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Teppei TSUSHIMA (General Manager, wena Project, New Business Creation Department, Sony, Inc.)

URL: wena.jp

He enters the School of Engineering at OU to broaden his horizons

A strong sense of independence was fostered in Mr. Tsushima from a young age, as he started living by himself in the annex next to his grandmother’s main house, located very close to his parents’ house,  from his 3rd year in junior high school. “The world I knew up until high school basically consisted of school, club activities, and what my parents did at work," he said. "There’s no way you can choose a job for your future based solely on that.” He chose to major in science at university in order to expand his choices for the future, entering OU’s School of Engineering to study plasma engineering.

I want to make things by myself, from scratch

Mr. Tsushima has loved cell phones since he was in high school, so much so that he “was at the cell phone shops every day.” After entering university, he got into “multifunctional information devices,” and this interest led him to customize those devices on his own. “I felt that when it came to things that I like, I wanted to make them from scratch. This is also reflected in my current work.”

Influenced by venture businesses

While at university, there was something on his mind: “Many people are involved in manufacturing, such as in design and marketing, and yet, is it enough to just go back and forth from home to the lab?” When he was in his first year of graduate school, Mr. Tsushima found kindred spirits in three students who were selected for a program, which he was taking, and began living with them in a share house.

Influenced by them, he took the course entitled “Starting a Venture Business” in the Graduate school of Economics. In this course, managers rich in personality took the stage one after the other to discuss ways in which students can make use of their abilities in the society of the future.

Mr. Tsushima looked back on this course, saying, “Listening to individuals who started these venture businesses, I realized that, rather than doing as I'm told, I must act on my own initiative.”

While working at a part-time job in a venture business started by Satoshi KAWADA (then-professor in the Department of Applied Physics, Graduate School of Engineering), Mr. Tsushima was surprised and “greatly influenced” by the fact that each employee filled a number of roles. He also actively participated in Hackathons (events in which people compete with each other over their programing skills), which were held frequently at the time. While deepening connections with various individuals, he was filled with the desire to “create a product to change the world that I myself feel is a great product.”

The idea that shocked the world came during graduate school

The “wena wrist,” an idea that shocked the world, had already come to him when he was still a graduate student. At the time, he had smart bands attached to both arms in addition to his watch, and was met with strange looks when he got on the train. “I was upset, so I wanted to create a product that would get rid of those negative emotions,” he said with a laugh.

At the in-house auditions during his first year at Sony, he proposed the idea of the “wena wrist,” which passed the audition and was subsequently commercialized. Now at only 27, he’s a project manager, but he cautions, “There is only a certain period in your life in which you can really try your luck. Let’s say that that period is 20 years, and you make 5-year road maps for that period. That only leaves you will 4 chances to really change the world.”

Being able to compete on a global scale

Mr. Tsushima’s motto is “Think and act for yourself.” It’s how he has always lived. He thinks that he ought to take responsibility for presenting what he's made, even down to knowing how it’s being used. To current students at OU, he has some advice: “If you have something that you like or something that’s important to you, hold onto that.” Mr. Tsushima is currently preparing his next product, as well as expansion overseas. “I want to compete on a global scale,” he said with a smile that conceals his self-confidence.

Teppei TSUSHIMA
After graduating from the Department of Precision Science and Technology, School of Engineering, Osaka University and the Master’s course in the Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, he entered Sony Mobile Communications, Inc., in 2014. He proposed the idea of the wena wrist during auditions in his first year, which received a lot of praise and landed him in his current managerial position for the wena Project in the New Business Creation Department of Sony. In crowdfunding for “wena wrist,” the project received an astounding 100 million yen or more in funding, a new record in Japan, and the project began sales in June 2016.

Corporate Information

Sony, Inc. (1-7-1 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo)
Sony was founding by Masaru IBUKA and Akio MORITA in 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. In 1958, the company’s name was changed to Sony. The company has swept markets all over the world with revolutionary products, such as transistor radios and the stereo cassette player, Walkman®. In 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures, and in 1994, the company entered the gaming realm with the release of the Playstation®, pursuing Sony’s diversification strategy.

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