My Rakuten Experience: Pi

Pi is a Manager at the Rakuten Institute of Technology (R.I.T.)

Work Experience

I came to Japan as an exchange student when I was a graduate student in Germany. After returning to Germany, I obtained a master’s degree in computer science. Later, after working for a research institute at a major Japanese telecommunications company, I earned a doctorate degree in computer science in Basel, Switzerland. I returned to Japan in 2015 after working in research and development at an American IT services company.

I joined Rakuten in 2016. Since then, I have led research in various fields, including artificial intelligence, networks, mobile communications, large-scale distributed processing systems and cryptography at the Rakuten Institute of Technology (R.I.T.).

Why Rakuten?

I am working at Rakuten to fulfill my dream of working in Japan.

I lived in Kyoto for a year as an exchange student when I was in graduate school. In 2015, I came to Japan and fulfilled my wish, and the following year, I joined Rakuten. Currently, I work at Rakuten Institute of Technology (R.I.T.), where I research distributed computing, machine learning and communication networks.

Current Job

I am currently involved in a broad spectrum of activities, including research on market assessment tools for Rakuten Ichiba, system development to make the Rakuten Communications network more secure, and high-performance computing and robotics. At my previous company, I researched networks and encryption. Still, since I studied machine learning and AI in graduate school, I began to think about things that “can be achieved by adding AI to networks,” which has led me to become involved in various fields.

Many of the team members at RIT have expertise in a specific field and pursue advanced mastery of a single area, but I specialize in applying technology used in one field to solve new problems in a different field. Since IT technology solutions are approached very differently by mathematicians, physicists and information scientists, cross-disciplinary knowledge is essential. We may work together with other specialists, taking advantage of each other’s expertise.

Pi wishes to use AI to conduct research in a wide range of fields at Rakuten Institute of Technology.
Pi wishes to use AI to conduct research in a wide range of fields at Rakuten Institute of Technology.

The appeal of working at Rakuten

Applying research results in a wide range of projects to create new services and products

The best thing about working at Rakuten is that you can be involved in a wide range of projects, including Rakuten Ichiba. As we are developing businesses across various industries, there is no limit to the fields in which we can apply our technologies. For example, I find it very interesting to work here because I can think flexibly, such as, “This idea may not be useful in network-based businesses, but it may apply to banking services.”

The most disappointing thing for researchers is that their ideas and research results are wasted. If you just end up writing a thesis, there will be nothing left in the end. As a researcher, it gives me great pleasure to apply the results of my research to services and products that many people use. Rakuten provides the ideal work environment for researchers.

Throughout my time at R.I.T., I have found that the company offers a very flexible environment for researchers to work on various projects. I am also thrilled to be working with such a great group of people. Rakuten has also moved towards globalization made possible by Englishnization, and we have several researchers from overseas. I work with many talented people from all over the world, including China, Germany, France, Russia and Iran. They have a different way of thinking with diverse fields of expertise, which empowers us to discuss a single topic from different perspectives, which in turn leads to better research.

My Work Values

Overcome the fear of failure and take on new challenges

Unfortunately, failed research projects far outnumber successful ones. When you take on a challenge in a completely new field that no one else has yet conquered, you will naturally make some mistakes, but I believe it is essential to never give up. Whenever I am faced with a difficult situation, I try to remember the old Latin proverb, “Per ardua ad astra” meaning “Through adversity to the stars.” I work every day with the attitude that if I keep moving forward, I will be able to reach a better place even on a difficult path.

In research development, we tend to think conservatively for fear of failure. However, it is vital to take a bold approach when engaging in research activities at R.I.T. I think Rakuten can develop innovative services because they “expand into new fields to create innovation.”

Rakuten offers a very flexible environment for researchers to work on various projects.
Rakuten offers a very flexible environment for researchers to work on various projects.

Career Goals

Undertaking advanced research with colleagues to achieve the best possible results.

I have achieved a lot as a researcher, including the experience I gained at my previous job, but joining Rakuten has made my dream of living in Japan and working at a job I love come true. In the future, I would like to help the people I work with achieve their dreams as well.

It may be because I’m a researcher, but just knowing that “something I created exists in the product, even if no one knows about it” is satisfying enough. I want to share my knowledge and consult with my colleagues at Rakuten so that they, too, can have such opportunities.

My goal is to create a work environment where I can work with my colleagues to undertake the world’s most advanced research and achieve great results. I want to make use of my own experience to ensure that Rakuten remains a fun place to work where researchers can cooperate and where individual can use their imagination to drive new ideas.


Strive for continuous improvement, but don’t lose yourself along the way.

*The affiliation and contents of the article are based on the contents at the time of the interview.

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