How's Working in Japan? Mr Fernando's experience at Rakuten

Interested in knowing how is it to work in Japan? We will introduce you to the "Working in Japan" section of Hiragana Times, our content partner. For this first time, we would like to share Mr. Fernando from Rakuten Group's success story, where his Japanese language skills synergize with his business expertise. It will surely give you input for your Japanese language journey!

The Start: Engineering Studies In College Got Him Hooked on IT

Born in Rio, Brazil, Mr. Fernando Paulo moved to the United States in his twenties and spent most of his professional life there before coming to Japan. His engineering studies in college got him hooked on I.T., and he has been in the technology field ever since. While in college, he ran his own company for about three years, then moved on to Yahoo! After an extended study leave for his MBA, he joined GREE, a Japanese company based in San Francisco. He gradually fell in love with Japan and its culture, which led him to move to Tokyo and join Rakuten.

フェルナンド・パウロさんは、ブラジルのリオ出身(しゅっしん)。20代(だい)でアメリカに渡(わた)り、日本(にほん)に来(く)るまでの職業人生(しょくぎょうじんせい)のほとんどをアメリカで過(す)ごしました。大学時代(だいがくじだい)に学(まな)んだエンジニアリングがきっかけでITに夢中(むちゅう)になり、それ以来(いらい)ずっと、テクノロジーの分野(ぶんや)に身(み)を置(お)いています。在学中(ざいがくちゅう)から約(やく)3年間(ねんかん)にわたり自分(じぶん)の会社(かいしゃ)を経営(けいえい)し、その後(ご)、米(べい)Yahoo! に転職(てんしょく)。MBA取得(しゅとく)のための長期研究休暇(ちょうきけんきゅうきゅうか)を経(へ)て、サンフランシスコに拠点(きょてん)を置(お)く日系企業(にっけいきぎょう)、GREE に入社(にゅうしゃ)しました。次第(しだい)に日本(にほん)とその文化(ぶんか)が好(す)きになったパウロさんは、それがきっかけで東京(とうきょう)に移(うつ)り住(す)み、楽天(らくてん)に入社()することになったそうです。

Empowering People and Society Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Rakuten Group is one of the world’s leading IT companies, with more than 25,000 employees and operations in 30 countries and regions. Founded in Tokyo in 1997, with the mission of “empowering people and society through innovation and entrepreneurship,” the company has grown rapidly with expanding the various businesses starting from “Rakuten Ichiba.”. Today, Rakuten provides 70 services such as e-commerce, fintech, digital content, communication, and other services to more than 1.5 billion users worldwide.


"I felt extremely inspired by the history of this company and its entrepreneurial culture, where people think outside the box and try to accomplish big things. Knowing the commitment and mission of Rakuten, I felt that I could maximize my potential as a professional at this company. At Yahoo, I specialized in the globalization of platforms and organizations. I used that experience at Rakuten. Currently, I am the CTO of Rakuten Payment, which provides large-scale cashless payment services such as Rakuten Pay, Rakuten Edy, and Rakuten Point Card. I am also responsible for Rakuten’s global payment processing platform. In addition, I am the general manager of the Sustainability Department, a specialized organization that leads initiatives in environmental and social issues."


Working in Japan Essentials: The Insatiable Thirst For Learning

“What Rakuten seeks is an insatiable thirst for learning. New business models, industries, and technologies. Our business domain is changing so rapidly that I feel like having a new job every year. This is very exciting and keeps my enthusiasm for work fresh. Passion for quality is also something we value highly. We take customer satisfaction very seriously, and this is reflected in the way we think and do business. Finally, knowing how to succeed as a team is an indispensable skill in Rakuten. Learning how to listen to others and include different people’s perspectives are behaviors that strengthen the team and increase our chance of success.”


Tip: Memorizing Kanji by Understanding the Meaning of the Radicals

“I think it's important for people learning Japanese to make an effort to solidify the basics in the first few years. I would recommend learning hiragana as soon as possible and memorizing kanji by understanding the meaning of the radicals. This is because you will recognize kanji as meaningful pictures and remember them more quickly. This is something I learned from my wife, who won a prefectural calligraphy competition. By learning how to appreciate calligraphy, I was able to deepen my understanding of kanji,” says Mr. Paulo. Mr. Paulo has an “insatiable thirst to learn new things,” which embodies the Rakuten spirit.


Mr. Fernando is currently taking personal lessons in the early morning. If his Japanese learning success story has inspired you, let's follow in his footsteps with We!!

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