Behind the Fusion Scene: Erika Yamane

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In a nutshell:
Since joining Kyoto Fusioneering as a temporary employee in June 2022, Ms. Yamane, a member of the Business Development Division, has played an important role in collaborating with the Technical Development Department on procurement, and in establishing and maintaining Kyoto Fusioneering’s R&D facility. Transitioning to a full-time role has only fueled her passion for embracing new challenges and aiding her colleagues in their quest for fusion energy.

What does a typical day look like for you at Kyoto Fusioneering (KF)?
As part of the Business Development Division, my daily responsibilities involve closely coordinating administrative tasks with the Technical Development Department. I frequently work liaising with members of the Electro Magnetic Technology (EM) Division, who focus on researching and developing the crucial “gyrotron system” for inducing fusion reactions. My responsibilities include procuring necessary parts and equipment for the EM Division, managing invoices upon delivery, and negotiating pricing and delivery schedules.

I am also involved in establishing our R&D hubs. For instance, at our inaugural in-house R&D facility, the “Kyoto Research Centre,” I coordinate with colleagues from the Plant Technology Division and Corporate Headquarters to facilitate detailed adjustments with companies for security implementation and infrastructure enhancements.

KF’s dynamic environment affords me numerous opportunities to engage with various divisions, resulting in a diverse range of tasks. While managing multiple responsibilities can sometimes be challenging, I embrace these opportunities and strive for efficiency without compromising on quality. By carefully prioritising tasks and orchestrating schedules like a puzzle, I derive a sense of achievement when everything falls seamlessly into place. I find that I enjoy multi-tasking, so I believe that my current role here fits me well.

Additionally, my curiosity leads me to opportunities for a new challenge. When I first joined KF, I was unfamiliar with many of the components requested by the EM Division. But, through my daily tasks, I steadily gained my understanding of these components. I aspire to continue learning and deepening my knowledge in the field.


How would you describe the atmosphere at KF, given your interactions with various divisions?
The atmosphere at KF embodies the vibrant energy often associated with a startup environment. Over the past year and a half, since I joined, I sense that the company now recruit more specialised talent and the implementation of established systems such as accounting and IT infrastructure. These developments have significantly enhanced our operational efficiency, particularly in administrative functions.

However, unlike larger corporations, we still don’t have dedicated departments like “Quality Control” or “Procurement.” Instead, we rely on cross-departmental collaboration and navigate challenges together. While assuming unfamiliar tasks may seem challenging, I view it as an enriching aspect of our startup culture. These experiences have contributed to the expansion of role and responsibilities within the company.

Talking about my colleagues, their enthusiasm and dedication are truly inspiring. While each member has a distinct career focus, there is a collective commitment to drive the company forward. Having worked at two other companies before, I’m impressed by the proactive and positive mindset among KF members.

Furthermore, the culture of open communication is embedded across all levels of the organisation. For instance, the EM Division has members who are considered legends in the fusion energy industry, with their decades of experience. Despite their esteemed status, I’ve always felt comfortable approaching them directly or seeking assistance through our communication tools. Knowing that people are willing to help when needed is reassuring.

Erika Yamane_Technical_Kyoto Fusioneering

Could you share your experiences before joining KF?
My academic background lies in European and American Linguistic Cultures, a choice influenced by my proficiency in English and a teacher’s recommendation. Despite initially choosing this path somewhat serendipitously, I found great fulfilment in exploring literature and language history. This is because my peers were always enthusiastic, and I got motivation for studying from them. Looking back, these exchanges mirror the collaborative spirit I now experience at KF.

Additionally, I worked part-time at a bicycle shop, where I developed an affinity for the manufacturing industry. Witnessing mechanics assemble bicycles and collaborating with colleagues to create tangible products sparked my interest in hands-on work.

Upon entering the workforce, I pursued opportunities in sales roles, first at a printing company and later at an advertising agency. While these experiences provided valuable insights into client relations and marketing, I eventually sought a more diverse array of tasks, leading me to register with a temp agency. It was through this agency that I discovered KF.

My first impression of KF is that it was a company doing something difficult. However, after some research, I understood that KF had ties to my hometown of Kyoto and aimed to realise the next-generation energy termed “dream energy.” During the meeting, I expressed my attraction to the grand scale of achieving fusion energy and my desire to grow through challenges in a dynamic environment. Then I started to work at KF.

Of course, I felt nervous when I had just started to work, but the warm welcome and supportive guidance from my colleagues eased my transition into the company, and I felt a sense of belonging and purpose.

As I continued working, I began to think, “I wish to stay at KF for a long time.” Surrounded by wonderful colleagues, KF’s environment where I can challenge myself was a perfect fit for me. Then there was an opening for a permanent position, so I took the opportunity.

Erika Yamane_Kyoto Fusioneering

Finally, what are your aspirations for the future at KF?
Looking ahead, my primary goal is to continue embracing new challenges and expanding collaborative efforts across departments. To achieve this, I aim to enhance work efficiency, recognising the invaluable support of my colleagues in achieving collective objectives. Additionally, I am committed to fostering a welcoming environment for new team members, ensuring that the culture of support and collaboration at KF continues to flourish. 

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