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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2014)

Front Runner
―Young People Making a Difference―

This corner introduces students and young alumni who are accomplishing great things by utilizing the perspectives and abilities which they acquired while studying at Waseda University. In this first edition, we speak with Mariko Arakawa, a 4th-year student at School of Culture, Media and Society, and with Mariko Arakawa, an employee at the Human Resources Development Division of Kao Corporation.

Conveying a message through my own experiences and words

Mariko Arakawa
Supervisor of Organizational Development
Human Resources Development Division, Kao Corporation

"I enjoy speaking in front of people and I love Waseda," says Arakawa. "For me, it was a dream come true to act as Campus Tour Guide and explain the appeal of Waseda in my own words to visitors. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than when my own ideas and action bring happiness to others."

Soon after entering Waseda, Arakawa noticed a poster on recruitment for Campus Tour Guides by Public Relations Section. For Arakawa, it was an encounter with destiny. Over a 4-year period, she guided more than 2,000 people on 150 tours, explaining the appeal of Waseda. She also searched for other ways to contribute and began planning tours using her proficiency in sign language. Arakawa repeatedly reviewed her tour route to ensure easy-to-understand guidance for the hearing impaired. With help from her friends in the Sign Language Club, she trained her translation skills. One the day of tours, she had a stenographer accompany her. The sign language tours established by Arakawa received positive feedback from visitors. During her 4th year, she served as a Student Career Advisor at the Career Center, discussing experiences from her own job search with younger students. Arakawa and her friends also planned and held support events such as mock interviews and seminars on writing entry sheets. Throughout her entire university life, Arakawa continued to convey her own experiences in her own words.

On the other hand, Arakawa remained inactive on interaction with non-Japanese students while at university. Currently, she works at the Human Resources Development Division of Kao Corporation. Her duties include planning and conducting employee consciousness surveys for the more than thirty thousand group employees. Her work brings her into contact with employees from throughout the world, and she is now conscious of a diverse background which she didn't deeply recognize before.

"During my work, I concentrate on communication which considers the situation of the other party," explains Arakawa. "I bear in mind regional time differences when making schedules and plan web conferences so that they don't overlap with prayer time. The foreign languages, cultures and customs which I studied as liberal arts education are now a familiar part of my own life. Furthermore, after starting work and having the opportunity to study languages abroad and take overseas business trips, I recognized the importance of understanding the history and culture of one's own country. Looking back, the time spent at university is perfect for actively interacting with people who hold different values and for refining yourself by taking on new challenges. I hope that today's students will accumulate rich experience and follow a path which will maximize their unique strengths through a global perspective.

While serving as a Campus Tour Guide, Arakawa used sign language to convey Waseda's appeal

In this way, Arakawa expresses her wish that students will value time spent under the Waseda school ethos of being free and open-minded. She encourages students to take advantage which fulfills the needs of each student and the community-oriented environment. Arakawa's dream is to contribute to further growth of her company and fellow employees while also growing herself.

"While instructing younger students when serving as a Campus Tour Guide, I felt the desire to make human resources development my life work. Through my work, I learned how understanding others are important for realizing good teamwork which allows each person to display their full abilities. For that purpose, my goal is to become a person with richness of spirit by excelling in my work, by leading a fulfilling family life, and by accumulating mistakes, successes and other life events. By acquiring deep knowledge and expertise, I hope to contribute to the creation of a workplace which brings out the best in diverse employees."

In the future, Arakawa will undoubtedly continue to acquire experience as a human resource professional that shares the joys of others and helps the people around her to shine bright.

Mariko Arakawa
Supervisor of Organizational Development
Human Resources Development Division, Kao Corporation

Mariko Arakawa graduated from the Waseda University School of Law in 2005 and she entered Kao Corporation. She was assigned to human resources through occupational hiring. She served at the Tochigi Office and R&D Division before transferring to headquarters in 2013. As secretariat of employee consciousness surveys which target approximately thirty thousand group employees, her duties include designing surveys, analyzing data and formulating action plans. Also, she is in charge of internal communication measures for creating a workplace which brings out the best in each employee. Her special skill is sign language, which she has studied since primary school.