Tokyo exec builds cultural, business bridge between Latin America and Japan


A Japanese executive who became infatuated with Latin America while visiting as a student is striving to promote travel and business ties between his home country and the region, after founding a Tokyo-based company to achieve his goal.

Takeshi Nishigawa, 27, president of Tokyo Divertido Inc., traveled the world as a college student and was particularly drawn to the cultures of Latin American countries, including Cuba and Mexico.

He felt Latin Americans, however, did not know much about Japan, while many Japanese had a stereotypical image of the region and imagined it as unsafe and scary.

Seeking to build understanding and greater connections between the two sides, Nishigawa launched the business last April.

This year the company started to air a TV program about culture with sightseeing information on the ancient capital of Kyoto through a Mexican educational TV channel, which some 300,000 people across the country access.

Viewers of the program, which airs twice-weekly, can learn about sightseeing spots in Kyoto, Japanese sweets and the traditional skill of making woven fabrics.

Tokyo Divertido is also supporting the PR activities of Japanese firms in Latin America.

According to Nishigawa, Japan is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination for Mexicans, especially the wealthy.

“The market is big, but there is a lack of information that can spark demand,” said Nishigawa. The company plans to introduce sightseeing spots other than Kyoto and air TV content across a wider area, he added.

Nishigawa said the company often hears from local viewers wanting to learn more about Japan.

Tokyo Divertido is also planning to set up a website on information about Latin America for Japanese people by the end of this month, given that more and more Japanese firms, mainly automakers, are making inroads in the region.

The website will introduce local sightseeing spots, restaurants and shopping information for Japanese who stay in Latin America. Nishigawa also plans to provide information about local schools and houses for rent, targeting Japanese who wish to study abroad.

“I hope people will utilize our information, enjoy their stay and encounter (the locals),” added Nishigawa.