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Executive Officers
Ask the new position of “Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)”!

This time, we interviewed Mr. Taikan Minamoto, who was newly appointed as Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Nanophoton, also last November, following Mr. Hiroyuki Watanabe, CTO, in the previous interview. We interviewed Mr. Minamoto about his unique background, including his experience as a Buddhist priest, and what he does in his new position as CMO. (Newsletter Editor/Ryo Harada)

Taikan Minamoto, Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) (2023.11~)


After graduating from Osaka University’s Faculty of Economics in 1987, he joined Shimadzu Corporation, where he worked in sales mainly for government offices and universities.He then moved to a different industry, where he worked on new business launches, M&A, and the establishment of human resource systems.
In 2008, he returned to the analytical instrument industry and worked as the general manager of the Japanese subsidiary of Nanophoton’s foreign competitor, overseeing marketing, human resources, and administration. He then started his own company, developing instruments, providing HR consulting to social welfare corporations, etc., and marketing consulting to analytical instrument manufacturers including Nanophoton, etc. From April 2022, he was the GM of Marketing, and from November 2023, he became the Executive Officer of Nanophoton, As CMO, he is responsible for overall marketing including sales, application development, and services.

ー How did you get involved with Nanophoton?

Minamoto – – When I was at the Japanese subsidiary of a foreign company with which Nanophoton was competing, I visited Nanophoton’s booth at exhibitions such as JASIS to exchange opinions. At that time, Raman spectrometers were recognized by the world as devices that measure only spectra, and the recognition of Raman imaging, a function to take chemical imaging, was extremely low. The foreign company I was working for and Nanophoton were the representatives of imaging Raman. Although imaging still accounted for less than 10% of the high-end market of laser Raman microscopes, I was convinced that imaging would become the mainstream for high-end laser Raman microscopes in the future. Therefore, I was working with the marketing manager of Nanophoton at the time to expand the market for imaging and we decided to cooperate to spread the use of this technology. In order to set a trend that imaging would be the mainstream from now on, we combined our presentations and explained the usefulness and importance of chemical imaging, and at the same time, even though we were competing with each other, we dared to mention each other’s company name while proposing the evaluation of imaging data to our customers.

This is how we came to be involved with Nanophoton, as we worked together to promote the fact that a revolution was taking place in Raman spectroscopy.

ー How did you come to join Nanophoton from there?

Minamoto – – While I was at a foreign company, I set up consortiums, research groups, etc. in various fields. We actively developed new applications and markets, including joint research. However, when results began to emerge in Japan, the foreign headquarters scrapped the joint research in Japan and transferred it to research in their home country, and I left the company after a fight (laughs).

After leaving the company in 2015, I started my own company and developed specialized analyzers and other products utilizing Raman, but the national project I was participating in was terminated due to internal disagreements, and I decided to focus more on consulting services.
Having experience in building systems for recruitment, evaluation, payroll, etc., I was asked to provide consulting services to build a payroll system and evaluation system, and not only to build a human resource system, but also to improve operational efficiency through its effective use, provide communication training, etc., to reduce the turnover rate and turn the company into a profitable one, we not only built a human resources system, but also streamlined operations through the effective use of the system and provided communication training. At the same time, Nanophoton asked me to introduce them to customers to improve their performance, and I introduced them to customers and provided them with information.

After that, Nanophoton asked me to strengthen their sales force, so I started helping them with sales in 2020. After that, the timing was right for the sales representative to quit, so I started to focus on Nanophoton and put my axis in 2022.

ー What other work did you do?

Minamoto – – I joined Shimadzu Corporation and worked in sales, mainly for government offices and universities, but when my parents, who owned a temple, collapsed, I had to take over temporarily as the head priest because I had to hold events for the sect. After that, I was in the corporate planning office of a company, launching new businesses and doing mergers and acquisitions, but I also served as the head of the human resources department, doing due diligence and building human resources systems.

ー Why did you choose to join Nanophoton?

