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Date of publication: Apr 6, 2020

Charles Yoshimura

COO & Sales Manager
crobo Co., Ltd.
https://crobo.co.jp

Date of birth: March 21, 1994

Hometown: New York City

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of April 2020)

Charles Yoshimura
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My first real encounter with Japan was when I decided to begin studying the language at 14 in New York City. Though I am Japanese-American, no one in my family speaks Japanese and many have never even visited the country. I realized then that if I didn’t study my grandparents’ language and culture then and there, I would risk losing access to my heritage.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

To live without fear or regret. Life is short and if you let yourself get bogged down in fear over whether or not you are making the right choice, you are liable to never making any choice at all. Take precautions, of course, but don't let them keep you from acting at all.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Though my career is still short, my greatest achievement to date was turning a three-person, two-nationality team into an eight-person, seven-nationality team that, despite differences in language, culture and philosophy, were able to increase sales eightfold in a single year.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My goal in Japan is to be unfailingly true to myself and my experience. To show Japan that whether you are a foreigner or Japanese, you can make a life here and you can be yourself. To show the rest of the world that Japan is not the monolith the West perceives it to be.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

You need to be able to meet people in the middle. We all know the foreigner who comes to Japan and is unwilling — or outright refuses — to make concessions for Japanese norms. No one wants to be the obnoxious foreigner who belittles the Japanese way of life while making the active decision to stay here; it only makes the hill the rest of us have to climb a little bit steeper. Likewise, you shouldn't feel forced to give up who you are. With Japanese demographic problems in mind, Japan will become increasingly diverse in the coming decades. However, no society should require the total sublimation of the self in order to be part of society. Although we foreigners have an obligation to make concessions as we live in Japan, we should not allow it to destroy our personal identities.

Last updated: Apr 6, 2020