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About Us

Gaba studio entryway

Gaba is Japan’s premier provider of one-to-one English instruction. Our Learning Studios set the standard by which English language learning is measured.

Numerous companies in Japan provide English conversation lessons. What makes Gaba unique is that all teaching is done one-to-one. This approach allows for customization of the lessons and ensures steady progress towards each client’s English language goals.
Gaba’s service is only as strong as the people providing it. What makes teaching in Japan with Gaba such a positive experience are the motivated clients, supportive staff and enthusiastic instructors.
Gaba is a business and as such, we are dedicated to ensuring the satisfaction of all our clients. Teaching as a service might be a foreign concept to some, but it is a well established practice in Japan.

Message from the CEO

Instructors are the foundation of the business. As a current client, I enjoy interacting with our culturally and professionally diverse instructors. My motivation to improve my English is derived from a desire to share dreams and ideas with them. As a company our chief mission is helping people achieve their most audacious life goals. Naturally, this extends to instructors; the flexibility of our contract and scheduling system is ideally suited to individuals pursuing their dreams in Japan.

The eikaiwa industry will remain vital to Japan in the decades to come. If the country is to remain competitive in the global economy, there needs to be a shift from the export of finished goods to highly technical services. Furthermore, an aging population will require the import of skilled labor from abroad. English will be the medium of communication for all. Gaba will be the eikaiwa of choice.

One-to-one lessons from our Learning Studios established the brand. Now a market leader, Gaba’s future success calls for both a deepening of our core service and diversification. We are recognized for the quality of our lessons and counseling. We must expand this to new segments such as corporate lessons. Instructors can expect a wider range of teaching options with the potential for even greater flexibility.

Teaching English in Japan is a learning opportunity. Respectful, safe, and welcoming to all comers, our country is a wonderful choice. At Gaba, there is no end to the insights you can gain teaching alongside instructors from over 60 countries and clients from every facet of Japanese society.

御応募お待ちしております。

Masatoshi Saito
President and CEO

Our People

Teaching is about communication and fostering understanding. Teaching English in Japan requires doing so across cultural boundaries. Therefore, success as a Gaba instructor requires strong people skills to bridge these divides. The excitement clients experience from learning something new is one of the biggest rewards of teaching with us. As their motivation increases, so does yours as the instructor.

For those who enjoy meeting new people, teaching with Gaba provides no shortage. There are the clients of course, but also the staff and other instructors. Gaba presents a wonderful opportunity to make friends and learn more about Japan, the world, and even the language you call your own. Believe it or not, there are equal numbers of discoveries awaiting both the teacher and student! Read on for more information on each of the clients, the instructors, and staff.

Clients

Over 20,000 clients study with Gaba. The majority are working professionals. There are also high school and university students, homemakers, and retirees. The Gaba Kids program is available at select studios for children between the ages of six and twelve.

Motives for studying are as varied as the clients themselves. The one constant: each and every client has chosen Gaba with the expectation that their lessons will be one-to-one and custom-tailored to their specific needs. Our most successful instructors are always aware of this.

“Business” is the most common motive for study. Many of our clients have direct need of English in their professions. Others aspire to positions which require the use of English. Furthermore, many Japanese employers require particular scores on the popular TOEIC and TOEFL tests for admission or advancement. Therefore, many college students should be considered business clients as well. Naturally, with so much riding on their English ability, business clients are often the most motivated and will have particularly high expectations of their instructor.

There are more casual clients as well. Homemakers and retirees frequently travel abroad or enjoy English language television programs, movies, and music. Learning English is a means to appreciate their pastimes more fully. Lively lessons with cultural content (“American” English versus “British” English, for example) are often popular!

The youngest of our clients – the Gaba Kids clients – are taught in the same one-to-one fashion as the adults. While it’s often the parents that have the highest expectations, children are demanding in their own right with the need to hold their attention and encourage participation.

Instructors

Gaba instructors are multi-cultural and multi-talented, with representation from over 70 different nationalities and all walks of life. They are educators, business owners, scientists, architects, students, homemakers, writers, designers, musicians, and more. All possess a passion for teaching English. While Gaba instructors are not strictly employees of the company, each uniquely fits the work into their life in Japan.

Why are all these different people teaching in Japan with Gaba? The short answer: motivated students and the freedom to do just what they came to Japan for in the first place!

Japan attracts a variety of people for any number of reasons. Some of the most common are study (language, cultural activities, and martial arts), family, and adventure. Japan offers exciting options for fans of any sport or activity! Many instructors taught English prior to starting with Gaba and came to further their careers. Others are entirely new. Regardless, the majority will tell you that the flexible scheduling system combined with the one-to-one approach are the reasons they chose Gaba.

You will find video testimonials scattered throughout the site, where our Instructors provide their own take on life as a Gaba Instrcutor.

Staff

While not quite as diverse as the instructor ranks, Gaba’s full-time staff hail from around the world and have a broad range of expertise. Of course, many are Japanese, particularly the frontline staff at the Learning Studios. These are the counselors and studio managers. Each client is assigned a counselor with whom they meet regularly to track their progress. The counselors are happy to discuss clients’ requirements and share any new information that comes to light during consultation.

