Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc.

In Japanese, the word “rakuten” means optimism. This outlook is the cornerstone of our brand. For everyone in the Rakuten group, optimism holds a special meaning. It’s a shared understanding that through our work today, we can make the future better ⁠— not just for us, but for everyone.

“Everyone” means all people, not limited to company employees, customers or shareholders. As Rakuten expands and achieves success in new industries and new markets, it’s critical that we communicate this commitment and behave accordingly: We must continue to strive every day to empower society as whole.

This is why we introduced a new corporate motto at the Rakuten Optimism events this year in Yokohama and San Francisco: Walk together.

“Walk Together” expresses our dedication to building a better future, empowering individuals, businesses and societies to realize their dreams. It means making progress today for a better tomorrow.

So how does that look in practice?

  • Walk together means partnering with diverse stakeholders who share our values. It means that together we are stronger than when we walk alone.
  • Walk together means connecting people across the globe. It is rooted in a deep understanding of lives and ambitions. 
  • Walk together means delighting our users and customers with innovative services that anticipate their every need. It means redefining omotenashi, the Japanese concept of devoted customer service, for the digital age. 

Our focus on empowerment is stronger than ever

In the early days of Rakuten, internet shopping was in its infancy. Indeed, it was not clear that we were going to be successful at all. There had been several big technology companies such as IBM that had tried and failed to launch successful internet malls. And there we were ⁠— young internet radicals, trying to do something the world thought impossible.

More than twenty years later, we can hardly imagine a world without the internet. It is a constant in our lives and it supports all manner of commerce. The future we asked shoppers and partners to believe in has arrived.

Of course, this does not mean that we have reached the finish line; in fact, quite the contrary. In times of accelerating change and technological revolution, our focus on empowering people to realize their dreams must be stronger than ever.

The days ahead will bring change and new challenges. Walking together with diverse stakeholders across the globe will be key to our future.