Freedom to find balance

Kohsuke, Masako and the kids stand looking into their shop through the window from the outside.
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Helsinki has been named the world’s best city for establishing a healthy work-life balance. Its high-quality public services, excellent public transport, short distances, and well-designed bike lanes, public parks, and waterfronts offer every resident a unique opportunity to work for the world’s most innovative companies and simultaneously enjoy their free time. Long paid parental leaves for both parents, affordable public daycare, and manageable workdays allow both men and women to care for their families while also continuing to have a flourishing career.

The first episode of the Helsinki Freedom mini-documentary series presents Kohsuke, who has moved from Nagasaki to Helsinki with his wife Masako. Kohsuke describes his family’s life in the Finnish capital: he and Masako run a design store and life seems to have a very good work-life balance. Both of their children, Tengo and Tao, were born in Finland.

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Director: Taito Kawata

Taito Kawata is a half-Finnish, half-Japanese director who is inspired by random life occurrences, the aesthetics of simplicity and characters that resonate deeply. He is one of the founders of the Helsinki-based production agency Cocoa. 

Finding balance in Helsinki

"I think Helsinki is a great example of a place where there is a freedom to gain balance. I'm half-Japanese and understand the work culture there as well. Working in Japan is very different.

I lived on the same street where my main character has his shop. When I heard the store owner's story, I really admired his life choices and his lifestyle. He had dared to leave behind a hectic job in Tokyo and move to Helsinki to find a more quiet way of life. The change made it possible to have a family. In Finland, it is possible to combine family life to work, the two don’t need to be separated. You can have it all here.

Helsinki is a very easygoing city compared to many places. The pressure is not as high as in other cities. Work is work, and people are treated very humanely. It is easy to maintain a balance here. When people have kids, many notice that they work less. It all depends on what you choose to prioritise. When your life changes, your priorities do, too."

Taito Kawata

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Helsinki has been named the world’s best city for work-life balance. Its high-quality public services, excellent public transport, short distances, offer every resident the opportunity to both work and enjoy their free time.
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