Unlike most in Japan, Saeko Hamaguchi has a second job.
When she’s not working at Tokyo-based production and design company Asoblock, she spends her time in fields outside the city, growing cotton to make yarn for weaving.
According to a 2018 survey by Mizuho Research Institute, just 11% of companies in Japan allow their employees to take second jobs.
It’s part of the country’s work culture that needs to change, says Asoblock founder Asobu Dan. He lets his employees dictate their own schedules and encourages them to take other jobs, which he says gives them a wider cross-section of experience.
Shiho Fukada and Keith Bedford visited the firm in early March to take a deeper look.