Kenneth Pechter

Kenneth Pechter

Media producer/Business Development Consultant


Originally published on on July 2007


What brought you to Japan?
While working on my doctorate in engineering at the University of California, Irvine, I was invited as a researcher at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

How did you get involved in media business from engineering?
Eventually I became a professor at the University of Tokyo. My field was innovation management, which is basically making businesses out of new ideas. This led to an interest in media industries, which does the same thing. I wanted to be involved in business, so I left academia and have been working as a media producer since. I work for different aspects of media: TV, film, publishing and various ways of distributing the contents. For example, I have worked as an emcee for NHK, with the anime of Shotaro Ishinomori, the Tokyo International Film Festival and various film projects. I have worked with Japanese comedians like Korokke and York Hata developing performances for US audiences. I also do a fair amount of modeling.

What do you think of opportunities for foreigners to get into the Japanese entertainment industry?
What I really like about Tokyo is that so many people from different walks of life are able to interact in a small place. So in that sense, there are many opportunities, but what makes the media industry particularly difficult is making a living. If you are looking for a stable job, entertainment is not something you want to do. For instance, Japan has the top anime industry in the world, but even veterans have issues with financial stability. The production and distribution structure in Japan makes it hard for independent artists.

What is your next goal?
I’m still learning about business. This is challenging but also very rewarding. I want to turn more projects around. Work is important but not the goal itself—my goal is to be happy and healthy. I look forward to running in the Tokyo Marathon again next February. Basically, making the most of being in Japan and enjoying life is the whole reason for the business risks I’m taking.