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Building Bridges of Business Etiquette:

The Digital X’s Role in Expanding Japanese Enterprise’s Business Globally


As Japan faces the challenge of a declining population, expanding business overseas is crucial for growth. However, successfully trading with foreign companies requires a deep understanding of their business practices and communication styles.

Excelling in this area, The Digital X offers expert project management and digital marketing support based on substantial knowledge of both domestic and international markets. We had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Shinobu Mukaiyama and Mr. Hiroki Shijo from JR East Japan Planning Co., Ltd., who have greatly benefited from The Digital X’s consulting services.


JR East Japan Marketing & Communications Inc. (jeki)



  • Advertising and Communication Design

  • Transportation Media

  • Regional Revitalization and Community Activation Projects

  • Digital Signage Implementation and Operation Support Services

  • Content Business


  • The launch of digital OOH (out-of-home) platform MASTRUM


  • Overseas project management

  • Overseas B2B marketing

“The Digital X serves as an important bridge between our company [jeki]
and overseas companies”


– Firstly, could you please tell us about the present business activities of JR East Japan Marketing and Communications (referred to as ‘jeki’ henceforth)?


Shijo: jeki currently operates 3 business divisions: Media Department, House Agency Department, as well as the Advertising Agency function.


Since we are developing our business in Tokyo metropolitan area – one of Japan’s largest markets – jeki’s strength lies not only in railways but also in possessing the country’s largest real-world spaces. This capability allows jeki to uniquely deploy content businesses that move people's hearts, such as Pokémon and Shinkansen Transformation Robot Shinkalion within real-world spaces.


– This time, the consulting services of The Digital X were utilised for jeki’s MASTRUM project. Could you provide an overview of 'MASTRUM' itself?

Shijo: MASTRUM is a system designed to optimize the delivery and visualize the effectiveness of DOOH (Digital Out-of-Home) advertising. Thanks to recent technological advancements and the widespread adoption of web advertising, we can now track who exactly saw the advertisement, the amount of viewers, and the actions it prompted. As customer demand for data visualization and flexible, data-driven delivery grows, the MASTRUM initiative has been launched to meet these needs.

– Could you explain the reasoning behind implementing The Digital X’s consulting services into the MASTRUM project?


Shijo: MASTRUM receives technological support from Moving Walls, a world-renowned AdTech company based in Singapore. As business practices and communication styles in English-speaking countries differ significantly, thus we enlisted The Digital X, who has a deep understanding of both cultures and customs to bridge the gap between Japan and the world.


– What are the specific notable differences between Southeast Asian and Japanese business practices?


Shijo: Companies in Japan typically spend 80% of their time planning, with the remaining 20% dedicated to execution. Southeast Asian companies, on the other hand, often spend 20% on planning and 80% on execution, leaving room for continuous improvement throughout the process. In the field of train advertising, Japanese ads rarely encounter issues such as schedule delays or color discrepancies upon distribution. In Southeast Asia, however, there is a perception of adapting and improving on the go, even if mistakes occur.


Mukaiyama: We have been receiving support from The Digital X since jeki’s decision to sign a contract with Moving Walls was finalised. Mr. Naraoka, representative of The Digital X, has rich knowledge and experience in overseas business but also in online advertising, which has been incredibly helpful to – and beneficial – for us.


Acceleration of Internal Decision-Making

and Overseas Expansion

– So, jeki has been receiving the necessary support from The Digital X in bridging communication gaps as well as in web advertising.


Shijo: The Digital X has always been deeply committed to act as a key intermediary between jeki and Moving Walls to manage the overall progress. 


Mukaiyama: In fact, we have learned a great deal about project management from The Digital X. While we are adept at running advertising campaigns, the jeki team lacks experience in new business ventures. Through the application of effective project management tools, I have personally found Mr. Naraoka to be exceptionally skilled in this field, particularly in how he demonstrates his work.


Shijo: We had a vague idea that such tools existed, but had never actually used them before, so I really appreciate the expertise of Mr. Naraoka/The Digital X.


Mukaiyama: Perhaps if it had been the people within the company, I don’t think they would have used such tools.


– What changes have you noticed after receiving consultation services from The Digital X?


