Diversity is essential for business in Japan to protect talent

I am Chiaki Uematsu, an architect. I work daily on various initiatives centered around diversity. One of the primary issues with diversity in Japan is the gender gap, which is among the lowest in developed countries globally. While many discussions on diversity focus on closing the gender gap, I believe we need to look beyond that. There is evidence from Europe and America that including women in teams enhances business performance, but whether the same approach would work in Japan requires careful consideration.

Personally, participating in an accelerator program for female entrepreneurs has allowed me to witness innovative business ideas born from a female perspective. To properly nurture and develop these ideas, the expertise of experienced entrepreneurs and professionals from creative fields is essential. This is necessary to ensure we do not overlook new talents. It’s also important to identify projects with high potential for success, but these are inherently those perceived as most likely to succeed. There is value in areas that have not been traditionally led by women. I question whether it is right to continue following a male-dominated model.

Japanese diversity should focus more on individual differences than on gender disparities. I believe it is urgent to eliminate the suppression of genius by conformity pressure. In a culture where ‘the nail that sticks out gets hammered down,’ it is crucial to create an environment that nurtures and preserves talent.

Why am I, an architect, writing about this? Because diverse talents among our clients lead to the creation of great architecture. The achievements we architects can accomplish alone are limited since architecture is a treasure of society as a whole. Therefore, to generate a positive cycle, it is essential to promote diversity from a broad perspective.

Chiaki architect and associates

Interior architect