From the boardroom to the ball pool, Rakuten celebrates Family Day

Rakuten’s extended family came together on a weekend late last month to celebrate Rakuten Family Day. Hosted at Rakuten Crimson House in Tokyo and in regional offices around the country, the event drew roughly 3,000 Rakuten employees, family and friends – all eager to experience a day in the office with their loved ones.

Special programs were on offer for the day, with health checks in the Rakuten gym, a special family-day menu in the Rakuten cafeteria, and a CEO-desk experience, where guests could pose for pictures in Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani’s workspace.

For employees with small children, there were plenty of fun activities to keep the little ones engaged. Attractions included a kids’ space with ball pool and play mat, a make-your-own-business-card station, and an office-wide sticker scavenger hunt. However, the most popular activity for Family Day’s young visitors was undoubtedly the whiteboard walls found throughout the office, which were all available for a creative graffiti feast.

But the event was not only about families. Many employees were proud enough of their workplace to invite their friends, and they could be seen enjoying some of the other entertainment on offer, such as talk shows on Rakuten’s history and mindfulness learning sessions. Company co-founders Akio Sugihara and Masatada “Seichu” Kobayashi were on hand to shed light on Rakuten’s origins, while Rakuten’s Mindfulness Network organized sessions for guests that included mindful listening activities and meditation.

“Rakuten Family Day is one of the most popular events that employees look forward to,” Sugihara, who is now Managing Executive Officer, explained to Rakuten.Today. “It is very important to provide employees the opportunity to show their families where we work, what we do, and what Rakuten is. By inviting the most important people in our lives to the office, everybody can feel proud to be part of the Rakuten family.”

Sugihara’s sentiment was shared by many of the staff participating in the event. Moto, from Rakuten’s Legal Department, took time out from eating lunch with his family to tell Rakuten.Today, “My family is very glad to see the inside of Rakuten Crimson House, where I work. My wife was impressed by the cafeteria and my son loves his new Rakuten panda sticker.”

Jomo, also from the Legal Department, was equally excited about the opportunity to show his family where he works. “We all take for granted how amazing the office is – until we get the chance to write all over the whiteboard walls with our family! It’s fun and a bit unusual, isn’t it?” he said, to nods of agreement from his daughter.

Chihiro, from Rakuten Card, brought her parents, grandparents and younger sister to the event. “At first I was a little ashamed of showing my entire family where I work, but everyone commented on how big and bright the office was and how much fun they had, so I’m thrilled!”

For others the fun was not just in showing off the office to their families, but in showing their families to the office.

“It’s great to be here with family to show off our wonderful work environment. Better yet, it’s great to get to show off the family to coworkers,” said Alex from the Software Service Enablement Department.

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