100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2015 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

K-house web

Atsushi Kogahara

Message to young people
Continuing to do something will make it become your strength! It's easy to quit a job or a sport. Everybody experiences mental and physical hard times. However, it's important to overcome them by taking action, reviewing the results and striving to do better. Such experiences will become your strength, and good results will certainly make you happy. Let’s move forward to enjoy our jobs, sports and personal lives.

My company has annual sales of ¥2.2 billion and my dream is to raise that to ¥100 billion in 10 years. Most of that increase will come from India.

I like vocalizing my dream; it encourages me to really achieve it.

If you look at my company’s website, the top page says “We will become a ¥100-billion company in India. We’re serious.”

With the passion of spreading Japanese food culture to the world in my heart, I traveled to various countries in Asia. I found India to be an attractive market because Japanese food has not been popular, but India is a pro-Japan country.

I was also impressed with creativity of chefs there. When I took a tour to eat Japanese food in India, I encountered a chef doing artistic things with ingredients such as using a raw carrot as a wasabi container.

I also plan to grow rice and vegetables, process marine products and import ingredients from Japan. Such projects will account for most of the future growth for the ambitious ¥100 billion in sales.

We had rice harvests last November and April and plan to start growing rice on a total of 15 hectares in Kolkata and Siliguri in November.

We are also planning to grow vegetables on the Deccan Plateau, which makes up much of southern India.

It’s not as easy to buy fresh vegetables in India as it is in Japan. Raw vegetables often grow looking too old for Japanese consumers’ standards because of the high temperatures. Also, the water is not very clean and Japanese consumers may have upset stomachs after eating fresh vegetables washed in the local water.

Therefore, I am thinking of packaging fresh cut vegetables by using technology to eliminate water droplets.

I also want to consult the fishery industry on fish processing methods, such cleaning the fish immediately after catching on fishing boats.

India does not have a custom of eating raw fish and therefore they do not know how to process raw fish properly. Tuna from the Indian Ocean are mostly sent to Thailand, China and Japan and are rarely consumed in India.

A challenge in India is the difficulty in obtaining various licenses. For example, restaurants cannot obtain liquor licenses until restaurant construction is finished.

Hiring qualified people is also difficult. Typically, our restaurants in India have one or two Japanese as the chef or a manager supervising 15 to 25 Indian employees.

Japanese people should supervise and make sure the appearance and taste of food is consistent. Otherwise, Indian chefs sometimes make Japanese food spicier than it should be because Indian people like it that way.

It is not easy to recruit people in Japan to work in India.

I run into people who have been to India, but about half of them are not fit to work in my company. More frequently I find people who have not been to India but find our business model attractive and my ambition interesting. Such people end up working for us and being a great asset for us.

My other dream is to give poor children opportunities to study. I’d like to open schools that would serve Japanese food for school lunch and children could learn Japanese culture.

Company Profile

K-house web
May 2004
Restaurant operation