“People think we’re a couple but we’re actually business partners. She’s from Vietnam, I’m from Thailand, and we met in university while I was a student and she was working in the admissions office of our campus. At first I was just helping out, making promotional videos for the university when it suddenly hit us–why not do this professionally? So we combined our skills. Together, with my creativity and her business-savvy side, we formed a small digital marketing and production company in this little town called Beppu City. She’s the brains behind the business. I direct and produce promotional video content for Japanese companies that want to market overseas.”

“After graduating from a Japanese university, I went back home to Vietnam with my husband, who’s Japanese. I worked there for a bit but decided to move back to Japan after giving birth to our first child. While working for my alma mater, making PR material for the university, I met this talented student and YouTuber from Thailand, who I never thought I’d team up with, especially since my first impression of him was that he’s always late. But he impressed me with the quality of his videos and he was always helping us produce content. So I returned the favor and started giving him business advice since he wanted to do this professionally. Then we thought, why not launch our own venture! We finally did last year. It’s funny because he’s so young and sometimes Japanese clients don’t believe he’s the president. They would ask to meet the guy whose signature is on our company papers, and I would tell them, you’re looking at him. Although I guess it’s because he sometimes shows up in jeans and T-shirt. They’re always inviting him to speak at events even though I’m the one handling corporate communications and I speak fluent Japanese. I think because they see so much potential and energy in him and that’s what we’re trying to do to Japan’s countryside–giving it some life.”

Bill and Phuong hail from Thailand and Vietnam, respectively. They specialize in commercials, promotional videos and photos, as well as creative content for social media and web marketing for Japanese companies who wish to target overseas markets.

Working mother

“In Japan, the work environment is not very welcoming to working moms. I really want to create an environment that’s more flexible for women. I grew up in Vietnam, where as a kid, I could go to my mom’s office anytime, especially during summer. Of course we couldn’t distract people while they were working, but we were always welcome there if for some reason we couldn’t go to school that day. I’ve never seen that in Japan. You’d have to get someone else to take care of your child at home or somewhere else, but not bring them to the office. Yet they expect you to carry out both responsibilities at home and at work equally, as a mother and employee. That’s why I started my own business, to help change that mindset by setting an example. Because I see so much inequality here in Japan between men and women at the workplace. I also see so much inequality between permanent staff or regular employees and contract workers. Contract workers have very limited chance to become permanent. Plus there’s an age limit restricting them even when they’re really good.”





【翻訳:Junko Kato Asaumi】

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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