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PEOPLE PEOPLE index Vol.05 Nobody knows the correct answer, that's why everyone has a chance to become part of the solution. Asako Tomura | Corporate Social Responsibility Department, Sony Corporation

I came to Sony to expand my horizons


Before joining Sony, I was in charge of dispatching information on company culture and products using the web and mobile phones in the Advertising Department of a multinational cosmetics company. As I gained experience there, I eventually came to feel that I wanted to expand my own boundaries. It was right around that time that I learned about Sony, and its potential as a global player to influence society through its business practices. It was then that I decided to join the company hoping that I would also be able to take on bigger challenges and enhance myself as a person.

For the company, society, and the future


After joining Sony, I participated in the launch of a subsidiary engaged in transmitting data broadcasts which was at the frontline in the networking field. The work involved not only the Internet, but also broadcasting, so I felt it was a great chance to expand my professional skills in the network business and also learn new things. However the most appealing part of it was the challenge of starting up a new company from scratch. I had always enjoyed creating new projects, so I was highly motivated towards a project like this where I could actually oversee everything from planning and development from the ground up and all the way through to the end user.

Once the initial stages of this company were complete, I was transferred to Sony Pictures Entertainment and then to an animation company called Aniplex. In both companies, I was involved in developing online marketing and distribution of movies and animation. There were many women in the workplace, and they were all very passionate about their work. Through my experience working in the entertainment business, I believe that the key to building organizational strength and supporting women's career advancement is through fair valuation of one's accomplishments and an environment that allows women to work confidently.

As I had been involved with the business of the Internet for nearly a decade, I began to feel a sense of duty that I should devote myself more to the company, to society, and to the future. One thing that had made me feel this way was realizing how the world was changing with unfamiliar problems. Trying to change the world through the Internet was no longer enough. I wanted to be directly involved with the issues the world was facing, and this desire made me interested in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Department. I still remember the first time I met with the management of CSR at the time. My decision to transfer was set once I learned that at the time of Sony's founding, Mr. Ibuka and Mr. Morita were thinking of what they could do to help with the postwar recovery and how they could contribute to the society. At the CSR Department, our job is to ensure that the spirit of our founders continues to shine strong at Sony.

Sustainability is the key to CSR's activities

  • With my co-workers from the screening event project
One of the projects that left the biggest impression on me was a public viewing aimed at helping HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the United Republic of Tanzania. This was a collaborative project between Sony and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund) and Africa's largest health care NGO AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) that created the opportunity to screen blockbuster films like Spider Man and Karate Kid outdoors and communicate to young people who gathered to watch about HIV/AIDS. I worked at the heart of the project from its initial conception to the materialization of the event and then actually went to the location to manage the event directly. There were virtually no movie theaters in these rural areas of Tanzania, so it was wonderful to see the local people who normally do not get a chance to watch movies on the big screen wholeheartedly enjoying the movies as if they were a part of them. I was moved by the sensation of realizing that I had succeeded in sharing a moment of joy by bringing entertainment to the people in Africa. One other thing that made me happy was that, through this project, the staff of the NGOs that operated the event acquired the techniques needed to hold screenings like this without Sony's support. I had always thought that these projects should be sustainable and not end as a temporary event and so I felt more encouraged to see how staff members were empowered.

Participating in the philosophy of Sony


One thing I learned through the CSR activities is that there is no correct answer in solving the issues in this ever changing global society. On the other hand, if nobody has the correct answer, it also means that there is a potential for anybody to become part of the solution. That is why I strongly feel that it is necessary to have different ways of thinking that go beyond the boundaries of gender, age, and race. The more diverse our way of thinking is, the more creative solutions we should be able to come up with. I believe this is one of the reasons why Sony as a company has such a great respect for diversity. In fact, I believe it is perhaps one of our greatest strengths.

Myself included, I believe that most Sony employees decided to join the company with a certain desire to accomplish something for society. I think their motivation is perhaps closer to participating in the philosophy of Sony. I'm personally not the type who fits into molds easily, but feeling as if I'm participating in things at Sony is what enables me to display my abilities to the fullest. In that sense, I am very thankful and proud of the corporate culture of freedom and open-mindedness that we have at Sony.
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