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Women’s History Month is a chance to us to celebrate some of the diverse voices from around the world.

Learn more from Misa Hamaoka, Senior Engineer, Digital Rail Innovation, Mobility Innovation, LoB Rail Control & Digital based in Japan, as we ask her a series of questions about her career journey within Hitachi.

Misa, can you tell us about your career journey in Hitachi? Why did you join and what roles have you had?

Hitachi is a famous company that almost everyone knows in Japan, so they have a strong reputation. Hitachi is known for its wide range of business units and diverse products - and I felt the company had potential. I was first assigned to the communications department in Hitachi and was in charge of a Service Engineer for communications equipment. I transferred to the railway department in my eighth year. Around that time the use of data and the Internet of Things (IoT) was becoming more popular in the railway industry so a key focus for me was to look at the digitization of the railway network, and to work with customers to find digital solutions to their problems.

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Which skills are essential for your job?

I’ve found that flexibility to incorporate new ideas and ways of working is the most important skill. Since there is no approach that can work for everyone, it is necessary to carefully consider what customers want and propose changes based on my experience.

Can you tell us about an interesting project you have worked on recently?

In Japan, railway companies maintain their own rolling stock (trains) and track equipment. Recently I have been thinking about how we can improve the efficiency of railway company maintenance. In particular, I am in charge of considering approaches that combine new perspectives such as the use of the metaverse – a powerful tool for business innovation.

Why is this project important for society?

In Japan, there is a shortage of workers due to the declining birth-rate and aging population. In the near future, there is a possibility that the number of workers will decrease, and the current workload will not be able to be completed – this is particularly important to consider for infrastructure projects such as the railway, which are essential for moving people and goods between cities. One way to solve this problem is to improve efficiency through digitalization.

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What makes you proud of your work?

If we are successful, the projects that I am working on could lead to solving one of Japan's key social issues – so my work feels valuable, important and something that will contribute to a better society for future generations.

How has your Hitachi Rail career been rewarding?

In my role I need to work with a huge number of internal stakeholders such as the research and development teams. For me, it’s particularly rewarding and fun to be able to combine their skills and opinions and come up with ideas together to solve complex problems.

Do you have any advice for people looking for a career in rail?

Railways are loved by people of all ages, and from a green perspective, it will continue to be essential as a sustainable mobility choice. I think it's really important to be involved in this work as a career so we can all develop a better future!

To find out more about careers at Hitachi Rail, please click here to visit our careers pages.


Misa Hamaoka

Senior Engineer, Digital Rail Innovation, Mobility Innovation, LoB Rail Control & Digital Location: Japan