Rakuten Launches “Cleaning and Tidying Up with KonMari,®” an In-house Program Supporting the Creation of a Well-organized Work Environment for Employees

On March 29, 2021, Rakuten launched “Cleaning and Tidying Up with KonMari,®” an in-house program that combines the KonMari Method,™ a unique tidying approach advocated by Marie Kondo, the globally celebrated tidying expert from Japan, with Rakuten’s practice of employees cleaning their own workspace, something we’ve continued doing since the Company’s founding.

The program aims to improve well-being and productivity in the office and at home by adjusting psychological and physical “breathing space” in terms of Place within the Collective Well-being framework advocated by the People & Culture Lab.

Over a nine-week period starting on March 29, three minutes have been dedicated to the new program during the weekly Monday Asakai (morning meetings, currently conducted online), which are attended by all Rakuten employees. The benefits of tidying up on one’s life by practicing the KonMari Method™ were promoted through a lecture delivered by a certified KonMari Consultant. Afterward, the program continued with once-monthly video lessons with plans to prepare an additional, special program aimed at employees who wish to deepen their learning and practice.

At the Asakai on the initial day of the program, Marie Kondo made an approximately 30-minute online appearance, during which she said, “When tidying up, the first thing I’d like for you to do is ask yourself: ‘What kind of workplace and what kind of working style is ideal for me?’ Then: ‘Through that [workplace and working style], how do I want to change myself?’” She continued, “By looking at each item you own and asking yourself, ‘Does this spark joy in my work and work style? Does it positively influence my work or does it get in the way?’ you will be able to decide what items to keep as well as where they belong.” Speaking directly to employees, she said, “I hope you will enjoy the process of reducing the noise in your heads and hearts, and the change you will experience through tidying up.” Mr. Takumi Kawahara, co-founder and CEO of KonMari Media, Inc. also shared his expectations, saying, “I hope that this program will contribute to the continued sharing of Rakuten’s corporate culture among employees, even in remote environments, and further enhance Rakuten’s ability to make decisions and follow through on them.”

In addition, Mr. Mikitani said, “Rakuten has a unique corporate culture, realized through the power of each and every employee’s strong sense of responsibility and teamwork. And in order to share and maintain this corporate culture, the awareness and practices that embody it are of the utmost importance. Even if you may currently be working virtually (online), we believe that, in order to maintain the quality of our services, it is important that the working environment behind them remain organized. We hope that this process will enable you to work positively in a well-organized environment.”

Since its founding, Rakuten has maintained the custom of employees cleaning their offices every Monday, a practice based on a corporate culture of valuing moments of self-reflection and returning to basics in an age of non-stop information. On the other hand, as many of our employees have been working from home since last year to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the issue we needed to address was how to maintain connections among employees and the corporate culture of cleaning that we have traditionally practiced in the office. This is why we decided to launch this program in cooperation with Marie Kondo, who also serves as Rakuten Joy Ambassador,* and KonMari Media, which handles the related content business in the United States.

Ahead of the company-wide rollout, trial programs were carried out in October last year for approximately 260 employees of Rakuten USA, Inc., Rakuten’s U.S. branch, and in April last year for approximately 120 employees of the Japan headquarters. The trials yielded not only many physical benefits but also psychological benefits, with participants offering such feedback as, “I spend less time looking for things, which has sped up my work” and “I have become better at drawing a line between what is and isn’t important in my work.”

Rakuten will continue considering and implementing various measures to maintain and improve the well-being of our employees amid this new lifestyle (the new normal) so that all employees can work together toward our corporate mission of “creating a society in which people around the world can realize their hopes and dreams.”

* The role of Joy Ambassador is to supervise and promote the cleaning habits that have been practiced at Rakuten since its founding.

■ Rakuten and Marie Kondo
Rakuten, sharing a strong affinity for KonMari Media’s pursuit of the essence of “reconsidering one’s inner self through tidying up,” entered into a partnership with the company in August 2019, one facet of which is reflected in this initiative. Please refer to the previous announcement below for more information.

Rakuten Partners With Marie Kondo, Bestselling Author and Creator of the KonMari Method™

New website (Japanese only): KonMari TOKIMEKI LIFE—Sparking joy through tidying up

Rakuten LIFULL STAY opens Rakuten STAY VILLA Fuji Yamanakako, a lodging facility where guests can experience a variety of Rakuten Group services (in Japanese only)

(KonMari Media Japan Inc., under the supervision of Marie Kondo, participated in the production of one of the facility’s buildings.)

■ About Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, star of the hit Netflix show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and founder of KonMari Media Inc.

Enchanted with organizing since her childhood, Marie began her tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo. Today, Marie is a renowned tidying expert helping people around the world to transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration.

In her #1 New York Times bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie took tidying to a whole new level, teaching that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.

Marie has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, Vogue, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and The Ellen Show, as well as on more than fifty major Japanese television and radio programs. She has also been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
(Click here for the official homepage)

■ About the KonMari Method™
The KonMari Method™ is a tidying approach advocated by Marie Kondo. Representing a new tidying-up process that incorporates an emotional aspect, the KonMari Method™ has gained attention not only in Japan but also around the world. One of the characteristics of this method is that, during the process of tidying up, things are not “thrown away,” but rather “selected and kept,” not based on necessity or functionality but on our own emotions, on what sparks joy. Embraced and supported by people around the world, this tidying-up method enables those who practice it to achieve changes in their work, their personal relationships, and their lives in general.