One day, I stumbled across an article that caught my eye and captured my heart.. The article proclaimed: “only one out of three international students wishing to work in Japan are able to secure employment.” Well aware of the challenges of a declining youth population, lack of diversity, and the demands of a global era, I was shocked by such statistic. Here were international students who had travelled far and invested so much to learn about Japan, yet most who wanted to stay were unable to do so. I was immediately convinced that something had to be done to improve the situation for international students looking for a place here in Japan.
I next held numerous talks –formal and informal – with international students about their views on job hunting and their career aspirations. I came to understand that the problem was not with a lack of jobs or talent but stemmed from the deeply rooted job hunting culture, or Shukatsu style in Japan that limited the freedom and flexibility for international students to express themselves and show their unique talents. I also found that the current Shukatsu style prevented international students from finding the company that best ‘fit’ their knowledge and potential Out of these interview, I began to imagine an ‘alternative style’ of Skukatsu for international students living in Japan and was determined to start a movement to create that new future.
The world is increasingly interconnecting. While many Japanese companies are hungry for “innovation” and “globalization” to stay competitive in the international market, they often seem to be overlooking the valuable resources available to them right here at ‘home’. Over the past decade, there have been a huge number of reforms in higher education greatly expanding the number of international students coming to Japan. These international students who have spent time studying in Japan can not only offer their knowledge of Japanese language and culture but can also provide input and new perspectives based on their country of origin. It goes almost without saying that their education and experiences will be different than that of Japanese students. This is precisely why they are needed: I strongly believe that such individuals are critical mechanisms for change in Japanese firms. It is really only the outmoded Shukatsu process that prevents the uptake of such talent and change.
We thus want to be the bridge between international students and companies in Japan.
We want to see the students maximizing their potentials at companies, and companies achieving positive change. Through doing so, we want to provide a new channel for change in Japanese society, one that connects outward to the World and thus changes the World at the same time.