Best Place to Work in Japan: Why is Fuji Soba Against Black Companies?




If you have visited or lived in Kanto area, you might have heard of Fuji Soba (富士そば).

Fuji Soba is a noodle restaurant and has one of the best CEOs in Japan. Why is he best?

Let’s find out who he is and what he does.



What is Fuji Soba (富士そば)?

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Fuji Soba has developed over 100 locations to offer Soba noodles. Soba is noodle made from buckwheat flours.

Just like Ramen, people visit and eat Soba in a restaurant, rather than taking it to go.


The Fuji Soba restaurant is typically small and it used to be no seat while eating (立ち食いそば: tachigui Soba). That is, customers had to stand and eat.

It was especially popular among busy businesspersons because it took less time to get Soba and finish eating.

However, most of Fuji soba now have seats so they can sit and take time to eat.



History of Fuji Soba




Michio Tan (丹道夫) opened Fuji Soba in 1966. Tan was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture and he came to Tokyo to run his business.


In 1966, he opened first Fuji Soba in Shibuya, Tokyo.

In 1972, he started to open Fuji Soba for 24 hours. It was before Seven Eleven started 24 hour-business.


He was very poor and had difficult time paying rent when he came to Tokyo. He used to go to a Soba restaurant and kill time. But because it was not open for 24 hours, he had to leave when the restaurant closed. He felt very miserable and wanted to make 24 hour-Soba restaurant.



Mottos of Fuji Soba



Tan’s major belief is to secure employees’ daily lives.

Be nice to employees. Treat them like family.


If Fuji Soba makes more profits than the year before, he would pay more to employees. He doesn’t get all profits but shares with employees.


Therefore, he doesn’t understand why some companies become Black Companies.

According to him, Black Companies waste time and money inefficiently. Because they don’t treat employees good, some would quit, while others stay to work like a robot. Those employees are passive and work overtime everyday.


I totally agree with him. CEOs MUST respect employees and share profits with them. As Tan mentions, giving extra commission or bonus to employees make them work hard and try to boost the sales.

They know their hard work would be recognized by Tan and they would receive extra money depending on the result.

It motivates employees and CEOs have less work to do, according to Tan.



What can Black Company Learn from Fuji Soba?



Tan learned how to treat employees from his mother. His mother used to tell him “don’t be greedy and keep money. You have to share with others if you want to make money.”


Money is of course important. But what Black Companies need is “respect.” They don’t respect employees and treat them like “thing.” Not humans.

Employees are not slaves but they just want to make profits to make themselves happy.


In Fuji Soba, even part time employees get bonus or commission because Tan believes that everyone has to be equal. If they work hard, they would get rewards.

He doesn’t force them to work hard, but they would think and work actively.



Michio Tan has made Fuji Soba successful because he had strong belief to share profits with others.


As people get more profits, it gets more difficult to share with others. They want to hide and keep money to themselves. They don’t want to share.


It’s not easy to change Black Companies but I hope new business owners learn Tam’s point of view. They have to respect employees if they want to make business successful.

I hope this “Fuji Soba Principle” is spread to make the world better.






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What do you think of Fuji Soba? Any questions or opinions? Feel free to leave comment below.

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