BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Supporting the Changemakers of tomorrow in Japan To find hope in the generation of the future」

Ashoka Japan

Since opening its doors in 2011, Ashoka Japan and its founder Nana Watanabe have been investing in the endless possibilities of six Changemakers and the younger generation, gradually transforming Japanese society.

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STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

Ashoka’s solution to bring innovation to Japanese society.

imageI came to know of Ashoka around 2000. Finding solutions to social problems in Japan was always for the short term, and never got to the root cause of the problem. But Ashoka changes the system itself – it is much more effective. I wanted more people in Japan to know about Ashoka as we were facing many social issues at the time.

I first contacted Ashoka’s headquarters in Washington D.C. but it really didn’t get me anywhere. I realized I had to provide Ashoka with solid data on social issues in Japan, such as apathy among the youth and social withdrawal. They were quite surprised to know how Japanese society changed from its heyday in the 80’s. After continuing our talks with one another, Ashoka Japan opened its doors in 2011.

The six fellows and the Changemakers of the future.

imageSince its establishment in 2011, the impact to society from Ashoka Japan is still minimal. With the six fellows as their leaders, the seed of change is starting to sprout.

Our Ashoka Youth Venture Initiative has proven to be successful, empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. The initiative is an incubation lab for youths aged 12 to 20. They are aware of the contradictions within the society in which they live, and are driven to find solutions. We give them freedom to bring out their empathy, the perspective of self -reflection, the courage to take risks, and resilience in the face of failure.

In Japan, from our launch in 2012 through May of 2016, 69 teams have been formed, with three to five members per team, on track to reach 100 teams in 2017. Some of our alumni have translated their projects into startups after graduating from college. By nurturing young Changemakers, the groundwork is being paved for social transformation.

Our message: Ordinary people CAN change society.

imageTo maximize the growth of the seeds of change, structural change within corporations is crucial. We have started collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim, the 4th largest pharmaceutical company in Germany. Starting in July, we will launch a corporate outreach program, educating the private sector about making change, arranging meetings between corporate sponsors and the Changemakers.

Education is also a crucial element. We do not see results right away. Most people, and Japanese society itself, believe that ordinary people cannot change society. At the Changemaker School, we help elementary, middle and high school students gain skills such as empathy and the ability to change and adapt. In four years, Ashoka has certified over 100 schools in 28 countries around the world. We are very eager to do the same in Japan.

Being small and humble is a virtue in Japan. But I want the students to go out into the world and step outside of Japan from the start. You have to start by thinking you can be the change the world needs - the way to make a big impact in society.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Ashoka Japan

Ashoka Japan

Opened as Ashoka's first East Asia Office in 2011 by founder/chairperson Nana Watanabe. Since then, six amazing Changemakers have been elected as Ashoka Fellows. The fellows receive support from the Ashoka community to magnify the impact of their activities. Ashoka also identifies and cultivates young Changemakers via the Youth Venture Initiative. The idea of "Everyone a Changemaker" is the motivation behind every Ashoka activity.

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ANA BLUE WING
2018.07.27
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Normalizing the Need for Innovation. In a recent interview with Sascha Haselmayer, Social Entrepreneur and founder of Citymart, Haselmayer acknowledged that while "the pressure to change comes out of difficulties and not out of comfort," a valuable network effect of the Citymart service is based on how "the more success people see, the more normal it becomes." Connecting city officials across cities and celebrating their successes makes it "much easier for them to see what is possible". https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.07.24
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Selling Visions of Success. In 2011, Social Entrepreneur Sascha Haselmayer founded Citymart, a company empowering city officials with data, insights, and new peers with the goal of transforming the way cities solve problems. He is an ASHOKA Fellow —a social entrepreneur recognized by ASHOKA as an individual with an innovative solution to a social problem that has the potential to change patterns across society. Haselmayer was a part of ASHOKA JAPAN’s two-day “Fellow in Residence” program in which 24 participants from various sectors learned about his changemaker mindset and journey from recognizing an issue to becoming an innovative social entrepreneur. In a recent interview, Haselmayer described Citymart's content marketing as a strategy that doesn't focus as much on the service itself as it does on the success stories of other officials [like them] that are making a difference. "We're showcasing them as innovators" Haselmayer explained. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.07.15
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Ashoka Japan: Taking on the Challenge to Discover and Nurture the Next Generation of Changemakers. In 2011, Ms. Nana Watanabe launched Ashoka in Japan. Ms. Watanabe saw many people striving to make new social changes, and by opening this new door she expanded possibilities for five systemic changemakers and young people. Society is now changing little by little. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.01.27
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Healing through storytelling Nanami Miura presented her activity progress at the 9th We are the Change, an event where young changemakers gather. Nanami experienced the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. Now she is a storyteller sharing her experiences of the disaster. Story telling helps to heal her own scars as well as to ensure that the tragedy is not forgotten. Her stories have touched not only tsunami survivors but a great number of people. After graduating from high school, Nanami plans to go on a 1 year and a half year working holiday in Canada. She is determined to polish her English storytelling skills so that the world can share in her stories. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.12.15
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Inspiration leads to Innovation On a visit to the USA last October, Kenji Hayashi met a company in Huntington, West Virginia which is revitalising its economically declining hometown. Having the same idea but from a different country with a different culture and issues, Kenji soaked up the experience and is pouring his ideas into his Japanese projects. Inspiration leads to innovation. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.12.14
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Back to the future Ashoka Fellow Kenji Hayashi was a 19 year old university student when he was attracted to the rural town of Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukushima prefecture. This small town has a rich history with an abundance of natural beauty, but as with many rural communities in Japan, depopulation and the lack of jobs are driving young people away to urban areas. Studies suggest that by 2040 up to 50% of rural Japanese towns and villages might become abandoned, but Kenji had spotted a change in the young educated elite, who are increasingly rejecting the traditional path of so-called good university and good job in a big city. Through FoundingBase they now see depopulating rural towns as resources for innovation. Share this post and help Ashoka and Kenji's revitalisation efforts. http://foundingbase.jp/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER