Japanese Studies HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU
HomeStaffProgrammeStudy in JapanScholarshipsInternshipStudentsNews LinksContact Us

Alumni | Exchange | Internship | Student Works | Japanese Society


Ms. Amy Kwok Wai Man holds a BA (1997) from the University of Hong Kong, with a Major in Japanese Studies and a Minor in Psychology. Amy is the founder of Milk Top ice-cream and now she is the Managing Director of the company Hokkaido Marche Hong Kong Ltd. Apart from the ice-cream business, the company also handles Japanese food, including fresh milk, noodles, and juice. It has more than fifty suppliers in Japan. Currently the company has fifty staff and seven outlets in HK. She is also the co-founder of the chocolate brand ChocoNext.


HKU and Japanese Studies: Life-long memories

I still remember the crazy night queuing up to register for Japanese Studies. Everyone was so eager to study Japanese. I was lucky that I successfully registered, and my pursuit of a Major in Japanese Studies definitely changed my life. Japanese Studies involved not only mastering a language but also learning about Japanese culture. What I learnt was so helpful when I started my career in a Japanese company, and later when I founded my own company.

By the end of Year 2, we had the opportunity to participate in the exchange program with Tokyo Soka University. This exchange program was one of the most memorable periods of my university studies. We went to classes in the mornings and participated in different activities during the afternoons and weekends. We experienced everything from Parliament House, NHK, and galleries, to Mount Fuji, Disneyland, and kimono dressing experience. I was so touched by the hospitality of the Japanese, especially the couple in the Sunflower Hall, who held welcoming parties for us with okonomiyaki and held a farewell party for us when we moved out. I still remember the laughter and tearful eyes when we left the place. The staff and students from Soka University also extended their hospitality to us to a degree beyond our expectations. I learnt from them their humble attitude and their sense of hospitality, which benefited me a lot when I founded my own business.    

After the exchange program in Soka University, I joined the homestay program at Kyushu. After 2 years of learning Japanese, I can really put the language to practical use. Apart from language, I was able to experience the actual life in a Japanese family. It was also a treasured experience for me. I still have frequent contact with the family now.

My Career Path

Shortly after graduation, I entered a Japanese trading company as a sales assistant. My Japanese boss let me choose whether to communicate in Japanese or English, and without hesitation I chose Japanese. I used Japanese in my daily work, which really helped to improve my spoken and written Japanese. This also helped to lay the foundation for starting my own new company, which required frequent communication with Japanese. I worked for nine years in the trading company. When a Japanese friend invited me to help his ice-cream company, I accepted the challenge eagerly. The company was newly established and I had to work from scratch. Due to some unexpected situation in Japan, I took over the company with a few friends and started my path as a business owner.

The path was not an easy one, as there was not enough financial support and I didn’t have experience of managing a business. I worked from morning till midnight and the business grew steadily, to the point that the business was able to break even after one year. Japanese language and my previous work experience in a trading company was an advantage when I explored the trading business. When facing Japanese suppliers, I always keep a humble attitude and apply the skills I learned from Japanese Studies.

I believe that if I hadn't enrolled in Japanese Studies, I would be walking a different path today.

Japanese Studies HKU