Why we’re partnering with Marie Kondo

A global company like Rakuten has many partnerships — from sports to tech and beyond — but few are more personally resonant to me than the one we recently announced with Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo, also known by her nickname “Konmari,” is an international phenomenon. She successfully grew her “tidying up” business from a startup when she was a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo to the media sensation she is today. Along the way, her message has generated fans around the world as she encourages people to cherish the things that spark joy in their lives. How many people has she inspired? Well, between her bestselling novels and Emmy-nominated Netflix original series, Marie may very well be the most well-known Japanese today. 

Marie’s remarkable popularity isn’t the only reason we were drawn to working with her. Although we are brand new in our corporate partnership with KonMari Media, we have been in sync with her philosophical outlook since the inception of Rakuten.

Mikitani welcomes Marie Kondo to the Rakuten Optimism stage.
Mickey Mikitani welcomes Marie Kondo to the Rakuten Optimism stage in Yokohama, Japan, to announce the new partnership.

Everyone in the Rakuten family cleans his or her workspace, each week. You will find all of us — myself included — one morning a week, tidying up our work areas. We clean up any trash, we declutter our desks, we clean surfaces, we even get down on the floor and polish the chair legs. We take this ritual seriously. It is a key part of our culture.

Why do we do this? It’s not because we don’t have a regular janitorial staff. We tidy our offices once a week as a way to elevate and cherish what we do here — to take pride in where we work.

When I wrote my most recent English book, Business-Do: The Way to Successful Leadership, I decided to add a new Chapter Zero to the original Japanese text so that the book would open with this important company principle – about cleaning and respecting your workspace. This is not about dirt or germs. Cleaning and tidying is a ritual that reminds us to care.

Think about your home for a moment. If you walked into your living room and saw a piece of trash on the floor, would you walk around it? Would you ignore it because it was someone else’s job to pick it up? Of course not. This is your home; you feel a sense of pride about it. It has a place in your heart. So of course you take the time to care for it. This is the mindset we try to inspire with our weekly ritual — to consider our workspaces special and worth our care.

Konmari is committed to helping people transform cluttered homes into places of serenity and inspiration — something we have long sought for our own workspaces. She also inspires us to practice mindfulness, engage in healthy self-reflection and look toward the future with optimism. It is for these reasons that Marie was appointed as Rakuten’s first ever “Joy Ambassador” last month.

With Konmari’s dedication to empowering people around the world and passion for inspiring joy, I could not be happier we’re teaming up with her to further popularize her philosophy and grow her brand. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

Marie Kondo will speak at the upcoming Rakuten Optimism event in San Francisco on October 23. For more information, visit here.

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