Board Member Profile - Eamonn Murphy
What do you do in Japan?
My career has been in business transformation and program management for technology companies. About 10 years ago I came to Japan to work on a project for my then company. I got to know and appreciate the country and I moved to Japan 2 years later. And since then I’ve worked for Rakuten at their headquarters in Tokyo. Helping expand the Rakuten e-commerce businesses overseas.
Tell us about your background?
I spent most of my childhood growing up in Dublin. I went to school in Dublin city and then to University College Dublin. I joined Dell Computers after university and spent the first 11 years of my career with them. They were an excellent company to work for.
Based in Dublin I worked on projects around Europe. Then, based in Malaysia, I focused on initiatives we had in Asia which first brought me to Japan. I also spent a couple of years on assignment at their headquarters in Austin, Texas. In my time with them, I travelled to over 30 countries managing the local implementation of regional projects. A great experience.
How did you come to join the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce?
When I first moved to Japan, I had no contacts, no network. So I joined two organisations. One was a rugby team, the other was the IJCC. Due to my ageing body, my rugby career is now at an end. But I’ve continued my involvement in the IJCC up until today. The IJCC were invaluable in helping me settle into Japan. Providing me with a network for my career and also social support. The members were extremely generous with their time and ideas. One of the reasons for my continued involvement is to help people who are now in the same shoes.
What is your role in the IJCC?
I’ve been on the board of the chamber for 5 years. I’ve held various roles including President, Director and now Vice President. The chamber is constantly changing with new members arriving, new directors joining the board, new events and new initiatives. These last few years we’ve seen quite a few new directors join us. So part of my role is to support them and share some of the experience that I and other long-term directors have. I also manage our events, so I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to collaborate.
The last few years have seen significant growth in the Ireland Japan business community. With increased trade between our two countries, increased membership of the chamber, and the Irish government's commitment to Japan has grown with the new Ireland House and increased presence at the Embassy. So another part of my role is making sure the chamber can grow to meet the new environment.
What are you looking forward to over the next 12 months for Ireland Japan relations?
There’s a lot to look forward to. I feel Japan is becoming more of a focus for Irish companies. I expect trade to continue to grow and new markets to open up as a result of the economic partnership agreement between the EU and Japan.
We have the wonderful new Ireland House to look forward to. And by moving online during the Covid we have grown our connections with our community outside of Tokyo, in Ireland and in other parts of Asia. I’m looking forward to continuing developing these relationships as it’s given the chamber a new arena to work in.
What do you like most about Japan?
There are many aspects to love. But as a father to a young girl, I am incredibly grateful that I can raise her in Tokyo. A safe, healthy and modern environment with many opportunities for her.
What is your favourite Irish / Japanese food?
Moving to Japan has definitely allowed me to experience many different types of food. And I’ve learned to appreciate food in a way I didn’t before. It’s hard to pick out a favourite but if I had to it would be Soba.
From Ireland, I do miss Irish bread, Irish butter (although it’s becoming easier to get in Japan now) and the Sunday roast. And Guinness in a warm pub on a cold winters evening!
What is your favourite place to visit in Japan / Ireland?
As a fan of onsen, I would pick Kurokawa Onsen in Kyushu as my favourite place to visit.
In Ireland, my Japanese relatives really enjoyed our castles and the scenery of the countryside. So I’d recommend travelling the Wild Atlantic Way - plenty of castles, fishing villages, cliffs and wonderful scenery.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a big fan of rugby. I have played since the age of 5. But I am proof that loving a game does not translate into being talented :-) I’ve been fortunate to play rugby in Japan, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, South Africa, Canada and the US. It’s given me some wonderful experiences.
The highlight has been the Rugby World Cup in Japan. A fantastic tournament. Being in the stadium with my family when Japan beat Ireland and seeing the Irish fans being sad that they lost, but happy that Japan won, is a memory that will last a long time. Witnessing the Irish fans joining in the celebrations with their Japanese hosts was moving.
Post rugby playing days, I keep fit by running around Tokyo. Yoyogi Park, the Imperial Palace and Mount Takao are my favourite spots.