People these days are busier than ever. On top of work pressure, we have family responsibilities to fulfil, and everything takes place against a backdrop of an everchanging world with global events increasing our stress and anxiety levels. According to a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, despite technological developments and advances in home appliances, the time spent on housework in Japan has increased compared to 5 years ago. Husbands in households with children under 6 years old do spend more time on housework and childcare compared to 5 years ago, which can be seen as progress, but the burden is still disproportionately placed on women. With the total time spent on housework actually increasing, it is getting harder for men, women and families alike.
*2021 Basic Social Survey, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) https://www.stat.go.jp/data/shakai/2021/pdf/youyakua.pdf (Japanese)
It was to address these issues that Yoky Matsuoka founded Yohana, a Modern Family Concierge Service, which launched in the US last year and was expanded to Japan on September 15.
Throughout her career, Yoky’s mission has been to build technology solutions that empower people to be the best versions of themselves. “More than anything, I want to help parents everywhere feel more supported and less overwhelmed. To give them a way to slow down and have more joyful moments with their families,” said Yoky, in a recent interview.
Yoky’s passion growing up was tennis, but an injury ended her hopes of playing professionally. A chance encounter led to the discovery of a new passion in science and technology, and Yoky subsequently earned her B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.S and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.
She started her academic career as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington. During her tenure at UW, she founded and directed the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering and the Neurobotics Laboratory to create devices to restore the human body's capabilities for sensation and movement. After a successful career in academia, she dove headfirst into Silicon Valley, where her principal roles at leading tech companies have included CTO of Nest, Vice President at Google's Healthcare organization, Co-Founder of Google X, a senior executive at Apple, and CEO of Quanttus, a wearable health technology startup. On her decision to join Panasonic, Yoky cites Pansonic’s founder Konosuke Matsushita, as well as the company’s sustainability credentials, as her main reasons. Yoky says that when she heard about Matsushita’s stated goal of wanting to “free women from housework,” she “felt an affinity with him as that was a pain point she could relate deeply to.”
Yohana is a Modern Family Concierge Service. Members pay a monthly subscription fee and in return they are paired with a dedicated team of specialists who help them with their daily chores. By delegating tasks to their Yohana team, members can focus on what is really important to them, such as being with family or fulfilling personal goals. The Yohana Membership also includes access to Yohana’s extended network of local pros and contractors. Members in the in the US have used the service successfully for a wide range of tasks from simple everyday chores like booking restaurants and planning kids birthday parties, to more complex jobs like air conditioner repair and bees nest removal.