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Differences between Japan and Korea (An experienced story of my own)
Hello, everyone!
Obon Holiday has started in Japan.
It is anxious that the typhoon is having access to West Japan.
Are you doing well?

This article is posted at the Japanese blog, too, at the same time with the same content.

This time I will write about differences between Japan and Korea which I felt during a term, 1991 - 2003, when I was engaged in development and technical service for materials used for semiconductor integrated circuits at a previous company I worked for.
This is just an experienced story of my own.

At that time the period of Japan as the “semiconductor kingdom” was over, the bubble economy had been collapsed and Korean companies such as Samsung were beginning to catch leading positions.
I had many chances of communications with foreign people such as Americans, Koreans and others and those of their ways of thinking directly, in which one of reasons was that I was in a US based company.

Generally speaking ways of thinking as company workers of Korean people are similar to those of Japanese people, since Korea and Japan have similar cultures and customs.
However, while I was in the semiconductor industry, differences between Japan and Korea indeed emerged drastically, and I think that those differences ended up with the destinies of the both countries after that.

In the period that Japan was the semiconductor kingdom Japanese semiconductor fabricating companies made semiconductor products with high qualities indeed by 100 % blooming the good points of Japanese.
Its driving forces were the climate such that “Customer is a God” and the style such that the people work well by cooperating as a group (I call “Group Wisdom”).
Both the semiconductor fabricating companies and companies supplying raw materials or parts to them made high quality goods evenly by making use of the characteristics of Japanese.
One example is hydrofluoric acid with a high purity which is being stopped exporting to Korea.

Ability to make such materials or products with high qualities is, after all, in no other ways but superior in Japan.
We Japanese can feel proud of that.

But around when the bubble economy was collapsed in Japan, this structure began to show changes.
Korean have no “Customer is a God” spirits as intensive as Japanese ones, even though they have similar characteristics to those of Japanese.
Since the population of Korea is less than half of that of Japan, its domestic market is limited.
Therefore, they needed to pay attentions on exporting products.
Hence, they enforced marketing to look at foreign countries, and enforced leaderships and globalism, which is different from that Japanese just focus on high quality.
Korea learned much about the strong points of US.

At those times one of my jobs was to market a material for semiconductor inter-layers which was developed by the US side to potential customers in Japan and outside Japan.
The material from US had a new concept and was interesting, however, semiconductor fabricating companies in Japan hardly accepted it, since the yield if the material is incorporated in a semiconductor product was not sufficient and an install of a new process is required in the semiconductor fab.

Then therefore, US began to have closer eyes to Korean companies led by Samsung.
Korean companies decided to use the above material from US actively even though its yield is not enough and it contain risks.
With this trigger the explosive growth of the Korean companies started.

It can be said that the strength of the Korean companies is globally thinking, marketing, leadership or risk-taking rather than high quality.
Japanese should evaluate this point calmly.

In addition, it is a snake but there is a fact that many semiconductor engineers taught technologies to Korean companies secretly to earn pocket moneys in 1990’s.
In forth and back airplanes in typically weekends many well-known faces were seen. (This is what I heard actually from one of my friends)

We Japanese should reflect on things in the past which is believed to be reflected, calmly evaluate the good points of Korean and seriously think what we can do from now on.
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テーマ:韓国 - ジャンル:海外情報

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ST Rocker

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Located in Tsukuba, Japan

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