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New Year Issue (Jan.)

Career compass Students and career choices

Constructing student's futures. Focusing on what they want to do after entering a company

Motokazu Kitabatake
Shueisha Inc. Personnel Department Personnel Section Chief

Here we ask people in charge of business recruitment about the latest job-searching information, and what they usually keep in mind when involved in recruiting activities. In this issue we interview Mr. Kitabatake of Shueisha Inc.

The essence of work in a publishing company is the pursuit of something appealing

My company publishes magazines such as "Weekly Shonen Jump" and "non・no", as well as books from every category. In regards to magazines, we practice detailed marketing, and because we provide content which is most interesting to each generation, there may be readers who have had a long association with our magazines since childhood.

In recent years, our company has expanded its publishing operations to focus on digital operations such as electronic books, brand operations which deal with goods that feature in our fashion magazines, and rights operations that manage the rights that accompany content. Also, we have started publishing magazines overseas, with the American version of "Shonen Jump" proving extremely popular.

We have diversified the content of our operations in line with changes in society, but I think there is only one essence in the wok of this company. That is creating fascinating content which attracts people. In other words, pursue something interesting, and put it into a specific form. Because this is the nucleus of every operation, content creation is an important factor of this company.

Basically "anything goes" The ability to make plans is important

I would like to continue by talking about what image our company expects students to portray, but honestly speaking, it may be difficult to generalize. That is because, of course it is necessary to have the basic traits of being "cheerful, enthusiastic and polite", but when we demand more than that, there are no stipulated standards. Be it from literature, cartoons or fashion to sciences such as chemistry and physics, what a student is interested in, or what he has studied means nothing at all to us. "Anything goes," as it were. Actually, our company's staff is abundant in diversity with various types of people working here.

But, I think, if there is one thing you should be good at that could come in useful at work, it is the skill to think up new plans. I think it is good if you can inspect your ideas from various angles and brush them up in your head. As I mentioned before, because a publishing company values the creation of interesting things, people who are strong at planning would be able to help out in a variety of situations.

Also, I personally think that emphasis should be placed on the future prospects of the student. The abilities a student possesses at the time of employment is also important, but he will spend more time at the company than his life up until then. I want students to talk about what kind of life they have lived and what they want to do after entering the company. This is because we are dealing with an awareness of "constructing student's futures."

Experiences from your student days won't become useless at all

I have encountered many cases where students think that what they studied in their student days with no real conviction, or things they did as a refresher, will get them through their jobs. A special feature of large publishing companies such as our self, is that every experience becomes an asset. It is important to accumulate experiences in your student days and expand your knowledge. By getting taken on by this company, nothing will go to waste.

Also, from a position of working at a publishing company, what I would like to recommend to students who wish to pursue their careers in this industry is, take a walk down to a bookstore and have a good look around. It is not just a chance to see the ideas of editors and social trends condensed into the array of books and magazines, but an opportunity to know what kind of field you are interested in by being aware of books you are conscious of. I want students who wish to enter the publishing industry, and even those who don't, to try this out before undertaking job-searching activities.

From the Career Center
It's a harsh world if you only like books

On the other side of an annual increase in new publications, the publication industry faces a mountain of difficult issues such as the floundering economy, propagation of electronic books, and copyright issues sparked by the Google Books searchable database. There are many students wishing to become editors for the simple reason of "liking books," but when investigating further, many of them just like reading. They are also ill-informed of movements in the industry and end up only preaching knowledge which they have picked up through listening like, "it is going to be difficult for those without a spirit of venture to find employment."

Masakazu Kitabatake
Shueisha Inc. Personnel Department Personnel Section Chief

Born in Tokyo in 1959. Entered Shueisha Inc. after graduating from the School of Commerce, Waseda University. Was in charge of editing entertainment magazines and took up his current position in May 2010 after spending time as chief editor of "Myojo."

Shueisha Inc.
Established in 1926. 797 employees (as of December 2010.) Publishes magazines aimed at all ages in genre such as comics, fashion, entertainment and literature. Also publishes literary books and pocketsize paperbacks. Is one of Japan's major general publishers.