Japan’s largest shipping company, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, known as NYK Line, has promoted a female employee to captain of a ship for the first time in its 132-year history.
Tomoko Konishi, 33, was officially made captain April 1, with the move following promotions of women to captain by two other major shipping companies, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., in 2016 and in 2015, respectively.
Konishi joined NYK Line in 2004 as the first female “at sea” staff member after graduating from the National Institute of Technology, Toba College in Mie Prefecture, NYK Line said on April 3.
At present, she is on a voyage as first officer, but after that is completed, she will serve as captain.
NYK Line currently has about 560 at-sea staff members, of whom 14 are women.
“The number of women who hope to land jobs as at-sea staffers is increasing partly due to the influence of the popular (ocean adventure) comic ‘One Piece,’” said an industry source