Media Partner the newyork times

Smiles Co., Ltd.

Representative Director and President

Masamichi Toyama

Smiles Co., Ltd. Masamichi Toyama
Smiles came into existence because of women


Our organic soup restaurant, Soup Stock Tokyo, has 68 branches across Japan, and most of those who patronize our restaurants are women. Because of our restaurant's popularity among women, our force consisted mostly of female staff, which accounts for almost 60%. In other words, I can say that our company must be female-oriented. At work, changing the working style depending on gender did not cross my mind; however, life events that are unique to women like giving birth, is a reality. To fully demonstrate motivation in circumstances like that, I would like to present to the world our women are actively taking part in the company, which is very typical of Smiles.

Year of Birth
1962
Birthplace
Tokyo
Name
Smiles Co., Ltd.
Headquarters
Tokyo
Founded
2000
Type of business
Sales, Restaurant management
url
http://www.smiles.co.jp/
Our company has continued growing together with women. It did not have a macho environment since its establishment, and so the structure wherein femininity was easily accepted has deeply rooted in our company. That is why things just flowed naturally when Esawa was appointed as a director. Rather than becoming a major change, it further encouraged women to actively take part in the company. However, depending on the department, there are still areas in the company that are dominated by men such as merchandising. Since that department tends to have a male-oriented perspective, we would expect that such an environment will be mitigated and that more perspective from women will be taken in the future through appointing women leaders like Esawa in the management.
I believe that Esawa's appointment from a part-time employee to a director is something typical of Smiles and Soup Stock Tokyo. When I say "typical", it is about the climate that enables our employees to express their individuality regardless of gender and to be able to freely give their opinions irrespective of age and position. For that reason, I always tell my employees on a daily basis to regard their work as their own. For example, tasks done upon receiving instructions from their senior or boss is work, but the work itself must be done through your own ideas and must be done in such a way that it is created on your own. That way, you will have more fun at work, and you will always feel rewarded. It is because we delight in seeing our employees working freely and spontaneously more than anything else. Esawa and all of our other employees are practicing the concept of doing their work as their own.

And as a representative of this organization, I also hold in regard the spontaneous opinions of each of our employees, and I want to hear more and more of it. In terms of holding the opinions and decisions of our employees in high regard, I believe that one of the features of our company is the promotion of a mechanism that allows us to have free time in the form of shorter work hours. Because of that, we do not impose restrictions on women's special needs, which includes childcare and maternity leaves. I believe that everyone should have the freedom to choose their working style regardless of gender. In fact, one of our male employees works in reduced hours to pursue his long-time dream of becoming a game artist. It is a good example of how our employees can try new things while working.

It is normal to take leaves or to have reduced work hours for childcare and childbirth; however, each person has a different lifestyle, so it would be great if they could enjoy freedom at work according to it. For that matter, there is no need to differentiate men and women. The rest shall depend on what they want. We are not in the position to decide the kind of life that our employees want through giving them options. I believe that such a high degree of freedom at work is essential for women to be more active in society in the future.
Smiles Co., Ltd. Masamichi Toyama
Smiles Co., Ltd. Masamichi Toyama

*Information accurate as of time of publication.

Smiles Co., Ltd.

Representative Director and President
Masamichi Toyama