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Masahiko (Masa) Ishida


Managing Partner, Japan

Head of Corporate, Japan

Masahiko Ishida-san is our go-to lawyer whenever we face a complicated legal issue. He always tries to live up to our expectation in the quality, speed and the cost.
Client, Corporate / M&A, Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023

Masahiko (Masa) Ishida has 20 years’ experience of helping multinational clients with a wide range of M&A, PE/VC investments, capital markets transactions and other corporate governance matters.

He is admitted to practice in both Japan and New York so he provides high quality bilingual advice to multinational clients on Japanese legal matters, and to Japanese clients on cross-border projects.

Masa is widely regarded as a trusted advisor and leading practitioner in cross-border transactions and has advised many leading multinational and Japanese clients on high-profile matters. Recent examples include a large acquisition in 15 jurisdictions by a Japanese life sciences company, a significant equity investment in a large Japanese listed life sciences company by one of the largest multinational financial institutions, the first VC investment in Japan by a well-known multinational venture capital company, and the first listing on Nasdaq by a Japanese technology company in the 21st century.

Masa is known for giving practical legal advice based on commercial insight, having spent time out of the law working as an investment banker in the US and Japan. He also worked previously for one of the most respected large Japanese law firms. He combines this experience and his commercial knowledge with deep insight into the Japanese market and offshore markets.

Masa has been appointed in a number of prestigious positions by the Japanese government and public institutions. These have included his appointments by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as Outside Legal Counsel for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He is the only lawyer to have been appointed as a member of the Cool Japan Inbound Investment Growth Committee, organized by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Masa has also served in a number of other external roles. He was a Fulbright fellow during his studies at Columbia Law School and served as a Visiting Fellow at Columbia Business School (The Center on Japanese Economy and Business). He is currently an auditor for the Fulbright Alumni Association of Japan and a regular speaker at seminars and conferences.

Masa believes strongly in the importance of physical and mental health for long-term success. He is passionate about good food, drink and exercise, and holds a black belt in both karate and judo. Masa has run in several marathon races including the Tokyo Marathon and his next goal is to complete all of the World Marathon Majors.

Professional QualificationsAttorney-at-law admitted with the Supreme Court of New YorkBengoshi registered with the Daini Tokyo Bar Association



Masa’s experience includes advising:

  • One of the largest US conglomerate companies on the sale of its biopharma business to a global science and technology company
  • One of the largest international venture capital firms on its VC investment in a large technology company in Japan
  • A Japanese public financial institution on its equity investment in an Irish energy company
  • A German automotive company on the acquisition of a transmission components business in Japan
  • One of the largest Asian financial institutions on its share acquisition of a large, listed life sciences company in Japan
  • A leading European private investment advisory firm on its LBO acquisition of a world leading automotive company across France, the UK, Mexico, Japan, Romania and the US
  • One of the largest European government funds on its investment management and exercising of shareholder rights in Japan
  • One of the largest food delivery companies on setting up its operations in Japan
  • A large Japanese food service chain restaurant managing company on its acquisition of a large food chain with more than 4,000 restaurants throughout the US, Canada and Australia
  • An Indian automotive company on its joint venture with a large Japanese heavy industry company
  • A large Japanese trading company and large pulp company on their sale of one of the largest pulp producers in Canada
  • A large Japanese pharmaceutical company on its public takeover bid for a Belgium listed advanced biopharmaceutical company
  • A Japanese forensic company on its Nasdaq listing, the first Nasdaq listing for a Japanese company in the 21st century
  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Government as an outside legal counsel on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup 2019
  • A large Japanese telecommunication company on the acquisition of a mobile phone company by TOB and LBO (the largest LBO in Asia) – at a previous firm
  • Japanese
  • English
  • Columbia University, Law (Award: Fulbright Scholarship), LLM, 2009
  • Legal apprentice with the Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan, 2002-03
  • The University of Tokyo, LLM, 2001
  • Keio University, BA, 1998


  • Leading individual (Bengoshi) in Corporate and M&A: International Firms and Joint Ventures, Japan, Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019-23
  • Ranked for Corporate/M&A: Domestic in Japan, Chambers Global 2016-23 and Chambers Asia-Pacific 2015-23
  • Named a Dealmaker of Asia 2020 by Asian Legal Business
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2008-10

Pro Bono

  • External auditor for the Fulbright Alumni Association of Japan
  • Advised several world organizations on human rights related legal survey projects


  • Quoted, "Corporate Japan Back in the hunt for US deals," Financial Times, 12 July 2023
  • Quoted, "Land of the rising funds," FinanceAsia, Volume 2023
  • 2023 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, April 2023
  • Corporate governance focus in Japan drives inbound M&A, IFLR, August 2022
  • DLA Piper’s new Tokyo co-head lays out game plan, Asia Business Law Journal, 27 May 2022
  • 2022 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2022
  • 2021 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2021
  • CFIUS and US investment, article in Junkan Keiri Jouhou No.1574, April 2020
  • CFIUS and FIRRMA and US investment, article in MARR, April 2020
  • 2020 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2020
  • Quoted, "Foreign Exchange Law," Mainichi newspaper, November 2019
  • Quoted, "CFIUS and FIRRMA," NIKKEI, April 2019
  • 2019 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2019
  • CFIUS and US M&A Practical tips, article in Junkan Keiri Jouhou No.1532, December 2018
  • Quoted, "CFIUS and FIRRMA," NIKKEI, November 2018
  • CFIUS and US M&A Practice, article in MARR, October 2018
  • Round-table talk: Risk Management in International M&A, article in MARR, April 2018
  • 2018 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2018
  • M&A and F-4 registration in the US, article in Junkan Keiri Jouhou No.1489, September 2017
  • Key points in English Contract drafting and US law, article in Business Houmu, June 2017
  • 2017 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2017
  • Legal Implications of Brexit on Japanese Business, article in Business Houmu, October 2016
  • 2016 Overseas Legal News, article in Business Houmu, March 2016
  • US Venture Investment Scheme Trends and Potential Use of Japanese Companies Featuring Convertible Note and SAFE, article in Junkan Keiri Jouhou No.1423, September 2015 (co-author)


  • Global Corporate Venturing Academy – Tokyo, hosted by GCV Academy, November 18, 2022
  • An outlook on the Japanese Economy and current M&A market, co-hosted by the Queensland Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, September 6, 2022
  • Japan Deal Momentum, co-hosted by Mergermarket and AVCJ, January 27, 2022
  • Japan M&A Forum, co-hosted by Mergermarket and AVCJ, October 29, 2021
  • New Foreign investment (FIRB) Law in Australia and what’s the impact for Japanese companies? hosted by Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI), January 28, 2021
  • The EU's Foreign Direct Investment Screening Framework and China's Outbound Investment, co-hosted by China Data Analysis & Research Hub, CDA, November 30, 2020
  • Seminar on retail sector market trends and regulation in e-commerce business, co-hosted by World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry, September 16, 2020

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Daini-Tokyo Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Appointed as a member of the Cool Japan Inbound Growth Policy Committee by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Appointed as a member of the Management Innovation Supporting Organization by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Appointed as an Official Support Lawyer for the SMEs Overseas Strategy by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations