Update - we are not accepting any more job applications at this time.
Culture Japan’s mission is to share and make Japanese culture more accessible to the world. We do this through the web and mobile platforms that we develop and run, the TV shows that we produce, the merchandise that we develop and the events that we roll out worldwide - all with the help of our mascot character Mirai Suenaga.
Located in the heart of Tokyo Metropolis, we cover all aspects of Japanese Culture including Fashion, Pop Culture, Technology, Gourmet, and Daily Life - we even provide information on how to get a drivers license, get a health checkup, buy a house or even get yourself cloned.
We do a variety of things which contributes to our mission of sharing Japanese Culture which include:-
Mirai has made appearances in Japanese games, anime and has collaborated with companies such as Air Asia, Touch ‘n Go, Kinokuniya, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Ascii Media Works, King Records, Nitroplus and more - click all those links to see details.
Some of the companies that use our web technology are mostly in the anime industry and include Konami, Production IG, King Records, Good Smile Company, Bushiroad, Kadokawa, Ascii Media Works, Yuzu Soft, SEGA, Sony Computer Science and more.
The best thing about our business is that we don't do it for the money - we do it because we simply love Japanese culture - it has changed our lives and we want more people to discover it so that it can change their lives too.
I believe that if you continue focusing on what you love - you will eventually end up with a strong business or personal brand - the money will *always* come later. You need to believe in what you do and stick through it no matter how tough the going gets. Many folk say that its difficult to make a living from being passionate - who said it had to be easy?!
Its been a tough few years and we continue to face challenges everyday but we are slowly getting on track to where we want to go.
For the fiscal year of 2012, our total revenue amounted to nearly 50 million yen (half a million USD) - the Mirai Suenaga brand accounted for most of it.
While we generated 50 million yen in 2012, we spent nearly the same amount too ^^;
Why is this OK? Because not only do we get to do what we enjoy, we also get to learn a lot on the way too.
It's still day one for our company and I believe that we need to invest cash to gain learnings and experience so that we can identify areas where we can cut costs, spend wisely, generate more cash and more importantly - create an environment where we can not only work hard but also play hard.
In the Why Money Doesn't Motivate Me entry, I describe how it's not about making money - it's about doing what we love and when we do so money just comes naturally.
We immediately pour cash back into the company to enable it to grow which is why we are hiring right now. I dont have expensive hobbies which I need to fuel by increasing my wages - in fact I get paid the lowest among all my staff!
Profits made by the company will always go back into growing the company or dishing out bonuses to staff who have gone above and beyond. If we didn't do this then profits gets taxed like no tomorrow ^^;
Because our focus is not money and don't have investors to please, we are not afraid to spend money to try out new things.
Regarding your new ideas, many companies would say “yeah we can try that as long as we break even.”
I say “If we can learn and gain an experience which will enable us to either do things more efficiently or make profits in the future then it does not matter if we break even for this project.”
A company does indeed need money to grow but more importantly it needs knowledge and experience to enable it to grow smarter. A smart company does not need to worry about making money in the future. Knowledge is power.
It is through this way of long term thinking that has enabled us to reach this point where the business has become sustainable and ready for more growth.
The scenario of Mirai Millennium is being written as a 13 part animation series but will most likely initially be released as a light novel.
These interactive companions which are controlled by an Android mobile device will also let you know when you get new mail, Facebook and Twitter notifications. New functionality will be downloadable via Google Play. Read more about Smart Doll.
We will do this by focusing on the well being of staff and prioritize work to focus on the larger impacting stuff rather than the small stuff.
Culture Japan is a brand recognized by the Japanese government and is often referenced by global news and TV networks on and offline which include CNET, CNN, Daily Mail, BBC and more.
We have a wide reach and constant exposure in press outlets worldwide which is utilized to showcase our productions and increase awareness of the Culture Japan brand.
Your implemented ideas will be immediately visible and affect millions of our consumers worldwide.
