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We have decided to join forces with the rest of Japan Society!  Continue to read about IN on the Japan Society blog.

©George Hirose

At the invitation of the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Social Entrepreneurship Program, Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka, was the keynote speaker at a February 6, 2010 symposium on “Everyone a Changemaker: Social Innovation to Change the World.”

Japan Society was pleased to be one of the collaborating institutions for the half day event (agenda: http://bit.ly/9C63sk), which also included IN member Nana Watanabe, the author of two books, in Japanese, on social entrepreneurs called Changemakers.  For a summary of the sold out event and photos, visit the Tokyo Institute of Technology website here: http://bit.ly/czLzWw

While in Japan, Mr. Drayton also had a meeting with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.  The meeting was videotaped and can be seen here:  http://bit.ly/9CJA0X.

In January 2010, Japan Society had the privilege of hosting Rosanne Haggerty, founder and President of Common Ground Community and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, in Japan.  She had a whirlwind of a trip and we were so delighted to have been able to facilitate a great number of programs and meetings while she was in Japan.

Rosanne re-visited the Kotobuki section of Yokohama to catch up with Innovators Network member, Tomohiko Okabe of Koto-Lab.  Rosanne was impressed with how Okabe-san and his colleagues have been able to reach out to local property owners to transform excess rooms into lodging for the backpacker set.  Where others see a neighborhood in dire need, Okabe-san saw a community asset–empty rooms–and turned it into an opportunity!      

The following day, she spoke at a public forum, “Regional Development in Urban Cities – Cases from the U.S. and Japan,” in Tokyo with Okabe-san.  Co-organized with Tokyo Foundation, 160 people attended the forum, many of whom are concerned about growing homelessness and poverty in Japan today.  The Tokyo Foundation has posted a transcript of the program on their website, which can be found here: http://bit.ly/8ZRvyg

In a more intimate setting, Rosanne had breakfast with about 20 young social and business entreprenuers at the ETIC offices.  The focus of breakfast dialogue was changing society through entrepreneurship and how the “social” and “business” aspects of social entrepreneurship co-exist.

Rosanne was also invited to speak at Meiji University.  Partnering with Professor Yasushi Aoyama, another member of the Innovators Network, Rosanne participated in a public forum at the university on “The Birth and Growth of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S.”  She later was a guest speaker for a seminar class at the Graduate School of Governance at Meiji University.

And for something completely different, Rosanne appeared on a popular Japanese TV program “The Most Useful School in the World.”  The show aired February 27, and we hope to be able to post a link to the show soon, but alas, it will be in Japanese only.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Kyomachiya Innovators group in Japan!!!  

Today, the World Monuments Fund announced the 2010 Watch List and the machiya, traditional Japanese townhouses, was selected along with 92 other at risk cultural heritage sites from around the world.   The selection will play a critical role in the Kyomachiya Innovators’ mission to inform and teach the world about the cultural and historical value of the machiya. 

 
To learn more, please visit the World Monuments website at www.wmf.org.

The last three weeks of August went by very quickly.  Anime scripwriter Dai Sato was in town along with Ryan Morris, his interpreter, for a couple of weeks to teach Anime Production/Scriptwriting to 25 high school students. Here are some summary videos of the classes he taught during those two weeks. Learn about 起承転結 (Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu) and 鳥獣戯画 (Cho-Ju-Gi-ga), Japan’s oldest manga. It is fascinating!

Also here is a link to Dai Sato speaking about how to create anime characters.

On the last day of the two weeks, the students divided into 5 groups presented their work at the auditorium. Here is a link to the 15 second previews that each group created. The preview was presented along with their story proposals. Dai told me later that he was intrigued that how all the groups had the notion of  fate/destiny embedded in their theme. He also thought that all story proposals dealt with the issues of coping with diversity and different values. He felt that groups made up of Japanese high school students would have come up with totally different theme and story ideas. Dai also had a chance to meet up with his old acquaintance, Justin Leach, also an IN member, who currently works at the Blue Sky Studios as a Senior Pipeline Engineer.  We paid a visit to Blue Sky in Connecticut and Dai was invited to speak about his work and the creative process to the storyboard department staff. Then we all took a tour of the studio.  Dai kept on saying how amazingly better the work environment is for creators like him in the U.S.  It was indeed a beautiful office space with huge windows overlooking a forest outside. There were ping pong tables and pinball machines, too.

Justin Leach and Dai Sato

Justin Leach and Dai Sato

During the last week of August, the Kyomachiya preservation group was in town after attending a symposium in Boston on historic preservation. The occasion was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of sister city between Boston and Kyoto. It was great to see Fusae Kojima again, a machiya owner and the President and Executive Director of Kyomachiya Revitalization Study Group. She was one of the panelists at the symposium we organized in collaboration with Kyoto Center for Community Collaboration (Machisen) last November at Japan Society. The symposium summary is featured in a new book titled Machiya Revival in Kyoto edited by Machisen. It just came out in July.  As part of the Innovators Network activities, we continue to support the Kyomachiya preservation group’s effort to gain further recognition abroad.

Last but not least, we have some newly edited videos of the Social Design Forum we organized with JIDPO (Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization) back in February.  I highly recommend that you watch Valerie Casey’s video on Design Thinking especially if you are a design student.

Masaaki Ikeda’s video, which touches on the history of  social design in Japan, is also quite interesting if you heard about Michael Linton, who had designed the LETS (Local Exchange Trading System).

(Fumiko)

Innovators Network member and anime scriptwriter Dai Sato was in New York to give a two-week summer immersion workshop for high school students at Japan Society.  Dai took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Japan Society about his creative process.  In this video,   Dai muses about his “dream script,” discusses new features in Eden of the East, an anime series as of yet unreleased in the U.S., touches on the influence of authors Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami on his work, offers advice for future scriptwriters, and explains a few of the perception gaps between American and Japanese viewers regarding the TV series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. 

Dai’s scriptwriting credits also include Cowboy Bebop, Freedom, and Wolf’s Rain.

The Five LawsInnovators Network member Hiroshi Tasaka’s poetic The Five Laws to Foresee the Future: 12 Paradigm Shifts that will Happen in the Future of Human Society  (未来を予見する「5つの法則」) is out in English.  Tasaka-san’s philosophical insights into the future of work, life and society make for rivetting reading. For those who may have missed it, Tasaka-san gave a talk at a joint Japan Society- New School forum, “Beyond Web 2.0: How Technology will Change the World.” 

 

 

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