Meet the leader: Nao Udagawa of BANDAI NAMCO

Last updated: March 2, 2021

Nao Udagawa is the managing director of BANDAI NAMCO – a Japanese multinational video game publisher. She was the first female executive at one of the largest AAA console publishers and oversees multiple studios, including DRAGON BALL Z DOKKAN BATTLE. Read more about her inspiring story below.
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Q: What do you like the most about working in games? I’ve come to realize just how important entertainment is to satisfaction, especially now with COVID-19 challenging our lives. Using games to bring smiles to fans worldwide is what I like most about working in the industry. Therefore, it’s also important we adapt to what life throws at us and work as a team to create the best entertainment for all to enjoy. Q: How has being a woman shaped your career in gaming? Ever since joining BANDAI NAMCO, I’ve continued to challenge myself with new endeavors, and games was one of them. We hold gender equality in high respect, and reward those who take on challenges regardless of gender. As a member of management, I will continue to champion an environment where employees can utilize their talent, without worrying about how their work style is impacting their career plan. Q: In the spirit of celebrating women in games, who is one woman who has inspired you and why? Our employees who are working at home raising families, friends who enjoy their weekends to the fullest, our juniors who continue to bring new ideas and put effort in their work, and our seniors who have worked hard to build the industry into what it is today. Seeing so many women around me has nurtured and inspired me to do better. But I would also like to recognize my mother and my mother-in-law who accepted me as I am, and taught me the importance of self-reliance and cooperation. Q: What does 2021 have in store for you – and for BANDAI NAMCO? I would like to deliver more fun to everyone around the world. BANDAI NAMCO is proud of our extensive knowledge of character-driven IP and games, and in promoting our toy and hobby businesses. We will use these strengths to merge the world of digital and physical into one.
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