Culture Japan is a place where you can work together with a passionate team on a common mission to share your love for Japan. Through doing so, you will connect with complete strangers from all over the world who also love Japanese Culture.
Each member plays a vital role in the company and is given the responsibility to make decisions. We have been and are always willing to try new things which include implementing your creative ideas.
Convinced? If so then check out the positions below to see what tickles your fancy.
If you make the mark, we will contact you within a week of your submission for a video interview over Skype. Unfortunately, as we usually get a ton of applicants, we can only contact applicants who make the mark.
All these positions are for immediate hire but we can obviously wait for folks who need to tie up loose ends on their previous commitments.
There is no deadline for these positions but we will start to contact super star applicants as soon as entries start to come in - so if you are interested then it would be advisable to submit something sooner rather than later.
Folks need not be concerned that ideas or work in their applications would be misused in the event that they are not hired - because if their ideas were good enough in the first place then they would have been hired ^^;
If you need nurturing and step by step instructions for everything then these positions are not for you.
Previously as a people manager at Amazon, I drew a pie chart that my staff started to call "Danny's Pie" which if you say very fast could be made to sound like "Danny's Oppai."
The pie is divided into three - each piece is 8 hours. Presuming that you work 8 hours and sleep for 8 hours then you have 8 hours remaining which is one slice of the pie. I then start to cut up the remaining piece.
The 8 remaining hours is needed for things like personal hygiene, nourishment intake, health care (very important), cleaning, commuting and other chores which are important in life but generally don't contribute a whole lot to your career or personal development.
If you subtract the time needed for all the above from the final piece of the pie then all you would have left each day is 4-ish hours which you need to use on spending with friends/loved ones, entertainment/recreation and personal development - learning a new subject, beefing up current skills, researching etc.
This personal dev time is something I consider to be crucial to the development of an employee's life, career and well being.
Due to the nature of us still being in startup mode however, there may be some days where you need to chip in a few more hours than the regular to meet deadlines but usually, I would want you to go home early and do your own stuff so that you can be in razor sharp tip top shape the next day.
I think one of the reasons why we have been able to build our business to this stage with only a limited amount of resources is because we prioritize what can be done in the available time frame without expecting everybody to work up until the last train.
We constantly make sacrifices on the small stuff and prioritise resources to work on the bigger impacting stuff.
Even if you dont have any of the above skills - its not too late to learn - depending on the position you are going for - you can gain all the skills that you need from asking Google Sensei.
This is Linus from Singapore. I first met him at a Culture Japan Night a few moons ago. He was following me around with a laptop with some of his work on it and was interested in an internship with us.
The graphical work he showed me did look nice but not incredible - but I was impressed with his persistence as he followed me around all the time!
We exchanged business cards. He then sent me an illustration of Mirai-chan that he done in Illustrator. I was impressed with the quality of his vector artwork and proceeded to speak with him over Skype.
Linus could speak quite a fair bit of Japanese which he picked up himself. But he didn't have enough skills that I required. Linus looked like a clever chap so I decided to invest time to train him - well it was more like getting him to train himself - I only gave him guidance.
I gave him test after test which he not only passed but went above and beyond.
The first test was to learn HTML and CSS3 which he ended up doing in 3 days - I gave him a mockup of a website (as a flat image) and a link to W3 Schools and told him of Google Sensei who lived on the planet Dagobah.
Google Sensei taught me all my Internet and graphical skills and I'm sure that Google Sensei would teach Linus the same - all Linus had to do was to ask Sensei.
In 3 days, not only did Linus manage to make the mockup from pure CSS (no table tags) but he also took the opportunity to learn JQuery and put in a rotating slideshow which I didn't request.
The second test was to edit a video for me using Final Cut Pro X - I sent him a few clips and told him to consult with Google Sensei again.
Despite having no previous knowledge of Final Cut Pro, just like myself, he picked up all the information that he needed - it cant get more easier than typing "Final Cut Pro X Tutorial."