There is full-time staff on hand at the studios specifically to guide instructors. The Instructor Support Leaders and Managers can offer advice on topics relating to teaching, scheduling lessons, and adapting to life in Japan. Turn to them first for advice! All have been instructors with Gaba at one time or another.

Behind the scenes are staff working from headquarters to ensure all runs smoothly in this complex, multi-cultural business. Most of the Japanese staff previously worked as counselors and a good proportion of the foreign staff were instructors. After all, firsthand experience providing Gaba’s core service – one-to-one English instruction – is all but essential to furthering the company’s goals.

Our History

Gaba was founded in 1995 to challenge the norm of the day. English was being taught in group lessons using a formulaic, one-size-fits-all approach. Gaba’s innovation: instruct clients one at a time with a focus on each individual’s needs. In other words, give a fully customized learning experience.

We set out with a three-fold mission which holds to this day:

  1. Help people achieve their most audacious life goals.
  2. Nurture the ability to compete on the global stage.
  3. Contribute to the mutual understanding of various cultures.

When Gaba first started, there were no Learning Studios and lessons were taught in public places such as libraries and cafes. In the year 2000, we opened our first studios to better ensure the quality of our service. Despite Japan’s economic bubble having burst by this time, client demand grew swiftly.

Other notable years include 2005 with the opening of our first locations outside of the greater Tokyo area. In 2007, Gaba went public. Our continued success garnered the attention of several large Japanese companies including Nichii Gakkan. A large provider of medical services, they acquired Gaba in the autumn of 2011. Today there are 43 Learning Studios in each of Japan’s four largest markets: Kanto, Kansai, Kyushu, and Chubu.

We can only achieve our goals with our greatest asset: quality instructors. Thus, Gaba measures its success by both the satisfaction of its clients and instructors.

Company Timeline

2016

March Hankyu Umeda Learning Studio opened (formerly Chayamachi Learning Studio)
October Fukuoka-Tenjin Learning Studio opened (first Learning Studio in Kyushu)
December Ichikawa Learning Studio opened

2015

April Roppongi Learning Studio opened.
October Kinshicho Learning Studio opened.
November “and Gaba” concept store opened.

2014

April Shinjuku West Learning Studio opened
September

Musashi-Kosugi Learning Studio opened

Akasaka Learning Studio (formerly Akasaka-Tameike Learning Studio)

2013

March Tennoji Learning Studio opened
December Ginza Learning Studio expanded

2012

January Ikebukuro Learning Studio relocated
April Omiya Learning Studio relocated
May Ginza Learning Studio relocated
September Kawasaki Learning Studio relocated
October New Akihabara Learning Studio opened

2011

January New Nagoya Learning Studio opened
February New Travel curriculum released
March Namba Learning Studio opened (formerly Shinsaibashi LS)
May Kashiwa Learning Studio openedYokohama Learning Studio relocated
October Jiyugaoka Learning Studio relocated

2010

May Machida Learning Studio opened (formerly Shin-Yurigaoka Learning Studio)

2009

January Escrow of Advanced Payment introduced
April Otemachi Learning Studio opened

Meguro Learning Studio relocated

September Akabane Learning Studio opened

2008

January Shinbashi-Shiodome Learning Studio relocated
February Kawasaki Learning Studio opened
April Shibuya Learning Studio relocated

Snapshots New curriculum released

June Kitasenju Learning Studio relocated
October Business Advantage curriculum released

2007

March Hachioji Learning Studio opened
April Kitasenju Learning Studio opened

Futakotamagawa Learning Studio relocated

August Ebisu Learning Studio opened
November Kyoto Learning Studio opened

2006

April Chayamachi Learning Studio opened
August Omotesando Learning Studio relocated
September New Shinjuku Learning Studio opened
October Kobe Learning Studio opened

2005

January Umeda Learning Studio opened (first LS in Osaka)
February Chiba Learning Studio opened

myGaba for Instructors released

March Mobile access site for Instructors released
April Sakae Learning Studio opened (first LS in Nagoya)
December Yokohama Learning Studio relocated

2004

January Fujisawa Learning Studio opened
February Aobadai Learning Studio opened
April Sangenjaya Learning Studio opened
May Meguro Learning Studio opened
June Shin-Yurigaoka Learning Studio opened

Mobile access site for Clients released

July Career textbook series launched
October Shinagawa Learning Studio opened

2003

January Akasaka-Tameike and Shinbashi Learning Studios opened
February Tokyo Learning Studio opened
March Shimokitazawa Learning Studio opened
April Omotesando Learning Studio opened
May Futakotamagawa Learning Studio opened
June myGaba for Clients released

Planet textbook series launched

Seijo Learning Studio opened

July Roppongi Learning Studio opened
October Akasaka Mitsuke and Tamachi Learning Studios opened

Online Evaluation System launched

2002

February Snapshot textbook series launched
June Shinjuku East and West merged

2001

March Shinjuku East and Ginza Learning Studios opened
April Shinjuku West Learning Studio opened
October Kichijoji Learning Studio opened
November Ginza 1-chome Learning Studio opened

2000

March Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Jiyugaoka and Yokohama “schools” opened

1995

March Company founded