This series explores topics surrounding women who began their careers in Japan following the implementation of equal opportunities employment legislation in the mid-1980s. With many now reaching the age of retirement, it is hoped their stories can provide insight and lessons for women in Japan’s professional world today.

“After leaving home, you can flourish (and die) anywhere” is an aphorism extracted from a Chinese poem written by the monk Gessho at the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868). In other words, while you may not have been dealt the most favorable hand, you can still enjoy life. The uplifting spirit of this is seen far and wide.

And it runs through the career of Keiko Tanaka. In many ways, things happened to her by chance — her initial assignment to public relations at Nissan, serving the famously hardworking then-celebrity Chief Operating Officer Carlos Ghosn, leading PR at Nissan subsidiary Jatco and ultimately being dispatched across the world to be Japan's ambassador to Uruguay.