I'm ZHAO HUINI
The Monogatari Corporation
Shanghai University of Foreign Studies
I'm ZHAO HUINI
The Monogatari Corporation
Shanghai University of Foreign Studies
About ZHAO HUINI
Hello, I’m Zhao Huini from the Monogatari Corporation!
I was born and raised in Shanghai, China. Because I lived in Shanghai for 22 years, I didn’t know much about what the world outside was like. I wanted to test myself on a more global stage, so I came to Japan and joined the Monogatari Corporation.
What did you do during college?
Give your all in everything you do
During my university years, my goal was to work hard at many things, so I put a lot of effort into all of my studies, extracurricular activities, club activities, part-time jobs, and internships. In particular, I did internships in a variety of industries. I did many internships while I was in university in Shanghai, and while some of them were for the purpose of learning about the company like internships in Japan, internships in China are more for the purpose of working as an employee in the company. I worked for a major Japanese company and in an audit corporation in the BIG 4 of the industry. What I learned from working at the BIG 4 was that working at such a place requires expertise, but conversely, it is replaceable with many other people. Expertise can be acquired by anyone who studies for it, and I realized this when I worked in the BIG 4. When I thought about what I was lacking, I began to think that I wanted to improve my sense of humanity.
The Internship at Monogatari Corporation
When I was in my third year at university, I participated in an internship program with Monogatari Corporation, which invited me to Japan for a month to work in their offices and serve customers in their stores. Also, I received travel fees and traveled around Japan for around 2 weeks. When I was in college, I majored in Japan so I knew about Japanese culture, history, and the Japanese language. However, the Monogatari Corporation was different from the “Japanese companies” that I had studied. It was a unique company where the hierarchy was not strict and most people did not wear suits. Also, all the employees were excited to work, so I had a very enjoyable month.
What I should have done when I was in university
I wish I had more fun. By working you can earn money, but when you start working then your main job becomes earning so you can work as much as you want. Therefore, I think it is better to have lots of fun and gain a variety of experiences while you are a student. If I were a student, I would have wanted to travel around the world.
What career advice would you recommend for job hunters?
Be the first penguin, don’t flock together
The first thing I want to say is to “be the first penguin, don’t flock together.” When deciding which company you want to work for, I want you not to decide based on whether or not there are foreign employees. Don’t choose a company based on how there are foreign employees who are similar to you, and choose the easy belief that you will be able to work like them someday. The reason for this is that people of different nationalities have differing abilities, personalities, and values and it is up to the individual whether or not they can be successful. So I hope you will choose a company not based on the criteria of the company hiring many foreign employees, but rather choose a company that you want to work for. In other words, I would like you to proceed with your job hunting with the feeling that you will be the first foreign student to join the company, as the first penguin. Therefore, I think it will be important to pave the way for yourself.
What are the beneficial skills needed for working in Japan?
English and Comprehensive Skills in Japanese
If you work in Japan, I think English and comprehensive skills in the Japanese language are going to be important. English is useful in Japanese business because there are many katakana and English words used in Japanese. When I say comprehensive skills in Japanese, I mean the ability to understand and think logically about words and contexts. This applies not only to the Japanese language but also to your native language. But especially in Japan, this is very important because, in Japanese, the true meaning is often hidden between the lines – the true feelings. This is an example that I often use, where an area manager calls a store and asks if the manager is busy. The real meaning there will be that the area manager wants to speak to the manager. The real meaning is “I want you to give the phone to the manager,” but if you don’t know what the real meaning is and proceed with the conversation normally, it will seem troublesome and give an impression that you don’t have much to say. It shows that it is important to have language skills such as in the situation where the area manager calls the store. You must be able to guess the intention of the call which is to speak with the store manager through the language.
What does a Monogatari Academy Do?
The exciting Monogatari Corporation
I went through the internship, then started working at the Monogatari Corporation. This is because I did internships at various companies during my job-hunting and felt that the employees of Monogatari Corporation were excited to work there more than at any other company. I did an internship at a company with a valued name, and I thought everyone was good people but they didn’t seem to enjoy working there as much as the employees at Monogatari Corporation. When I thought about my future, I decided to join Monogatari Corporation because I wanted to have fun working. In fact, the reason why I am able to work with excitement is that at Monogatari Corporation, I am not ordered by my superiors, but I am able to determine my own objectives and think about how to achieve them and implement them on my own.
My current job
Currently, I am working in the education department called Monogatari Academy where we are developing human resources. I mainly provide training to international employees (foreign nationals) in the company. For example, we are now offering new employees online training twice a month. At first glance, it may look like a Japanese language training program, but it also plays a role in instilling the Monogatari Corporation’s management philosophy, “Smile & Sexy.” It also teaches examples of the real meanings of Japanese as mentioned earlier, as well as phrases unique to the Japanese language. Through this training, we are trying to get them to understand the true meaning of the Japanese language and to become people who can demonstrate leadership with a firm understanding of our management philosophy.
Work Environment The Monogatari Corporation
“Smile & Sexy” – The importance of management philosophy
In our human resource development, we are thinking of making our management philosophy widely known in the company. In order to do that, we are making various efforts in the training. In addition, even when the training is about compliance which is not really related to the management philosophy, we try to connect it to the management philosophy at the end. This is because the company’s principles of behavior are based on its management philosophy. At Monogatari Corporation, all employees are given a “recipe” which is a booklet that describes the management philosophy and action guidelines. When you work for the company, you are supposed to follow the recipe. Therefore, I try to teach them in the training that even if they face problems that are not in the manual, they should just follow the recipe and solve the problem. We believe that by doing so, all employees will work based on our management philosophy.
Monogatari Corporation paving the way into the Global Market
Now that I have been working in Japan for six years, I feel that my own identity as a Chinese is fading. At Monogatari Corporation, we value diversity. Therefore, I believe I must value my Chinese identity and values in order to maintain that diversity. I believe that in the future, Monogatari Corporation will focus on overseas expansion. When we expand our business overseas, people of various nationalities will join our Monogatari family. Naturally, there will be people joining the company who have no knowledge of Japan or the Japanese language, so I try to teach the people at the current Monogatari Corporation that “these are the norms in the world” by daring to say things in a way they are not comfortable hearing. Of course, we can phrase things in various ways, but I believe that by deliberately communicating things clearly, we are giving Monogatari Corporation employees a “preventive injection” to help them think in a global standard.
Vision for the future
I am thinking of working in various places to realize more of what I want to do in the future. I think that once the current project is over, I will be able to take more initiative therefore, I would like to contribute by taking more initiative at Monogatari Corporation.
Recommended Job-hunting Resource
There is a video of ‘How to Choose a Company’ seminar conducted by a representative of the Monogatari Corporation. Even if you are not thinking about working at the company, I think this video is very informative, so please take a look at it.