Willem Otsuji-Kra


Independent Agent


Working for the welfare of impoverished children in the favelas of Sao Paolo, how a Dutchman falls in love with Japan in Ireland, or why honesty really is the best policy.


Willem. Friso. Kraai (“crow”). By any name, he is still The Agency’s very own Renaissance man. Willem hails from the idyllic forest town of Doorn, The Netherlands, where he spent his youth – symbolically, we think – building tunnels and tree houses with his brothers amongst the wild deer and rabbits. His life travels have taken him from Amsterdam to Sao Paolo to Galway (where he met his Fukuoka native wife) to Shanghai to Singapore to, finally, Tokyo in 2017. Along the way he somehow managed to attend both law school and medical school, as well as build three businesses from scratch, and he still runs his own recruitment firm back in the old country. While working at Sotheby’s and studying tax law at the University of Amsterdam, he was invited by a friend to join a boutique recruitment company, and before long one of the majors poached him to work in their Asian theater. Ultimately, though, for one who came up in the industry old-school style, with nothing but a phone, phonebook, notepad, and a barge load of integrity and passion for the work, our rack was the perfect place to hang his hat. “I am not joining a company,” he says, “but a group of people with a vision to build an honest and trustworthy environment, to inspire each other to become better.” Having practically grown up in an auction house, Willem is an art aficionado and collector who annually attends The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht. When not spending time with his family and friends or traveling, he likes to run, swim, ski, golf, and watch his beloved Ajax FC on the box. Give him a “caw” to learn more about this most sophisticated of birds.

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Values: A message to our awesome tribe

Years from now, you may not remember the particulars of deals you closed at Zensho (or what the returns were). You will remember your colleagues and how it felt to work with them. The imprint you left on the world.

We invited you to join our tribe because you impressed us as someone who shares values intrinsic to our culture. But just to ensure we’re totally on the same page, here they are, spelled out in black and white and trimmed in our corporate colors.

Freedom is Zensho’s central pillar. Beyond the mere state of being free, for us the word carries with it a sense of obligation: “Freedom to…” What follows should define you as a person. Of course, to provide your business community with amazing service, but also to engage and give back to the world. And that’s where Autonomy comes in. Unlike the general implications of self-rule, ours leads not to detachment but to a broad and radical sense of interconnectivity. One that enables each of us to commune with others in infinite ways. Together, these two values empower you like nothing else on earth, and they’re here waiting for you.

So, what do we ask in return?

Transparency means not only having open books, but being one yourself. No secrets or ulterior agendas. It is to share personal and industry information without seeking to leverage it for profit or motivate others in any way. Its cousin, Clarity, is about including precision and context in the communication process. At Zensho, we always try to anticipate the details a fellow partner might need and supply them up front.

Which leads us to…

Collaboration. That is, to cooperate meaningfully. Because only through recognizing individual strengths can we thrive as a whole. For us, collaboration requires presence as we listen and respond, evolving toward a collective goal represented by the name of our charity initiative: Ayni (reciprocity). This can’t exist without Collegiality. How we care for each other and the tribe as a whole, share both opportunity and responsibility with open hearts – that’s what empowers us to excel as a firm.

With these six in place, our seventh value happens all by itself.

Harmony. When your environment manifests balance between all people and things – even forces that oppose each other – life just flows. Living completely becomes a state of being. After all, that’s the very meaning of Zensho.