Behind the bright lights and massive robots at this popular tourist spot is a female president who’s been there from the very beginning.

In Japan’s male-dominated business world, it’s always nice to hear stories of women smashing their way through the glass ceiling and challenging traditional stereotypes. One woman who’s proved her mettle in Tokyo’s competitive tourist industry is Namie Osawa, the president of Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant, which is one of the most popular destinations for international visitors to Japan.

If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, chances are you’ve visited the Robot Restaurant, which prides itself on presenting high-energy, light-filled performances featuring scantily clad dancers and giant robots. Behind the scenes are people like Osawa, who are responsible for everything you see during one of their 90-minute shows, including the staff chosen to perform, and the routines and giant machinery that are out on display.

Take a look at Osawa in this new video from Great Big Story as she shares some background information about the restaurant and how the concept originated.

It’s interesting to find out that Osawa originally thought only Japanese businessmen would be interested in the Robot Restaurant, going by the assumption that it would appeal to their childhood affinity with robots.

It soon became clear that there was a whole other audience out there ready to embrace the restaurant, as foreign tourists were instantly drawn to the crazy mix of bots and humans on display.

▼ Osawa believes the appeal for foreign tourists lies in their love of Japanese cuteness and technology.

Today, tourists from around the world line up outside the Robot Restaurant every night to get tickets to one of their four light-filled shows. And Osawa is more than happy to welcome them all with open arms, extending an invitation for everyone to visit the restaurant when they come to Japan.

Visitors to the Robot Restaurant might not be able to ride any of the huge machines that appear during the show, but they can expect to be entertained by a cast of energetic male and female dancers and wowed by dazzling lights and cutting-edge technology. Plus, every audience member gets to wave around their very own glow stick for the duration of the show.

So next time you visit the Tokyo hotspot to watch robots tower over dancers while you hold your glow stick in the air, don’t forget to send out a silent thank-you to the female president, Osawa. After all, without her, the Robot Restaurant might never have existed.

Featured image: YouTube/Great Big Story