also the session on the “Role of CEO in the future enterprise”. Comparison of business & political leaders was very interesting, as I heard comments such as that they can learn from each other, political leaders are trying outdated model of CEO, Chinese political leaders have done very well learning from business leaders,etc.

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