Date of publication: May 25, 2020

Amber Chook

Co-Founder & CEO
Zebra Global

Date of birth: March 8, 1995

Hometown: Harbin, China

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 11 (as of May 2020)

Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?
When I was 15, I moved to Mie Prefecture because my mom remarried. Knowing no Japanese, I went to a high school where few students were expected to attend university. Instead of following the standard path, I pushed aside my school responsibilities and independently studied English for 14 hours a day for three years. After eight attempts at a university’s entrance English test, I became the first student to be accepted into a university.
Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.
I have adopted a few of writer Toni Morrison’s words as my motto: “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?
Most recently, my proudest achievement is starting my own company at the age of 24. Zebra Global is a highly selective blockchain public relations and market entry consulting firm specializing in Asian markets. Meanwhile, I run women-in-blockchain events through my community SheShaped. Women account for less than 10 percent in the blockchain industry. I believe these new and innovative technologies are a unique chance for women to find their way to the top.
Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?
I’m passionate about women empowerment and blockchain technology; my current goal is to educate more women to enter the blockchain field. Because the traditional path for wealth such as working hard at a company and opening your own is not typically available to women in Japan, with this new technology, women can forge their own wealth, create a new path to personal wealth and build a thriving career.
Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?
The most practical advice that I have is to invest in your network and believe in yourself. Sometimes, living in Japan as a foreigner can feel terribly lonely, many paths can seem unfitting and the golden opportunities can seem unavailable. But it’s just a feeling, not reality. You have to fight this feeling by proving yourself wrong. So go to events, join online communities, tell everyone what you’re trying to accomplish — you never know who might be willing and able to help. Create your own circle of supporters and mentors. In my personal experience, I have never been through the traditional path of job hunting. I’ve been able to continuously receive amazing opportunities from my network.
As Edmund Lee once said, “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
Last updated: May 25, 2020