Mukaiyama: Both junior and mid-level members have become much more interested in their work and are approaching it with a more positive attitude. While they were initially apprehensive about working with overseas partners due to their lack of experience, Mr. Naraoka’s support has helped them overcome their fears and instilled a strong impression of ‘never stop trying’ in their lives.


Shijo: They have developed a mindset of progressing work efficiently and compactly, rather than dragging it out. I also feel the members’ enthusiasm for international projects has increased. In fact, just last week, a jeki employee – who is Japanese – gave a speech in English at an overseas OOH (out-of-home) advertising event. Additionally, companies from Latin America and Turkey expressed interest in our work after the event. This would have been un-imaginable two years ago when the MASTRUM project began.


MASTRUM is a joint venture between jeki and Moving Walls; and it would not have been as successful if our goals were not aligned. The Digital X has played a vital role in ensuring that our objectives are synchronised.


– Expanding from local to global markets has a significant impact, doesn’t it?


Mukaiyama: Additionally, the speed at which we drive the project forward has accelerated. Mr. Naraoka also participates in our weekly executive meetings, and having his endorsement on the spot makes it easier to obtain approval from decision-makers.


Shijo: His [Mr. Naraoka’s] objective and expert opinions remarkably support the decision-making process of the executive team.


– While still receiving support from The Digital X, have there been any proposals that particularly pleased you?


Mukaiyama: Mr. Naraoka has provided us with highly accurate introductions of various talents. As he is deeply involved in the MASTRUM project, he can grasp the specific 'lacks' in talents and resources. It’s quite pleasing to receive talent proposals because sometimes the reality can diverge from expectations when recruiting through the HR department and conducting interviews ourselves.

Beyond Average
Business Partners:
The Digital
X Feels More Like a Family


– Could you share with us your future plans for the MASTRUM project?


Shijo: We aim to leverage jeki’s strength as Japan’s largest real-world space to enable ad planning on a single platform. The media business is in a period of transformation, and we feel that MASTRUM has become a catalyst for change at jeki.


Mukaiyama: It has undoubtedly been a game-changer. Until now, we’ve only conducted business domestically, but having a platform allows us to expand internationally. This shift not only changes the language requirements but also the skills our employees need to possess, broadening their perspectives and values. I believe it will also give rise to new business opportunities beyond advertising.


– What do you anticipate from The Digital X?


Shijo: While Japan's declining population is often discussed, I felt that there are vast business opportunities overseas. Additionally, I believe that an overemphasis on online advertising could undermine the value of jeki. The Digital X excels at balancing online and real-world strategies. We hope to continue receiving the consulting company’s guidance across a wide range of areas.


Mukaiyama: Having worked together for over a year, The Digital X feels like family to me. They have a solid understanding of Jeki’s operations and are fluent in English, which means they grasp the needs of Moving Walls perfectly. Moreover, their excellent progress management and sense of balance make it impossible not to have high expectations.


Our partnership with The Digital X transcends mere consultancy; it feels like family. Their deep understanding of jeki's operations and fluency in English enable them to grasp the intricacies of our collaborations with Moving Walls and beyond. Their unwavering commitment to excellence and balanced approach to both digital and offline strategies set a high standard for our future endeavors.


– Last but not least, could you please share a message for those interested in The Digital X?


Shijo: For companies embarking business transformation or expanding into international markets, the support of The Digital X can be immensely impactful. I believe their assistance is invaluable not only in advertising but across a wide range of industries.


Mukaiyama: The Digital X not only possesses deep expertise in business model creation but also excels at recommending the best talent for any challenge. With their extensive network, I highly recommend that businesses looking to expand overseas seek their guidance without hesitation.


JR East Japan Marketing and Communications (jeki) is, bluntly put, a quintessential Japanese company. Recognizing the urgency of its situation, jeki launched the MASTRUM project to drive its own business transformation. Since teaming up with The Digital X, jeki has witnessed a profound shift in their operational dynamics: team members are now actively leading projects rather than sitting on the sidelines, while executives are making decisions faster than ever.

Success in these endeavors relies not only on our own efforts but also on robust commitment from the business side, and MASTRUM has wholeheartedly embraced this approach, paving the way for anticipated business growth ahead.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding the article.

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