The final test was to set up a server on his Mac and open up a port so that I could access it from Japan. Linus had no prior server knowledge but managed to do this task in a single night just by asking Google Sensei.
Linus proceeded to Intern for us for 3 months before becoming a full time employee working remotely in our Singapore office.
Linus has been working with us for a year and a half. At the age of 21, he has just been promoted to be our Chief Operating Officer and will be joining us in Tokyo this September.
You dont! Nobody is forcing you. But to be honest, if you have been living your life thinking that you should be paid for every little thing you do then you have probably already dug yourself an early grave.
I'd like to discuss a few of the things I done for free and where it got me.
I was content working for Japan Airlines after I graduated from university back in London. T'was my first job and it was with a Japanese company. Some of the staff were Japanese and I got to speak a lot of the lingo too.
But I still wasn't in Japan and I never let go of the Japanese Dream that I had which was to live and work in the land of the rising sun.
I started to do the milk rounds looking for jobs online and I found something that caught my eye on a recruitment site called Peoples First. The job was based in Tokyo and the description was something like "Web marketing in SE Asia. Require native English speaker with good command of Japanese/Chinese and who could do the Internets."
Hmmm. I can do a bit of the Internets! I immediately applied for the job and ran home all excited. I told my wife when I got home "we are moving to Japan!"
Wifey gave a smile ^^
A few days later, I got a call to meet the general manager (David Swinbanks) of Nature Japan who had come to the UK to do interviews. I met with him for an hour and the interview included a task to read a scientific article in Japanese ^^;
David didn't expect to find somebody who could also speak Korean which was rather handy as Nature Japan covered Korea in their marketing too.
After the first interview, I went home and stayed up through the night to make a mock up of a simple Nature Korea website which you can see above - they didn't have one at the time and during the interview I discussed how it would be strategically important for Nature to have one. I saved the files on a floppy, printed out a screenshot and found out which hotel David was staying at through the recruitment agency. I got to the hotel, slid the goods under his door and left.
That night, I got a call from the recruitment agency who said that David wanted to meet me again and that "he was surprised by your delivery."
I Met up with David who said that he wanted to send me to their Tokyo office for a week of tests and interviews but that he wasn't guaranteeing me a position just yet. He was going to pay for just the ticket and hotel and leave the rest to me.
I headed to Tokyo and spent a week at the offices of Nature in Ichigaya. I was doing forecasting which I had never done before and had to think of an algorithm that made sense. I used excel to plot some forecasts based on previous years data but I didn't take into account external factors.
Without the experience to understand how things such as seasons affect sales, my forecasts were off but I tried my best to come up with the numbers.
Luckily David was looking for somebody with the willingness to try rather than somebody who knew it all.
I was also doing translating of scientific articles which they don't quite teach in university ^^;
A week packed with intensive tests and interviews had come to an end and I was sitting at Davids desk. "Thank you for coming to Tokyo. We will give you a decision after you get back to the UK."
I started to imagine the pain of sitting on a plane for 12 hours worrying about his answer and said "I probably won't have any finger or toenails left after biting them all off through worrying about whether I got the job or not - I would love an answer before I go back ^^"
David laughed and told me that he will call over the weekend.
I went back to the hotel and was distraught with stress but knew I done absolutely *everything* I could. Everything. I had prepared for a chance like this for the past few years learning not only Japanese but also the technology. I was given the opportunity and I did my best. I wanted to be in Japan so so bad. I just had to be in Japan.
That night, I broke down and cried myself to sleep ^^; lol
The hotel phone rang the next day on a rainy Sunday morning - it was David.
The result of that call was that in July 1999, wifey and I packed up stuff and picked up our one way tickets to Japan.
Had I the mindset to think that I should be paid for everything little thing I do, I would not have put together the mockup of the Korean Nature site.
I was not paid for my time for that week of tests in Tokyo either - but that was not a concern as the chance to prove myself was priceless.
