Feb. 2015

Creative Work at Our Studio in Beijing Creative Work at Our Studio in Beijing Creative Work at Our Studio in Beijing

TANABE MEGUMI/Vice president and producer at Beijing NDC Studio

By thinking about what we can do as Japanese people, a path will naturally open up for us.


Vice president and producer at Beijing NDC Studio

Tanabe Megumi was born in 1976 in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from the Department of International and Comparative Law at the Rikkyo University College of Law and Politics, she worked in the Fujiya Hotel Accommodations Section before going to study abroad at The University of International Business and Economics in September 2003. From July 2005, she began working as a producer for automotive photography in China at Beijing NDC Studio, Inc. She joined the company management in 2009 when she became vice president, and in 2010 she joined Nippon Design Center. As of 2015, she is still learning and growing in her 10th year as a producer.

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Hello. I am Tanabe Megumi. Nippon Design Center established Beijing NDC Studio, Inc. in 2005 in order to meet the needs for automotive photography in the China market, and I have been working here ever since. Although my title is vice president, fundamentally I am a producer. However my work spans a very broad range, and in addition to schedule management, estimates, marketing, and presentations, I am also responsible for interpreting and finding locations for photo shoots. The company now has around 20 staff, but the number when we started was just four. Our style of working in which everyone does every kind of work has remained unchanged since that time.

The clients of Beijing NDC Studio are very diverse and include Japanese companies such as Toyota, as well as Chinese and European automobile companies, advertising agencies, and other companies. We do around 100 jobs each year, and nearly all of them are in competition with other productions. However at Beijing NDC Studio, we have photography techniques that are specialized for cars, three large studios, and a comfortable office building, and our strength is in our ability to provide high quality in every area. This year is our 10th, and I take pride in the fact that we have become one of the top three studios in China.

I first came to China as a student. After graduating from university in Japan, I found a job at a well-established hotel, however I still felt that I wanted to challenge myself to do something different. At first I did not actually have any particular interest in China, and began going to a Chinese language class in order to learn a second foreign language after English. After some time, I was told that I should study overseas and passed the entrance examination to university. In short order it was decided that I would go to Beijing for 2 years, and of course I quit my job at the hotel. I was not one of those students who studies overseas with a clear objective in mind. I just decided to study, and spent every day from morning to night learning Chinese. These efforts bore fruit, and around the time when I was able to speak quite capably, I began a part-time job at a company which was supporting business by Japanese companies in China. This is where I encountered Nippon Design Center, which was just then preparing to establish Beijing NDC Studio.

Although I joined the company, I knew nothing at all about advertising or photography. At first I helped at the photo shoot locations and performed other tasks as I learned my job a little at a time. Shooting cars in China is quite a lot of fun, and we did a lot of location shoots as well as studio shoots. In addition to sites in Beijing and Shanghai, we also went to some places that travelers do not often get to see. For example, we went to a site in Hami, located in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region around 3,000 km from Beijing – a 36-hour trip by train. The location was in the 2,800 km long Tian Shan mountain range. It was hard doing a photo shoot where there was nothing but nature all around, and everything was natural including the toilets. However I was able to experience the true beauty of the vast land of China.

My family runs a glass construction business, and as I was growing up my mother constantly told me that I had to be an ageman. An ageman is a woman who brings good fortune to the man she is with, but recently I have come to question whether careful considerateness and the ability to serve someone are really part of the virtues of Japanese women. Because the idea of equality between the sexes is firmly rooted in China, this is something which Chinese people find hard to understand even when I explain it to them. I hope that this project, the staff who I work with, and the company as a whole will ride the rising currents as high as they can go. For this reason, I approach my work with the idea of providing help and support to everyone.

Now the photography at Beijing NDC Studio is done by a Japanese cameraman living in China. In the future I hope that camera professionals from Japan will more readily come to do work in China. China offers attractive photo-shoot locations for a broad range of fields. Not knowing the language is not a problem. As long as the person is motivated and energetic, and keeps in mind what he or she can do as a Japanese person, then a path will open up for that person naturally. As someone who came to China not knowing right from left and who has worked here continuously thereafter, this is something I can say with confidence.

Nippon Design Center also provides information on Facebook.