I'm Ito Nami
New Graduate Recruitment Group
Japanese / English
I'm Ito Nami
New Graduate Recruitment Group
Japanese / English
About Ito Nami
Hello! My name is Nami Ito from Rakuten, Inc.
I was born in Japan, and raised in Germany and Sweden from age two to 11 years old. I lived in Kyoto, Japan from junior high school all the way to university. I went to Doshisha University and spent one year as an exchange student at Indiana University in the United States. After graduating from college, I joined Rakuten as a new graduate and have been with the company for eight years now.
What did you do during college?
In college, I focused on cheerleading. The cheerleading team was not made up of college students, but rather was affiliated with professional American football teams, and its members were working individuals. I participated for four years. I also auditioned for National Football League (NFL) cheerleading positions. I was actively participating in extracurricular activities as a cheerleader for teams such as the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.
Don’t be afraid to fail, and try to challenge yourself with everything
Every day was full of exciting and busy experiences, but I was always willing to take on challenges and was never afraid to fail. Studying abroad alone is a lot of work, and in order to do well in your studies you would have to study in the university library all the time. In my case, I also challenged myself with cheerleading to the point that the university’s study abroad center representative said, “You don’t have to do that much…” However, cheerleading was something I passionately wanted to do, so I decided to give it a shot. When I thought about what my first step was, I knew that I had to get good grades. There was no point in cheerleading if I neglected my studies, so I always aimed to get top grades in college. I also felt that in order to gain support for my cheerleading, I needed to gain recognition, which is why I entered my university’s “Mister and Miss” beauty pageant, and ended up winning the Miss Asia competition. Looking back on these experiences, I learned the importance of taking the first step and challenging myself in everything.
Learning about business
I had to save up money to study abroad, so I worked part-time at a restaurant and at an apparel store. Particularly in the apparel store, I learned the basics of business and having a business-oriented mind by setting monthly sales goals, writing daily reports, learning how to maximize sales per customer and managing the inventory while I was still in university. I think the experience that I gained through my part-time job was very important.
Things I should have done as a college student
I tried a lot of things, so I can’t think of much that I wish I’d done. However, from my current job working in the HR department where I conduct internships, I realized I wish I’d taken part in internships. Internship experiences can help you learn more about a company while expanding your network. I would encourage everyone to participate in an internship.
What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?
Pave your own path
At Rakuten, I was posted abroad for a year and a half in New York and two years in San Francisco. I realized that a common shared trait among people who are active on a global scale is that they create their own path. From my own study abroad experience, I knew that being proactive is very important – nothing starts by waiting. If you want to be active in a global field, try to communicate and make connections proactively. The goal of job-hunting is not just to join a company, but more to become an active member of society. When job hunting, the knowledge, mindset and connections you gain will lead to your growth, so enjoy your job search. Additionally, job-hunting is not a competition. I hope you will value the connections you’ve made and the information you’ve exchanged with your fellow students so that you will be able to put your best foot forward with your job search while staying true to yourself.
What are the beneficial skills needed for working in Japan?
Create an environment where you can work comfortably
I think different people have different skills, but what I always try to do is to create an environment in which they feel comfortable working. I think people with a global background are comparatively more flexible and understanding and are often able to respond better to other cultures. Many of these candidates also have good language and communication skills, so take advantage of the strengths you’ve developed as a result of your global background.
What does a New Graduate Recruitment Group Do?
Experience in various departments
I joined Rakuten in April 2013, and was assigned to Rakuten Travel in August of that same year. I worked in the domestic sales department for hotels and tourist destinations in Tochigi and Gunma. Afterwards, I was transferred to the international business department where I was in charge of hotels in Boston and New York. I returned to Japan for a little while in 2018 where I worked in the events team and was responsible for a large scale Rakuten Travel event for around 2,000-3,000 participants. Later in 2018, I was posted to San Francisco where I worked in marketing for the Sports & Entertainment team. I joined the Human Resources Department in August of this year and currently work as a recruiter for Rakuten’s new graduate recruitment team. I’m responsible for a variety of tasks including coordinating with student representatives, and planning, organizing and executing internship events for graduate recruitment activities. Recently, I have been hosting induction ceremonies and informal job offer ceremonies. I would like to support students who are just starting their careers with Rakuten to realize their dreams and goals.
Dual career with cheerleading
I actually worked as a dancer for the NFL’s New York Jets and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors while maintaining my position at Rakuten. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I would focus on my Rakuten duties, then from 7 p.m. to 9 p,m. I had cheerleading practice and matches. Despite my busy schedule, my passion for cheerleading allowed me to have a dual career working at Rakuten even while working as an NFL cheerleader and NBA dancer.
Always Improve, Always Advance.
This is part of the Rakuten mindset, and it really is important for us to have a sense of purpose and take appropriate action when we’re working. In particular, one element of Rakuten’s corporate philosophy which is essential to success is “Always Improve, Always Advance.” Every day at work, I feel the sense of enjoyment that comes from constant change and improvement.
Work Environment Rakuten
Currently, I am working remotely from home in accordance with company guidelines. We have online events planned by Rakuten, such as a Halloween event on ZOOM and weekly team lunches, so we still have fun even though everything is online.
The excitement of working in the IT industry
The IT industry is fast-paced, with new services and products being released one after another. Having the flexibility needed to adapt is a constant challenge. From month to month, it’s common for the business to be moving in completely different directions. Those aspects can be quite tough, but IT is thrilling for me because the possibilities are endless.
The dots connect and become lines
I am in my fifth office, on my fourth job title. I’ve gained many experiences, which I think have helped me to see the business and aspects of my career from multiple perspectives. Especially lately, I’m starting to feel like the dots are connecting into a line. Since I know people in almost every department, I’m able to see the bigger picture of the business, expanding my network by talking and listening to various people. I am inspired every day by the opportunity to work with such fascinating employees.
Now in my eighth year at this company, I’ve come to realize the importance of connections more than ever. Nevertheless, Rakuten has more than 70 services, and since there are still things that I don’t know about other departments, I want to continue to increase my horizontal connections. In the future, I would like to launch a new business within Rakuten. At Rakuten, there is a department that plans new businesses and creates opportunities for employees to present new business ideas. I think this makes it relatively easy to create new businesses here. Currently, I’ve got a few ideas simmering and would like to take on that challenge in the future.
Recommended Job-hunting Resource
Rakuten Minshu / LinkedIn / Tokyo Career Forum