Yesterday’s Mainichi Daily had an article on a trend I’ve know has been happening for years, the recruitment and acquisition of Japanese engineering talent by Samsung.  In many cases this talent is directly from Samsung’s competition such as Sony, Panasonic or Sanyo.

Born in Osaka, [Mitsunori] Shishida started working at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (now Panasonic Corp.) in 1986 after graduating from college…. Shishida, who knew what being at the top of the game felt like, grew increasingly frustrated. It was around this time that the company began encouraging its employees to take early retirement offers, and Shishida met a visiting Samsung executive who appealed to Shishida that together they work towards becoming number one. Shishida left his job to join Samsung, prepared to stay there until retirement.

Today there are approximately 200 Japanese employees at the Samsung Yokohama Research Institute. The number of employees in their 20s and 30s has been rising, and many young people nowadays barely differentiate between Samsung and major Japanese corporations as potential employers.

Shishida, however, feels that the pride of being a representative of his country is what has helped him through the years. As Samsung has taken in a lot of Japanese technology, the gap between Samsung products and Japanese counterparts has shrunk steadily….

Shishida says he couldn’t help admonishing a Japanese manufacturing executive. “Please boost the quality of your products,” he told the executive.

One of the reasons why Korean electronics manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have been able to catch up with their Japanese competitors in a relatively short period of time has been because of their ability to hire talent from their Japanese competition.  Ah, perhaps these Japanese recruits are a type of modern day “Hang-wae”?