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We aim to relocate our production site to Southeast Asia for the next generation. As we strive forward, we must collect information and conduct on-site inspections with a view toward expanding into the Vietnam market.




インターンTran Thu Huyen

Vietnam/Foreign Trade University, Economics and International Business


Southeast Asia is a progressive candidate for relocation of our production site. We would like to understand their national characteristics and culture through the intern program.

Q.Why did your company decide to take on interns? What did you aim to achieve?
Chugai Toen was established in 1952 in the city of Seto, Aichi, as a ceramics manufacturer that proficiently produces Eto (Chinese astrological calendar) ornaments and Maneki-neko (Japanese fortune welcoming cats), as well as lucky ornaments and seasonal decorations. The majority of traditional industries in Japan has been facing the problems of a shortage of successors and the aging of skilled technicians, and our region is not an exception. We advanced into the overseas market over a decade ago and have our production base in China today. According to the medium-to-long term management plan, we plan to increase the number of production sites while keeping the one in China active for the time being. We applied for this intern program in order to spend time with a person from Southeast Asia, a progressive candidate area for our next production site, and understand their cultures and values. We firmly believe that the experience would help us figure out if they match our concepts of craftsmanship. Myanmar was our first choice, but the intern introduced to us was from Vietnam. We took up on the offer with appreciation as Vietnam is also known for its fine crafts.



We aim to learn the pottery crafts in Seto and explore the differences between the countries and identity the areas we need to improve on.

Q.What kind of internship did you run? What difficulties did you face and how did you resolve them?
Huyền first learned the technical terms and content of work before spending the first half of the internship period learning the unique process of Seto- pottery making through hands-on experience in our factory. We also took her to the local museum to help her learn the cultural history of Japan and Seto pottery. We asked her to give speeches in front of our staff in an effort to promote an understanding of Vietnam within the company. In her speech, she explained the national characteristics and culture of her country, as well as the differences in life style between the south and north. Furthermore, she wrote a report upon our request, summarizing the differences between pottery in Japan and that in Vietnam. For the rest of the internship, we provided her with an opportunity to advance her knowledge of specialized fields, such as criteria for quality management, splitting of work among specialist groups, and check systems, as well as the common work procedures in Japan. We then learned the way the work is carried out in Vietnam and discussed with her ways to achieve the most effective work procedure by combining the pros of the two countries of Vietnam and Japan. We were worried about our English skills, at first, but gradually, a caring and collaborative relationship was formed between us in which she used Japanese when asking questions, and our employees spoke to her actively in English.



Mutual understanding was surely developed between Japan and Vietnam. Also, we made an appointment for an on-site inspection.

Q.Comparing before and after the internship, what effects did it have on you, your employees, or your organization?
In our internship activities, we went so far as to conduct research on the potential production sites. It was beyond our initial purpose of building mutual understanding of the cultures of the two countries. We made a list of factories in Vietnam that would meet our criteria for pottery manufacturing and made an appointment with some. We will soon visit the factories. Our vision of establishing a production site in Vietnam has already started to become a reality. It has also made positive effects on our younger employees. I feel that they have grown a lot through the program and now have a stronger presence within the company. They supported her during her internship and learned about the company and the operating environment in our industry during the process of introducing our company, region, and Japanese culture to her. They have grown to be very positive in their roles: asking questions of their seniors and seeking advice when necessary. It spread a positive atmosphere among other employees. Some of them invited her to a series of fun activities to help her experience the culture and lifestyle of Japan, including a home stay, Takoyaki party, and a trip to Kyoto.



I want to contribute to business expansion, all for the further development of pottery culture in Japan and Vietnam.

Q.What did you get out of the internship?
My intern experience at Chugai Toen was much greater than I expected. I came to realize how the Japanese preserved their culture carefully for the generations to come through my learning of the pottery industry of Seto and other regions in Japan. Also, I was deeply moved by their diligence and professional attention to their work. The ultimate goal of Chugai Toen must be to bring happiness to all customers as the lucky ornaments they make. I learned the work procedures and a whole lot more during my internship, such as the Japanese culture, mentality, and their kind hospitality for others. Japanese pottery and Vietnamese pottery differ in a variety of factors, but I am positive that they can establish their manufacturing methods and quality management in Vietnam. It would also be a great opportunity for my country to learn about the pottery cultures of other countries as it would lead to an improvement in our technology. I hope to continue my support for the company even after I return to Vietnam. Last but not least, I have a two-year-old daughter. Joining the internship program was a great challenge for me as I had to leave her in Vietnam. I would like to give my most sincere thanks to my husband and family for supporting me from Vietnam, and every one at Chugai Toen for taking care of me in a family-like atmosphere.



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