3 LANGUAGES, 5 countries, 30 home addresses later.
Trilingual HR professional with 10+ years of experience in cross-cultural communication.
2019 Established freelance business
1986 Born in Osaka, Japan
Have you seen any kid being bullied or singled out because he/she acts even a tiny bit differently from others? Yep, that makes all of us.
I couldn’t help but asking, “How can we get along even if we are different?” This question has been the core of my work to this day.
2010 Graduated from Osaka Univ. (BA in Culture & Language)
Took a year off and traveled abroad for the first time to New Zealand when I was 19. The cultural mixture among the Maori people and the immigrants that arrived later in history fascinated me. Back in Japan, my research focused on the cultural diversity in Japanese context.
Also, besides school, I got involved in an ambitious translation project for 4 and a half years. Our effort resulted in the publication of “The tale of Genji. The Uji chapters” in 2012.
After graduation, I moved to Toronto, Canada, a city that is famous for its openness to multiculturalism. I lived there for a year.
2011 Leading projects in Mexico
Having studied Spanish in college, I managed to land a job as an interpreter for a Japanese automobile parts manufacturer in Mexico. My job was to help Japanese expats (there were many!) communicate with local employees.
I noticed a funny thing as an interpreter. The success of the communication was hardly ever dependent on the quality of my work. It was more critical to have built a common ground – shared value, knowledge and experiences – than having a good interpreter.
That was why I proposed projects to create training programs. One for all new employees, another for all managers and the other for all manufacturing leaders. By sharing the basic understanding of how we work, workplace communication becomes more effective and teams more productive.
Also, my ability to speak 3 languages gave me the opportunities to work with Japan HQ and the US for global projects.
2014 Joined Rakuten, Inc. in Tokyo
At Rakuten, the Japanese IT service giant, I first worked as an on-boarding specialist in Global HR Department. Annually, more than 1,500 new employees – new grads, mid-career and executives – benefitted from the orientation training and support programs.
Around 30% of them were from outside Japan. My job largely involved the facilitation in their cultural adaptation process through mentoring and coaching.
It was a natural transition, therefore, for me to join Diversity & Inclusion team when it was established. We developed Cross-cultural Communication Training, hosted monthly events to raise awareness, and worked closely with different employee communities, including those of foreigners, the muslims, etc.
2018 Further experience in Australia
I knew I was going to freelance. One last corporate experience I was after was to work for a non-Japanese global company outside Japan.
A rigorous job search led me to a short-term position at one of the world’s largest international education companies, and then finally to a HR position for a US-based pharmaceutical company.
It was a shared HR office for their 9 markets in APEC region. My role was to work on the tasks and projects related to the total rewards and HR information systems of those 9 countries.
2019 Established a business in Osaka
- (Available in Japanese Only)『元楽天人事があなたに伝えたい 外国人とうまく働く１０の秘訣』”10 Things to Learn about Cross-cultural Communication: A Guide for Japanese Professionals to Work Effectively with Foreigners” Amazon Kindle – 2018/3 Nahoko Toyota
- “The tale of Genji The Uji chapter” – 2012/2 Written by Murasaki-shikibu, Translated by Hiroyuki Hijiya, Nahoko Toyota