Years of calling for better corporate governance in Japan are finally bearing fruit for Amundi SA, Europe’s biggest money manager.

The firm has taken stakes in companies whose management had traditionally mostly ignored investors, said Naofumi Harukawa, head of the company’s Japan target strategy.

Pressure from the Tokyo Stock Exchange has amplified the voices of fund managers calling for listed companies to increase their valuations. One success case for Amundi has been Gunze, an underwear maker whose shares have risen about 13% over the last 12 months compared with no change in the Topix textiles and apparels index.

"It’s great to see the company listening to investors’ opinions and taking actual actions,” said Harukawa, whose performance has beaten more than 80% of his peers over the past three years. "We are seeing changes in those industries that previously wouldn’t have done anything on governance even if we engaged,” he added.

Gunze started as a textile manufacturer. The 128-year-old Japanese company expanded into semiconductors and medical materials over the decades. The Osaka-based firm has been selling unprofitable businesses and real estate as well as unwinding its cross-shareholdings. Amundi owns a 1.76% stake in Gunze, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Some of the top holdings of Amundi’s Japan target strategy include Toppan Holdings, Ricoh, Shizuoka Financial Group, Kyoto Financial Group and TS Tech. Amundi manages about ¥190 billion ($1.2 billion) using this strategy and Harukawa, who is 46, has been leading it since 2005.