Minamoto – – I am a machine geek and love machines, which is why I didn’t work in finance during the bubble economy and instead went to work for a manufacturer. So I chose Nanophoton because I liked their equipment.

You have been appointed to the newly created position of CMO at Nanophoton. What exactly do you do at Nanophoton?

Minamoto – – As CMO, I oversee sales, apps and services, and mainly marketing. I research actual market trends, give advice on what kind of development should be done, construct sales methods, and prepare sales materials. The analytical instrument industry is often technology-driven, and most in-house product study sessions focus only on the good points of the company and do not touch on the weak points. This means that salespeople are left to explain specifications and applications to customers without knowing in what situations the products will be useful to them or how they differ from the competition. Customers want to compare different manufacturers and purchase the equipment that best suits their purposes, but each manufacturer only talks about what they are good at, and the customers end up making a decision based on price alone or buying equipment that is different from what they expected after they bought it. So we do thorough research, including the competition, and try to show the most optimal use for the customer’s application.

My policy is not to sell when it does not benefit the customer. I only sell to people for whom our equipment is truly useful. If I think that another device is better for the customer’s purpose in terms of cost-effectiveness, I may recommend a competitor’s device or another analyzer. We may lose money in the short term, but in the medium to long term, we gain the customer’s trust, and they will always choose us when their needs match our equipment in the future.

Recently, our distributor, Ikeda Rika, has taken the lead in a data comparison project in which manufacturers from Japan and overseas, including Nanophoton, Bruker, Perkin Elmer, Waters, and others, collaborated to see what differences there are when the same sample is analyzed by various analytical instruments such as infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry.
We are also participating in initiatives that transcend corporate boundaries, such as jointly planning opportunities at JASIS to present what kind of information can be obtained by integrating these data through a cloud analysis service started by Toyota Motor Corporation.

We have seen a significant increase in the number of inquiries for our services by taking the customer’s point of view and explaining in an easy-to-understand manner not only detailed specifications, but also how they will be used by the customer in specific ways.

ー What are some of the most rewarding moments for you?

Minamoto – – Nanophoton’s equipment is good equipment, so there is no doubt that it will be useful once it is installed. It is cutting-edge technology, so customers will be able to do things they could not do before. It is not an easy device to sell because it is both the world’s highest performance laser Raman microscope and the most expensive laser Raman microscope in the world, but I feel pleased when people understand its value and actually install it.

ー Finally, what are your future aspirations for Nanophoton 2.0?

Minamoto – – We feel onsite that the Raman market will become even larger in the future, and we must work in this field. All manufacturers are development-driven, but I want Nanophoton to be a company that can develop and sell from the customer’s point of view, from the field. Also, sales people tend to shy away from talking about technology, but I don’t like to be unknowledgeable, so I talk about it as much as I can. I am from the economics department, but I am so involved in discussions about technology that people ask me, “Are you really from the economics department?” In fact, to my colleagues from my days at foreign companies and to customers who were studying Raman, I was not afraid to ask and be taught, saying that I did not know what I did not know, without having any strange pride. Even now, we still have many opportunities to actually hear from our customers. That is why I believe I can have realistic conversations with customers. The important thing in sales is to be able to talk realistically, and that requires knowledge and experience. It is important to be able to speak in one’s own words, and because they are one’s own words, they can be conveyed to the other party. I would like to increase the number of such salespeople.

 Please tell us a little about your personal life. What do you do in your spare time?

Minamoto – – Two of our three children have already graduated from college and are working independently, and the third is in his senior year of high school and preparing for entrance exams.
I have no hobbies of my own and spend my days off as my wife’s chauffeur, going everywhere with her.

ー Thank you, Mr. Minamoto.
Although a graduate of Osaka University with a degree in economics and a liberal arts background, I caught a glimpse of Mr. Minamoto’s deep knowledge of technology and his insatiable appetite for learning. I also felt that his experience as a priest and his background of working in different fields such as human resources and marketing must have been useful in his sales activities.
Nanophoton will continue to challenge the global market with Mr. Minamoto as CMO.

(Translated by DeepL)