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Director of Business Development - Japan

International Media Business | Tokyo, Japan | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is looking for a Director of Business Development for Sesame Street in Japan.  Core areas of focus include, but not limited to, media distribution, consumer products, themed entertainment (theme parks, live events etc) and formal education content and services.  This role will also support the GM Japan on social impact initiatives consistent with Sesame’s mission of helping kids grow Smarter, Stronger, Kinder.

The Position

Sesame Workshop is seeking a Director of Business Development, based in Japan.  Reporting to the VP General Manager and Executive Producer, Japan, this dynamic role will manage and/or support across all aspect of the business in Japan, focusing primarily on media distribution, consumer products, brand licensing, and themed entertainment (theme parks, live events, etc.) and formal education.  

Reporting to the GM based in NYC, this person will be responsible for opening the Sesame Workshop Japan office and managing all day to day operations in Japan.  This Director will operate as the primary in-region contact, directly manage all local partners, and identify new partnerships and business opportunities to scale the Sesame Street business.  

The person will also liaise regularly with their colleagues at Sesame Workshop’s HQ in NYC, including the VP and Head of Business Development for Sesame Workshop International.   He/she will be expected to create business growth strategies and tactical plans to achieve them, and then execute on them.    

This new position is will work with the GM of Japan and HQ marketing teams in NYC to leverage and adapt Sesame’s extensive media asset library to increase awareness and appeal in the local market and generate new commercial business opportunities and successful partnerships across the business ecosystem including distribution, consumer products, themed entertainment (theme parks, live events, etc.) and formal education.  

Core Responsibilities

*Create and execute a new media/distribution strategy for Sesame Street in Japan:

  • Oversee all media client negotiations
  • Manage media client relationships

*Oversee current commercial partners to maximize Sesame’s brand awareness and drive revenue

  • Consumer Products:  
    1. Work productively with Sesame’s licensing agency to drive revenue growth across all product categories
    2. Work directly with retailers and licensees to increase consumer reach and awareness via traditional retail and e-commerce solutions
  • Licensing:  
    1. Work productively with ‘Sesame Clinics’ partner to service existing members, increase membership sales and drive revenue growth and identify new areas for healthcare-related products and services 
  • Themed entertainment:  
    1. Work productively with Sesame Street’s theme park partner to increase brand awareness, engagement, and earned revenues from merchandise
    2. Work with partners to identify and create new revenue streams within the park

*Cultivate new commercial relationships across Sesame’s business ecosystem and new industry sectors:

  • Identify new, incremental growth areas for Sesame Workshop in Japan
  • Target and develop new partner relationships
  • Analyze and structure new partnerships to support overall growth objectives
  • Lead strategic, financial and legal due diligence, track results of new ventures, and provide ongoing partner support and management

 *Maintain up-to-date, in-depth understanding of market trends and players, continually assessing business models and      best practices

*Support Education and Social Impact initiatives in coordination with Regional GM and other NYC HQ subject matter experts:

  • Support formal education programs related to Sesame Street curriculum in schools
  • Identify opportunities for growth in education-related licensed products (learning toys, eLearning, apps)
  • Manage local office and provide GM Japan with day-to-day operational and strategic support for region


  • BA in related areas, MA preferred
  • Seasoned negotiator with 10+ years overseeing IP licensing and/or Media property
  • Demonstrated ability to drive year on year revenue and reach growth
  • Hands-on, can-do attitude that delivers results
  • Proven track record of exceptional partner and relationship management skills
  • Strategic thinker able to view the market and the Sesame business holistically, extremely organized and disciplined, while also a tactical executor
  • Well-established personal network of contacts throughout the core areas of business
  • Excellent presentation skills for client-facing sales
  • Impeccable verbal and written communication skills in Japanese and English, as well as a high degree of numeracy
  • Team player, with the ability to drive consensus building and influencing colleagues and partners
  • Sensibility to balance Sesame’s mission to ‘Help Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger and Kinder,’ with the need for sustainable and responsible commercial growth
  • Available to travel as needed, including once per quarter to NYC headquarters
  • Must have the legal right to work in Japan
  • Knowledge in Edu-Tech is a plus


About Sesame Street Japan

Sesame Street has a rich history in Japan.  The program launched on NHK Education in 1971, where it aired for 33 years. We also produced a completely original local version of Sesame Street together with TV Tokyo and aired it from 2004 to 2007.   Today, our iconic characters have nearly 100% household awareness, and we operate a growing licensing business, working with Uniqlo on global retail promotion and expanding into branded medical and dental clinics.  We are also well established in themed entertainment, with a fully-branded Sesame area at Universal Studios Japan.  

In the education space, we operate more than 100 Sesame Street English schools together with Nagase Bros. and launched Sesame Street curriculum in public schools in 2019.  

Beyond commercial activities, Sesame Workshop has multiple social impact projects in Japan.  Our flagship impact program is the Dream Save Do project, in partnership with MetLife, teaching children how to plan for their financial future. This project started in 2016 and continues to reach children and caregivers across Japan.

Sesame Workshop is committed to its long-term growth and development in the Japanese market and plans to open its first office in Japan in early 2020.


About Sesame Workshop 

Sesame Workshop is the non-profit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969.   Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.  We are educators, creators, researchers, moms, dads, caregivers, and friends. We are a community of 400+ people with an amazing network of global partners who are passionate about one thing: helping children.

We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of non-profit and commercial businesses across media, formal education, consumer products, themed entertainment, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs.  Through our globally-beloved characters, we provide almost two hundred million children with access to life-changing early education, critical health lessons, and helpful tools for tough situations.