About Us

Founding Principles

Based in the heart of Tokyo, 3Waves was founded with a few simple ideas in mind:


Communication is key. With a bilingual and bicultural team we pride ourselves on smoothly navigating our clients through the potentially hectic set-up stages all the way through to the clear and concise presentation of results.


Stepping outside the research facility is often necessary to obtain the deepest insight. Although we are well versed when it comes to traditional methodologies, we also like to employ some more creative approaches to dig that little bit deeper.


Open-mindedness’ and ‘Flexibility’ are two ideas we hold sacred. We understand the necessity to keep global methodologies consistent, while at the same time providing considered recommendations on localization.

Our Team


Sam Heinrich

Research Director


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Landing in Japan for the first time in 1999 Sam knew this place was different and has been researching it in one form or another ever since. With a degree in International Business and Japanese from the Queensland University of Technology, Sam originally found himself working as a trade consultant assisting multinational companies with market entry advice.

Realizing that market entry was only the beginning and quickly the end for many, Sam soon turned his sights to consumer research and has spent the rest of his time either running focus groups, in-home interviews, or accompanied shopping trips trying to understand what makes Japanese consumers tick.

Experienced handling both qualitative and quantitative methodologies Sam has helped many international clients in a range of industries including gaming, mobile phones, luxury goods, FMCG, IT, and travel. When not sitting behind the one-way mirror Sam likes to spend his time outdoors skiing, playing tennis, or enjoying a few of the tasty Japanese beers with friends.


Ayako Nagahama

Moderator / Research Manager


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Before Ayako made her way to 3Waves she spent several years working for a Japanese advertising agency and therefore is no stranger to the whimsies and wonders of the Japanese marketing world. With excellent bilingual skills, Ayako gets her quaint English accent from spending several years studying in Bournemouth, England. With a wide range of qualitative projects under her belt she has helped make countless projects at 3Waves a raving success.

Loved by clients from all over the world she has built up a great deal of expertise in the areas of cosmetics/skincare, travel/hospitality, food/beverage and luxury goods. Hailing from Yokohama, you’ll often find Ayako out catching a wave on the south coast of Tokyo or island-hopping in tropical Okinawa. And did we mention her karaoke skills ain’t too shabby either?


Yukako Osawa

Research Manager


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Born in the US and raised in Tokyo, connecting the dots between contrasting worlds comes naturally to Yukako. After spending her high school years in California, she returned to Tokyo to study Anthropology, specializing in ethnographic research at Sophia University.

Yukako is also no stranger to the quirky and nuanced world of Japanese retail, spending 10 years working at one of the world’s largest American coffee companies as well as for a French luxury leather brand.

With her vast array of experience, bilingual skills, abilities servicing both clients and consumers equally, along with her passion for anthropology, Yukako has easily found her place as a Research Manager here at 3Waves.

In her free time, you’ll find her chasing after her 2 year old daughter. And when she has a moment… relaxing to her favorite tunes and glass of white held firmly in hand!


Miki Tamura

Project Coordinator

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Miki is our Project Coordinator, but that title does little to describe how vital she is to making 3Waves’ projects run without a hitch. If she’s not poring over screeners to select the very best respondents then she’s doing one of a million other little things that ensure clients are well-prepared for projects when they arrive.

After studying IT at college she worked in the tech industry for several years doing anything and everything around computers. Always looking to try something new and exciting she made her way to 3Waves where she’s putting her skills to use and developing new ones as well!

In her downtime she enjoys heading off to Japan’s famed hot spring resorts in Nagano and elsewhere, traveling around Asia and abroad or just enjoying a tasty dessert at one of Tokyo’s pastry shops.


Aiko Watanabe

Research Manager

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Aiko does quite a few things at 3Waves which include moderation and also interpretation and she is very good at both. She has a broad range of moderation experience and has worked in fashion, cosmetics, electronics, household goods, gaming, and last year even handled something for luncheon meat – which she loved by the way.

When Aiko isn’t ducking in and out of in-home interviews she can be found running around on the rugby paddock with her social rugby team or enjoying a nice Italian meal somewhere around Tokyo. And by the way, Aiko’s not only fluent in English, but also Italian having lived their for several years as a student. Mozzafiato!


Jeffrey Brouse

Research Director


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When meeting strangers on the streets of Tokyo for the first time, foreigners are often asked, “Why did you come to Japan?”

Jeff has plenty of reasons.

He holds a degree in Social Science and East Asian Studies from Harvard where he became interested in Japanese economics, politics, society and language. Still not enough bookwork, he went on to pursue graduate studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. But he also has a long history and strong family connections to Japan as well. After first visiting in 1997 and several times thereafter, he moved to Tokyo permanently in 2006.

Before working as a market researcher in Tokyo, he performed strategy consulting and qualitative research for Navstar Advisors in Boston. He has undertaken studies in a broad range of sectors including financial services, FMCG, cosmetics and luxury goods.

In his spare time, you’ll find Jeff reading up on the latest cultural trends in Japan and abroad. If not that, he enjoys playing baseball and exploring Tokyo’s hidden neighborhoods.


Masato Shiotani

Marketing Insights Advisor

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Masato has over 30 years experience in marketing and has held senior level positions with some of the world’s largest companies including Unilever, Buena Vista, and Warner. After graduating from Japan’s Gakushuin University in 1975, Masato held a number of positions in marketing before moving onto Unilever. Here he was brand manager of the shampoo Timotei and was instrumental in bringing it to the No. 1 position in the Japanese shampoo market. Subsequently, he held senior level marketing positions at Phillip Morris Japan, Avia Japan, and United Brands (Chiquita) before turning his sights to the entertainment industry.

Masato served as Executive Director of Buena Vista and then became Managing Director of Warner Vision Japan, a division of AOL / Time Warner. In his time at Warner, Masato led the introduction of DVDs into the Japanese music video market and helped increase sales for the company 8 fold during his time as MD. Masato brings a wealth of experience to 3Waves Japan and his deep insight across a broad range of industries is highly valued by many of our clients. Besides being deeply involved in work with 3Waves, Masato also has his own consultancy business specializing in advice on market entry, market analysis, and joint-venture introductions. www.sigma-international.net

In his free time Masato likes going skiing with his family or hanging out in his custom built home theatre listening to the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and many other classics.