After working at Nature for a while, I started to seek new opportunities and I found one with a Japanese recruitment agency called Job Dragon. During the interview, the CTO (Nick) then came in to have a chat and we discussed the possibility of me working for them. Amongst the conversation, I suggested how a mobile site would be beneficial for Job Dragon to help increase usage of their service.
From 1999 through to 2001, wifey and I decided to save money and not get a mobile phone but then thought it was time to invest in a pair as I wanted to make a mobile site for Job Dragon - to prove to them that I could do the job. Don't have a screenshot of the Job Dragon site that I made but this was the dannychoo.com mobile version which I whipped up at the same time.
Nick seemed to like what I did but wasn't convinced until I did further tests online - he sent me a link to a site where I was required to take tests in HTML and Dreamweaver. I passed both tests and soon after I was offered a full time position working for Job Dragon as a Contents Producer. It was this stepping stone that lead me to corporate life serving such roles as Website Manager at Amazon and Product Manager at Microsoft.
Had I the mindset to think that I should be paid for everything little thing I do, I would not have put together the mockup of the Job Dragon mobile site. Nor would I have taken those tests for free - but that was not a concern as the chance to prove myself was priceless.
Our work involves sharing Japanese culture with the world which means that we need to travel often - we cover flights, hotel and make sure there are a couple of days left over after an event so that we can enjoy the local culture and spend time with our readers and viewers - many other companies ask you to get your ass back home to do work.
Was you working in an environment where it was difficult to have figures or dolls around your own workspace?
At Culture Japan you can display whatever you want around your glass desk - even ecchi figures ^^
Choose from some of the ton of samples that arrive at the office - take whatever you want as they sometimes prevent us from being able to move around properly ^^;
Depending on the nature of your work, you will be given a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or a MacPro to do your cool stuff.
We do a lot of TV and creative work and the industry standard in Japan is Mac. If you are a Windows guy or gal and don't like the idea of using a Mac then nobody is forcing you at point blank range to apply for a position! Complaining will only make you look clever...
I can clone a configuration of Mac OS and restore it to any Mac machine and it will just work - this is just one of the reasons why we save on having a dedicated IT department.
We have built up a library of Mac software over the years and also have a plethora of automated processes that help us do things faster on Macs too.
The only exception is the Graphic Artist who may have to use Windows for software like 3D Studio Max which is only Windows based.
Also, if you need any equipment particular for your line of work - we get it for you.
Once upon a time I used to think that I could effectively run a business with remote staff using tools like mail, skype and monosnap. What ended up happening was that I would spend 90% of the day touching base with my staff located in countries like Romania, Philippines, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.
Moving forward, I’m investing in a larger office and hiring more folks locally in Tokyo. This should enable us to better articulate our ideas and emotions on a 1 to 1 basis.
While we do need to spend a certain amount of time in the office to touch base and communicate with the team - the most important thing is that you deliver your goods which is why we are flexible about allowing staff to go and run personal errands and wot not.
I discovered Japan through games! I’m looking for some arcade cabinets for the office but for now staff can take a break by kicking somebody in Street Fighter or shooting something in Axelay.
It happens to a lot of us - a sudden spell of sleepiness. I'd rather have staff take a power nap rather than pretend to be awake at the desk.
We have a Mirai-chan dakimakura to help you doze off quicker too.
If you have enjoyed Japanese Pop Culture then you would have probably watched a load of anime, played a load of games, read a load of manga or bought a load of figures or dolls - well now you get to work with the folks who make all this stuff because they are our clients or partners.
Mirai is one of my biggest motivations - I want to see her do well and if you do too then you can be a part of contributing to the success of her career.
If none of the positions tickle your fancy then still keep em peeled as I'll be posting more positions as we go along.
I'm interested in seasoned RubyOnRails and Android developers but they are of a lower priority compared to the listed 4 so I didn't post requirements this time round.
If you think these jobs in Japan may be of interest to your fellow comrades then please share this with them.
Anyway, thats it for now - I look forward to working with you to work hard, play hard, make cool stuff and make history!