Rakuten has a proud history of supporting LGBTQ+*1 employees, community members and stakeholders in Japan. A recipient of the work with Pride Gold Level certification for five years running, the company has long been a leader in corporate Japan in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
Recently, Rakuten strengthened this stance further, calling on Japan’s Diet to pass the Bill for the Promotion of Public Awareness Regarding the Diversity of Sexual Orientation and Gender. Rakuten also endorsed the Business Support for LGBT Equality in Japan declaration aimed at enacting an LGBT Equality Act.
This year, in the spirit of International Pride Month, Rakuten has once again planned a full slate of special events and activities to recognize the positive impact LGBTQ+ folks have had on society, celebrate progress and amplify voices from the community. Here are some of the highlights from Rakuten’s busy International Pride Month 2021 in Japan.
Rakuten employees may not be able to physically march in Pride parades this year due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t celebrating International Pride Month in style.
“We definitely demonstrated Rakuten’s ‘One Team’ spirit and will continue communicating the importance of diversity internally and externally.”Kota Hanzawa, Corporate Culture Division at Rakuten Group, Inc.
Earlier this month, Rakuten launched an online parade to demonstrate support for the LGBTQ+ community. The Walk Together with Pride campaign is a creative and colorful way to express solidarity. Participants can visit the special Walk Together with Pride campaign page, choose from several pride-themed design templates, color them in and then share their completed works of art on social media using the hashtag #WalkTogetherWithPride. Ten of the most fabulous and unique creations will be recognized by Rakuten early next month.
Rakuten Crimson House gets a rainbow makeover
Walk into Rakuten’s Crimson House headquarters in Tokyo during the month of June and you’re bound to notice the special pride-themed makeover. In addition to flying the rainbow flag, the Rakuten LGBT+ Network*2 is raising awareness by sharing pamphlets, which educate readers on the promotion of LGBTQ+ equality at Rakuten.
Panel sessions help keep the conversation going
Established in 2017, the Rakuten LGBT+ Network — which strives to provide transparency on LGBTQ+ issues, advise on LGBTQ+ inclusive policy and educate employees — is one of the first of its kind among larger homegrown companies in Japan.
This year, the Rakuten LGBT+ Network collaborated with the Special Event Management team from Rakuten Mobile and members from different departments to organize a panel discussion for employees on the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility, advocating for positive representation and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture. A dedicated session during Asakai, Rakuten’s weekly company-wide Monday morning meeting, has also been arranged to allow employees to learn about Rakuten’s efforts in raising LGBTQ+ awareness.
“I am so happy and proud to be able to work together with everyone involved in this project to coordinate this year’s celebration,” said co-organizer of the event and member of Rakuten’s Corporate Culture Division Kota Hanzawa. “It is really a collective effort through collaboration of corporate functions and business units. We definitely demonstrated Rakuten’s ‘One Team’ spirit and will continue communicating the importance of diversity internally and externally.”
Rakuten’s spirit of LGBTQ+ empowerment also extends to various company services and corporate functions, from sharing a Rakuten Card family credit card with a partner of the same sex to nominating them as a beneficiary for a Rakuten Insurance life insurance policy.
New this year, Rakuten Bank collaborated with Miyoshi Real Estate to offer Rakuten Bank LGBT Home Loans to Miyoshi Real Estate customers, marking a big step forward for equality in the housing market. Notably in 2017, Rakuten Bank became the first bank operating in Japan to offer home loan services to LGBTQ+ couples without requiring official partnership documentation.
In the Rakuten e-commerce and mobile sphere, Pride Month is being celebrated in style. From now until July 1, for sales made on Rakuten’s online flea market service Rakuma, vendors will have the option to send out packages with a limited edition Rakuten Rainbow Tape. This exclusive tape will also be distributed in select Rakuten Mobile flagship stores.
Although many of this year’s Pride Month events are being held online, Rakuten remains dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community and its allies both inside and outside the company. While there is still much progress needed to confront prejudice and create a more equal and inclusive world, the company is keen to lead the charge for positive change — this month and the months and years to follow.
*1 LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation which is not limited to only lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning communities, but is used here more broadly to respectfully represent a diverse spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities.
*2 While “LGBT+” was selected for the Rakuten LGBT+ Network name, it is inclusive of sexual orientations and gender identities.