Is Rakuten’s English-only initiative really successful?

My topic is “Is Rakuten’s English-only initiative really successful?”


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Hiroyuki Mikitani, the CEO of the Japanese biggest E-commerce company Rakuten, suddenly told its employees at the weekly morning assembly in 2010 that the company would adopt the “English-only policy”in the office. Many of us were shocked to hear his intention, but whether you liked it or not, the “English-only policy” project dubbed “Englishnization” started the very next day. The news surprised the nation, and many Japanese companies has shown interests in the project. However, since then, only a few companies followed Rakuten’s case to take up the English-only measures.



<A fact statistic>

The Japan Times says that the average score of all the employees on TOEIC has reachedover 800 five years after the start of the English-only project. (“Rakuten forges ahead in English”, 2015)



Why wouldn’t other companies want to follow Rakuten’s case of adapting English as their company official language?


Former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela states, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his mother tonguage, that goes to his heart.” (Khan, 2020, p.1)



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