Smiling image of Kan, a Japanese gay man striving to become a role model for psychological safety in Japan
©Aleksandar Dragicevic

Pareto Principle

Your time and resources are limited. Efficiency means learning to prioritize. The Pareto principle (also called the 80-20 rule) can help you identify the best way to use your time for maximum results.

Country Analysis Framework

Overseas expansion requires careful planning. The Country Analysis Framework can help you look beyond an industry-level analysis and reframe your view based on performance, strategy, and context. Try this short course to learn how it works.

SECI Model

The SECI model illustrates how knowledge is created and shared. Learn how to put it to use for best practices, and how the Japanese concept of “ba” fits in to broaden your perspective.

Johari Window Model

The Johari Window Model is a self-awareness framework that helps you better understand . . . you. Learn how its four quadrants can help you identify gaps between how you see yourself, and how others see you.

Sunk Costs

Wondering if you should continue an investment or look for something new? Sunk costs can have a powerful psychological impact on decision-making. Learn how to recognize them to ensure rational decisions.

CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.

Groupthink

Groupthink refers to group pressure and the perception of consensus which together lead to ill-formed decisions—or even unnecessary risks. Learn to identify the warning signs of groupthink and apply countermeasures in this online course.

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Solving problems with the best results means using two types of thinking: deductive and inductive reasoning. In this online course, learn to form a broad premise, make observations, and form conclusions from different perspectives.

Critical Thinking: Hypothesis-Driven Thinking

Anyone can come up with a good idea. The real challenge is putting that idea into action. In this online course, explore how to form compelling, testable hypotheses and bring ideas to life in your own organization.

Critical Thinking: Structured Reasoning

Even a few simple techniques for logical decision making and persuasion can vastly improve your skills as a leader. Explore how critical thinking can help you evaluate complex business problems, reduce bias, and devise effective solutions.

Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a central business skill, and yet it's the one many people struggle with most. This course will show you how to apply critical thinking techniques to common business examples, avoid misunderstandings, and get at the root of any problem.

How to Dream

Join globally renowned author and Columbia Business School professor Dr. Sheena Iyengar as she explains how to approach your dreams with a new perspective. Learn to reflect on what you long to accomplish and what stands in your way.

Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is at the heart of confident, persuasive decisions. This course will equip you with a five-point approach to more becoming a more logical thinker. Learn to classify ideas and distinguish fact from opinion.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

“It’s OK not to be OK.” These words, shared with Time Magazine, summarize an important lesson we all learned from tennis pro Naomi Osaka this year. The world watched as Osaka went from ranking No.1 among female players to exposing her mental health vulnerability and raising her voice for Black Lives Matter. Her courage exposing her weakness has made her a powerful and relatable role model.

In a world struggling with psychological safety, role models are more important than ever.

Another iconic figure out of Japan, professionally known as Kan, is also on a journey to become a role model. His mission? To support inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community. And like Osaka, he sees vulnerability as a strength.

Kan’s struggles with the unbending gender roles of Japanese society started early. As a child, the pressure to conform took a psychological toll, such that he was unable to attend school until the middle of junior high. How did he go from a shy, confused boy to an iconic figure featured on Queer Eye: We’re in Japan!?

The answer came in finding psychological safety—and a mission to share his courage with those who are still marginalized.

Image of Kan speaking while wrapped in a rainbow flag
Kan’s mission to become a role model for LGBTQ+ psychological safety began with his own struggles with sexual identity. | Photo credit: Kan

Searching for a Safe Place

Misato Nagakawa: Tell us about your childhood. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Kan: I didn’t really have a dream when I was a kid. I don’t think I had the space in my mind to think about the future.

I actually stopped going to school from kindergarten to the middle of junior high. School was an uncomfortable place for me. At that time, I couldn’t explain why, but looking back, it had to do with my identity as gay—something I didn’t really realize about myself until the end of middle school.

If I had felt more comfortable, if there hadn’t been such pressure to conform to such strict gender roles and heteronormativity, I could’ve focused a lot more on other things that made me happy. But so much of my energy went into just feeling safe.

Nagakawa: What eventually made you want to go back to the school?

Kan: I found joy in studying English and joining club activities. Those things gave school meaning again, though unfortunately it didn’t last forever. I ended up going back to correspondence school for high school—for the same reason.

During university, I was still looking for places where I could feel safe. Every time I moved to a new place, I had this creeping doubt: “Will they judge me for who I am?”

Later, job hunting really became a hunt for psychological safety. That was more important to me than thinking about what I wanted for my career. Japan didn’t seem able to offer that, so I decided to go abroad. In Canada, it seemed to me that everyone was very open about their identity. It made me feel safe.

Nagakawa: It sounds like you had a really tough situation growing up. Was there anything early on that could have changed your experience?

Kan: Role models. Back then, we did not have smartphones, and most of the computers were huge desktop types. Information was very limited. The only openly LGBTQ+ people I saw were on TV, and they were subject to societal pressure, too. Many of them were objects of ridicule, the butt of jokes. It wasn’t the image I needed. I needed a role model for daily life.

