In a scene in a TV drama that began airing last month, a young female entrepreneur, played by popular actress Mei Nagano, speaks enthusiastically about her dream of turning her education-focused tech startup into a “unicorn firm” — just like Mercari or Uber — during an interview with a media outlet.

The drama, titled “Riding a Unicorn,” features the entrepreneur overcoming a series of challenges to grow her company — and indicates a sea change in attitudes.

A prime time TV drama series on startups might have been unthinkable in the 1990s, when life-time employment at a major company was still considered the best career path for young Japanese. But the TV series reflects the fact that working at startups, which may be riskier and less stable, has become a more viable career option.