KENZO KOBAYASHI – CEO of Samurai Eagle
The highlight of this month for us was meeting with Kenzo Kobayashi, the man behind Samurai Eagle, which is the only showroom in GCC. The name “Samurai Eagle” represents both Japan and America. Kenzo himself originates from a samurai family which gives him a pure vision to establish a company with Samurai culture and tradition. The word Eagle was added to the name Samurai to express his interest of branding the Japanese taste into the market of American Automobile. We were impressed before we stepped into the meeting room with a preview of some of the most unique concept cars in their showroom.
At the showroom in Ras Al Khor, various Japanese products are displayed in the showroom and visitors can actually touch and feel the products in an ambience reflecting a very “Japanese” atmosphere. The professional teams working with Kenzo at Samurai Eagle are not only familiar with all types of cars but also readily to attend to every kind of bespoke request.
Kenzo is 44 Years old and grew up mainly with his mother until he was seven years old. At eight years old he was adopted and thereafter he lived alone for a while which made him independent and confident.
With hopes of attending law School, Kenzo ended up learning more about hospitality because of family complications. Living in a hotel resulted in Kenzo knowing different aspects of hospitality through observation.
The feeling of “If you are happy, I am Happy” is hence ingrained in Kenzo and it clearly translates into his work at Samurai Eagle. Kenzo places a lot of importance to relationships and happiness. His biggest satisfaction comes from seeing people happy as a result of something he and his team has done.
Before Kenzo moved to the UAE, he was operating four companies in Japan in the areas of Consulting, IT, Automotive Business and Insurance in 16 locations and with 108 employees of mixed nationalities.
After a difficult period in his life, some Emirati friends invited Kenzo to visit the UAE and using a phone translator, his friends helped him understand the local culture and get back on his feet. He then set up the Samurai Eagle in July 2017 responding to numerous requests from friends to enhance the look and design of their cars, be it GT sports cars to hybrid cars, minivans or SUVs!
Kenzo also recognised a gap in the market for Japanese car companies wanting to do business in Dubai and Samurai Eagle gives them a platform to showcase and sell their products and services as ‘Made in Japan’ products tend to be original and of a high quality.
He enjoys connecting Japan to the UAE but he also values the safety aspect of using quality products especially when drifting or driving on rough terrain. Most of his clients hence also ask him to bring car products, engines plus exterior and interior customization products from Japan.
Being an entrepreneur, Kenzo is already planning his next venture, which is to open a Japanese spa for men and women and he has already acquired a license for massage services.
On the personal front, Kenzo enjoys living in the UAE as he finds the Japanese and Emirati culture and mind very similar. He loves having traditional parsley salad called Taboule when he can and enjoys tennis, snow sports, surfing, photography as well as coding games (programming). He also loves travelling to New York and Italy as his grandfather is Italian – Japanese and his grave is in Rome.
After a tough few years, Kenzo has learnt to never give up. And if suddenly another tough situation comes, he will not say ‘Why me?’ but ‘Try Me?. He always rises to the challenge and turns the negatives to the positives either on his own or with help from others.
Since his childhood, a lot of people helped Kenzo and hence his philosophy of life is to always give back. We wish Kenzo the best with Samurai Eagle and his upcoming business ventures.