Haruko Niitsu – Japan’s Top Cleaner


Haruko Niitsu – Japan’s Top Cleaner 

Haruko Niitsu was born in China to a Japanese father and a Chinese mother. When Haruko turned 17, the family moved to Japan. Her parents didn’t have much money, and so Haruko needed to work to support herself and them. However, she struggled to find a job because she could not speak Japanese well enough. The only job she could get was as a low-paid cleaner.

In Japan, cleaning is work of low social standing; it is regarded as simple menial labour that many people associate with dirt or indignity. However, Haruko Niitsu took pride in her job. She wanted to bring comfort to people by making the spaces she was responsible for as clean as possible. Haruko put everything into her work, cleaning thoroughly even in seemingly unnoticed areas, in the aim of creating an environment which people would be happy to spend time in. Over the years, she built up an impressive knowledge of all the different types of detergents and cleaning chemicals. Haruko truly excelled in her work and she became the youngest person to win the National Cleaning Skills Competition in 1997.

Today, Haruko is the leader of a team of 700 cleaners at Haneda Airport, which is rated as one of the cleanest airports in the world. Through her own hard work and devotion, she has become a national treasure of Japan as a cleaning craftswoman. She has also brought attention to the meticulous work carried out by Japan’s cleaners, thanks to whom, the country is known as one of the cleanest in the world.

日本のトップクリーナー 新津春子





・low-paid cleaner・・低賃金の清掃員

・low social standing・・身分が低い








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