Motonori Kato, who left the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at the end of 2012, originally intended to start his own business, but at the recommendation of his wife, he joined Yakult Honsha.
“B2C” and “B2B” at Yakult Honsha
In the Yakult baseball team, there have been cases where players who retired from the Swallows became full-time employees at the headquarters. Sugiura Sugiura, who was a strong hitter when Yakult won the first championship, joined Yakult Honsha after retiring and became the deputy manager of the direct sales department of the food business headquarters. Kato followed the same path.
“I joined Yakult Honsha as a full-time employee. At first, I was in charge of B2C (consumer services), and I went around sales with Yakult Ladies and participated in training together.
After that, I worked as a wholesaler in B2B (service for corporations). I learned my work while doing it. I learned a lot by actually visiting the site.”
I also work as an advertising copywriter for general companies. “B2C” and “B2B” are familiar terms in the business world, but this is the first time I’ve heard them from a former professional baseball player.
“Yakult Honsha is a company listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (now the Prime Market). Many of our business partners are first-class companies. By belonging to such an organization, I was able to learn about the reality of business and social trends. I was grateful that I was able to work in a solid organization as a vertical society and learn about the level of those around me.”
After five years at Yakult Honsha, Kato is back in the baseball world. And he established a company called FORMIC Co., Ltd. in Saitama Prefecture and has been developing sports business since 2018. The homepage describes the business as follows:
・Sports facility management
・School management[ZENB ACADEMY (former HERO’s ACADEMY)]
・Sports event planning
・Holding seminar events, etc.
“Specifically, we mainly operate a baseball school called ZENB ACADEMY for elementary and junior high school students, which is held in Yokohama, Otsuka, Higashi Yamada, etc. We provide one-on-one instruction in small groups.”
It’s not a yelling methodology
In recent years, there has been a serious shift away from baseball among younger players. The junior high school rubber baseball population has decreased by 43% in 10 years. It’s a baseball school in such a way, but how do you see the future?
“I think that will happen (the baseball population will decrease). When I hear from people involved in soccer, they have a solid organization. There is a route that leads to the club team.While the flow from the entrance to the exit is solid, everyone in the baseball world is moving apart.We finally have an official license, but there is still a long way to go for the U15 license. It’s not widespread.”
Kato says he wants to expand the baseball school business nationwide in the future.
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