#Asia #Japan 78: How This Startup is Getting Japanese Moms Back to Work – Waris


Miwa Tanaka, CEO of Waris, is working to make things better for working women in Japan.

Although things are slowly changing, most Japanese women still must leave the workforce when they have children. The Waris platform helps them get back on track, either as a freelancer or by restarting their career.

We talk about her startup, of course, but we also talk about the difficulties women still face, the kinds of roles they are traditionally placed into, and the traditional employment structures and roles are changing. It’s a optimistic interview and Miwa explains why she believes that corporate Japan truly wants to change things for the better.

It’s a fascinating discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes for Startups

Why Japanese women leave the workforce when they have children
The problem Japanese women face during negotiations
How the Tohuku Earthquake changed Miwa’s life path
Why the Japanese government changed its opinion on freelancers
What “diversity training” actually means in Japan and why it’s important
The importance of startups selling to each other and bootstrapping  the ecosyste
Why Japanese women are attracted to entrepreneurship and  freelancing

Links from the Founder

Everything you ever wanted to know about Waris
Friend Waris on Facebook
Follow Waris on Twitter @info_Waris
The Waris community blog Cue for working women in Japan.
Friend Miwa on Facebook

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Transcript from Japan
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, — straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I am Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Miwa Tanaka, the CEO of Waris is working hard to make things better for women in Japan. The changing roles of Japanese Women in both start-ups and large enterprises is something we talked about quite a bit on disrupting Japan and Miwa has a unique perspective on this subject.

Waris is a platform that is helping Japanese women who’ve quit their jobs to have children, rejoined the work force. Now, of course, we talk about the social and business conventions that results in Japanese women having to quit their jobs to have children in the first place. But often the best solutions to these kind of social problems are small steady improvements, and that’s what Miwa is trying to do. In fact, hearing Miwa explained what Waris is shows us some microcosm of women in Japanese business, — the difficulties women face, the kind of roles they’ve traditionally been placed into and also how those roles and the traditional employment structure are changing but more important, perhaps, how Japanese women themselves are choosing to adapt, to work around, occasionally, walk away from those restrictions.

And as Miwa explains, another sign that things are getting better here in Japan is that Waris has a steady stream of corporate customers who are asking for diversity training. I think that this is a sign, much like it was with previous guest who discussed the demand for open innovation and LGBT sensitivity training that corporate Japan wants to change.

I think much of corporate Japan and the government as well, are sincere on their efforts to make things better. But as Miwa explains, sometimes those changes can painfully slowly, but Miwa tells that story much better than I can. So, let’s hear from our sponsors and get right to the interview.


Tim:                     So, I’m sitting here with Miwa Tanaka, the co-founder and the CEO of Waris. So, thanks for sitting down with us.

Miwa:                  Thank you so much for inviting me.

Tim:                     Now, Waris is an online job matching service to help women continue their career after they’ve had children. I’m sure you can explain it much better than I  can. So, why don’t you tell us about what Waris does?

Miwa:                  Okay. Thank you. Waris is a job matching company for women who have professional skill sets and w…

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