Updated: Jul 13, 2022
THE WAY Returnees Edition introduces women who continue to shine and empower themselves even after returning to Japan by making use of their experiences abroad.
In our second edition of “Returnees”, we speak with Aki Matsumoto, nicknamed “Akiron”, who is a popular influencer. In 2016, Aki started living in Taiwan with her husband who runs a business there and spent about a year and a half in Taipei. Even after returning to Japan, she is still active in many areas like posting on social media and product planning in collaboration with apparel brands.
Aki says she has become stronger through her life abroad. Let’s hear about her experiences in Taiwan, what she gained there and how she balances work and raising a child!
Continuing from her magazine modelling days
The first time Aki appeared in a magazine was during senior high school. (Senior high school in Japan is equivalent to grades 10, 11 and 12.) Since then, while working part time in retail, she worked as a magazine model.
The blog that Aki started at the time was read by many people, mainly those who read magazines, and updating her blog became a part of her life. She currently continues to post mainly on Instagram and has about 30,000 followers. Some followers have been supporting Aki since her magazine modelling days.
Aki’s posts feature her lifestyle focusing on fashion, beauty, cooking and raising children. She also posts stories of failures and hardships like, “It’s stressful when my son won’t stop crying!” or “I’ve thrown rice!” Aki empathises with women not only from the same age group but also from a wider range of generations.
“Those who have watched me grow up say, “Akiron, who was a student has became a mum!” (laughs) I’m grateful for my followers. They’ve congratulated me on getting married and having a baby and have encouraged me during times of failure.”
Nowadays, Instagram has increased opportunities to connect people and work. There’s freedom in the job but on the other hand, in the back of her mind, she’s in work mode every day. There are moments of difficulty but there are people who support her and more than anything, Aki continues to enjoy it.
Aki’s marriage started with life in Taiwan
Aki started living in Taiwan with her husband around the same time she got married.
Originally, her husband who ran a business in Taiwan would go back and forth between Japan and Taiwan every day. It would have been nice to be based in Japan and go on business trips but they discussed that it would also be a good opportunity and decided to move to Taipei.
At that time, Aki was working at a fashion brand that her friend had founded. There was a wide range of tasks involved but the work could be done with a computer and smartphone so Aki decided to continue working in Taiwan.
In addition to her new lifestyle overseas, she was not used to working abroad. At first, she had a hard time trying to do many things at once but her parents and friends often visited Taiwan which made it feel less isolating.
While living in Taiwan, Aki also became conscious of going out and not staying at home as much as possible. In Taiwan, there are many food stalls and you can do takeaway at any restaurant which may make eating alone enjoyable.
“In Taiwan, even in a nice house, the kitchen is often built in a simple way and the culture of eating out or getting takeaway has taken root. Getting takeaway is convenient so I hope it will spread in Japan too.”