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Manga by southwest Japan firm shares behind-the-scenes hotel cleaning 'magic'

Copies of the manga "The magic of guest room cleaning" are shown in this photo. (Mainichi)

FUKUOKA -- A company in southwest Japan that operates cleaning services for hotel rooms has published a manga that puts the spotlight on cleaning staff working behind the scenes in the hospitality industry.

    The manga, whose Japanese title can be roughly translated as "The magic of guest room cleaning," contains the know-how of Seibi-Kyushu Co., which runs a hotel guest room cleaning business covering five prefectures in the Kyushu region, with a focus on the city of Fukuoka, where the firm is based. In the manga, the company shares its knowledge on enhancing the quality of cleaning services and training staff. A representative of the company's hotel service department said, "We'd like to boost the social standing of room cleaning staff who actively work behind the scenes in the hotel industry."

    The protagonist of the manga, which is illustrated by manga artist Yasufumi Matsumoto, is a rookie cleaner who brushes up on her skills while making mistakes and discovering the rewarding aspects of her job. The second volume portrays the main character's growth as she works toward her goal of becoming the chief of the cleaning team, managing the staff's duties and work shifts.

    Seibi-Kyushu says the common perception that hotel room cleaning is "work that anyone can do" is "a big misunderstanding." Various skills and knowledge are required to complete the cleaning work of all rooms at a level satisfying a diverse range of guests within a limited amount of time. As any issues with quality or the handling of complaints would lead to a decline in the hotel's reputation, the company says that fostering individual staff members' sense of fulfillment and responsibility is important.

    The hotel industry has been facing a prolonged labor shortage of cleaning staff. The representative of Seibi-Kyushu said, "We'd like the manga to create an opportunity for people to discover the appeal of a hotel room cleaner's job." While the majority of cleaning jobs are part-time, the company hires staff in chief positions as full-time workers.

    The manga's first and second volumes each cost 880 yen (about $7) including tax. They can be purchased through major online bookstores.

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Higa, Kyushu News Department)

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