Mariko Yasu

For Mariko Yasu's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

$73 billion payoff for SoftBank's ventures fuels push into Japan startups

Mar 20, 2014

$73 billion payoff for SoftBank's ventures fuels push into Japan startups

Japan’s biggest companies have a case of SoftBank envy, and that’s good for entrepreneurs like 23-year-old Takumi Shimizu. Billionaire Masayoshi Son, 56, has boosted SoftBank Corp.’s market value to $99 billion since founding the business in 1981, partly from outsized returns on investments in ...

Sony revision spurs credibility crisis for Hirai

Feb 7, 2014

Sony revision spurs credibility crisis for Hirai

Kazuo Hirai, who took the helm at Sony Corp. two years ago to revive the Japanese icon, is losing credibility with investors who think he’s not up to the job. The chief executive officer pledged when he came in to turn around Sony’s ailing ...

Venture capitalist eyes new $300 million fund

Jan 28, 2014

Venture capitalist eyes new $300 million fund

Gen Isayama grew up in Tokyo and then spent a decade working in the venture-capital business in Northern California. Now he’s starting a $300 million fund aimed at blending the best of Silicon Valley and Japan. The 40-year-old Isayama is chief executive officer of ...

Sony expected to lower profit outlook again

Jan 24, 2014

Sony expected to lower profit outlook again

Nintendo Co. shocked investors last week by lowering its profit forecast for the year. Analysts are concerned Sony Corp. could be next. At least nine analysts cut their profit estimates for Sony over the past two months after slow holiday sales of televisions, personal ...

Sony's Hirai mixes camera, phone geeks to catch Apple

Oct 31, 2013

Sony's Hirai mixes camera, phone geeks to catch Apple

For Kazuo Hirai, creating Sony Corp.’s flagship smartphone was too important to be left to the company’s mobile phone experts. Taking aim at a $310 billion market dominated by Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy and Apple Inc.’s iPhone, Sony’s chief executive officer sent dozens of ...

Aug 30, 2013

Sony's newest hit tucked away in top smartphones, cameras

Sony Corp. has a hit product on its hands. Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. will be happy to sell it to you. Sony’s latest star performer isn’t a gadget like the Walkman or PlayStation. Instead, it’s a chip found in ...

Girl-group fans help push Japan music sales past U.S.

Jul 4, 2013

Girl-group fans help push Japan music sales past U.S.

Ritsuhiko Tajima has about 100 CDs by his favorite band, girl group AKB48, many of them copies of the same disc. The attraction? The CDs often include tickets to events where he can briefly meet his idols. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired ...

James Bond can't fix Sony as Japan makers hit lows

Dec 21, 2012

James Bond can't fix Sony as Japan makers hit lows

Even James Bond and Spider-Man can’t rescue Sony Corp. In “Skyfall,” actor Daniel Craig’s 007 uses Sony’s Xperia T smartphone, while Andrew Garfield’s title character in “The Amazing Spider-Man” wields an Xperia X10 Mini Pro. The two movies, released by Sony this year, have ...

May 22, 2012

DoCoMo targets 50% stake in smartphones

NTT DoCoMo Inc., the nation’s biggest mobile-phone company, expects to increase its smartphone sales to more than half of the national total this fiscal year as it introduces new models, the company’s finance chief said. The market share will rise from 46 percent in ...

K-pop stars luring Japan to buy Korean products

Jul 27, 2011

K-pop stars luring Japan to buy Korean products

Yuko Ishii, a 53-year-old factory worker in central Japan, used to feel reluctant about buying products made in South Korea. That changed after she became a fan of pop stars such as boy band TVXQ. “I used to rule out Korean products, but now ...