Next Article

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What if you want to leverage DEI as a business leader, but your efforts just aren’t working? Time for a DEI culture assessment.
Unpainted pawns stand in strict rows facing colorful, dispersed pawns on a table, representing the need for a DEI culture assesesment

How to Solve Japan’s Gender Inequality Problem

Japan’s gender inequality problem has come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. The key to picking up the pace? Psychological safety.
Illustration of a red void with a man walking along a path in the air and a woman stuck with no path, representing gender inequality

A Culture of Natural Authenticity

Nagakawa: You worked for a Japanese cosmetics company when you returned from your studies. What made you want to work in that industry?

Kan: It goes back to my time in middle school. I had terrible acne, so I used my mom’s face wash. I was so amazed at how it cleared up my skin. I wanted to work for an industry that makes people feel that kind of happiness.

Nagakawa: Was there any particular reason you chose a Japanese company rather than an international one?

Kan: I just thought that the experience of working for a Japanese company would be beneficial. It has to do with my roots—I am Japanese, after all, and understanding the culture and system of my home country felt necessary. And my experience in the cosmetic industry was a positive one. It was fun, and the culture and people were very good. They did not see me as a category—my age, sexuality, or where I graduated from. They saw me as an individual. I felt I was accepted.

Nagakawa: After struggling with psychological safety growing up, what aspect of the cosmetic company’s culture made you feel safe?

Kan: I was able to be open about being gay. They took it as something very natural. I took two-week breaks twice a year to visit my now-husband Tom in the UK, and whenever I came back, they always asked, “How was your partner?”

This might be a common culture within the cosmetics industry—accepting different lives of different people.

Nagakawa: And yet eventually, you decided to move to the UK, where you now live with Tom. (Congratulations on your recent wedding, by the way!) Was it difficult for you to leave Japan for good?

Kan: Yes, I did struggle with the decision. But in Japan, I didn’t even have the choice to get married. Same-sex marriage isn’t legal here, and Tom and I knew that early on. We’d already promised to live in the UK together.

The really difficult thing is that I don’t even know if I’d choose Japan if I could. The option doesn’t even exist. That’s really sad.

A Safe Space on . . . Social Media?

Nagakawa: You’ve been active on social media, gaining a growing following on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. How did you get into that?

Kan: When I was kid, I did not have role models. I want to be a part of fixing that. Of course, I don’t represent the whole gay community, but I want to do what I can as one individual.

Nagakawa: Social media can be a tough audience. How has your experience been so far?

Kan: Well, most responses are positive, especially on Instagram. This has to do with the characteristics of the platform. On Twitter, things are a bit different since people can spread my posts by retweeting. When that happens, the tone of the opinions sometimes changes. There are some negative voices. But I have a personal rule to use social media only as far as it brings me happiness—as long as I feel psychological safety. If I don’t have enough mental energy to deal with certain voices, I just don’t react to them.

However, I also try to learn from different opinions, even the negative ones. This requires some effort from both sides, but still, I feel I need to  hear those voices to understand them.

Kan and his husband Tom happily embracing at their wedding
Kan and his husband Tom at their wedding | Photo credit: Visuals of Scotland

The Many Kinds of “Us”

Nagakawa: When you hear the word “diversity,” what comes to mind?

Kan: It’s really difficult to understand what diversity truly means. Take the Tokyo Olympics, for instance: one of the three core concepts was “Unity in Diversity.” But was Japan really representing either of those concepts? Did we all have the same understanding of whose diversity we were talking about? Society naturally has a lot of diversity—there are many kinds of “us.” What matters is to create a society where no one is left behind.

Nagakawa: How do we create such a society?

Kan: First, each of us should ask ourselves what privileges we have. My privileges, for example, are being a man, being multilingual, and having a higher education.

Once we recognize our privileges, it changes what we say and what we do. And that’s a good thing—we should all act knowing what privileges we carry. That’s how you become aware of not only “the majority” and “the minority,” but other, intersectional groups. Awareness enables you to hear voices that are often suppressed in society.

Finally, we all need to repeat this process. Re-evaluate your privileges from time to time, and think about what you say and do. That’s how we create a society with true diversity. 

Nagakawa: Very inspiring! What would you say to someone who says, “I want to be like you”?

Kan: I would ask them what they mean. Are they talking about my career? Or living overseas? Or my relationship? Which aspect of me are they looking at?

I believe that weakness is strength. In fact, I’m concerned that when people say or hear, “Be yourself!” the spotlight is on the positive. To me, being myself means being who I am—all the positives and negatives. So I don’t just want to accept my weaknesses privately. I want to show them. And I hope that by showing them, I can encourage others to do the same. That is the kind of role model I want to be.

Nagakawa: In Japan, people tend to have an image that LGBTQ+ activities are mostly done by activists. How can we expand that view to involve more people?

Kan: Once again, it’s important for everyone to start thinking about their own privileges. It’s not a matter of “What can I do?” but a matter of “What can we do?”

I sometimes get inquiries from corporations asking me how they can promote diversity and inclusion through their business activities. But looking outward is not always the right first step. It’s also important to look internally. There are many kinds of people inside of every company—think about their diversity and how to include them.

If you can’t create psychological safety for the people you have inside, how can you expect to make a difference outside?

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