Do you see a growing number of women stepping up to take-over their family’s businesses in Japan more recently?
Yes, I see it is changing.
What advice can you give a young woman preparing to take over her family business?
I am the first female winemaker in our family, in a very traditional Japanese family. Likewise, all my female family members, including me, went to girls' school. I remember I put on the same uniform as my mother’s and her hand-me-downs. Even as far as my grandparents and my parents got married by arranged marriages. It shouldn’t be that way; however, gender may restrict the job opportunity.
Winemaking is a physically tough job for tiny Japanese women. However, I benefit from being a female winemaker. I had an excellent experience in my twenties, completed double season winemaking between Japan and wine regions in the southern hemisphere for 6 years. If I were a boy, I would have more responsibility in running the winery and have had to come back to the winery earlier. Males are more involved in the business side, especially. I have enough freedom to explore winemaking. We still have challenges, but for now, I should say keep celebrating female leaders.
How old were you when you had your 1st sip of wine?
I don't remember exactly how old I was. When I was a child, I liked the must (fermenting juice) very much.
What is the local Singaporean dish you miss most?
Singapore Buk Kut Teh. I am also a fan of Sunday Brunch at Raffles.
We look forward to having Ayana-san back with us here in Singapore & may you continue to inspire women all over in pursuing your goals, dreams & aspirations!