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
2019.08.18
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Positive sports coaching with “Double Goal”: Tadahiro Kobayashi At the Ashoka Youth Social Venture Fundraising Pitch event held by Ashoka Japan, Tadahiro Kobayashi, representing a nonprofit Sports Coaching Initiative (https://www.sports-coach.jp/), made a presentation on how to improve sports coaching culture in Japan. Developed on sports psychology by Ashoka Fellow Jim Thompson (selected in 2004, in the United States), Double-Goal Coaching is a new style of coaching for attainment of both victory and personal growth, without falling into the "winning is everything" mentality. This methodology has been adopted by more than 8.6 million sports coaches in the United States. Kobayashi wants to have it take root in Japan, and asked the participants for their assistance, not only in the form of funding but also through providing knowledge and referring to key people. His pitch resonated with all of the attendees and greatly enlivened the whole venue.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/33lKDHY #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.08.18
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Holding of the Ashoka Youth Social Venture Fundraising Pitch Event On July 20, Ashoka Japan held the Ashoka Youth Social Venture Fundraising Pitch event for the first time. At this event, four Youth Venturers (Daichi Yano, Shu Kudo, Tadahiro Kobayashi, and Nami Harada) pitched their own projects. Among 100 Youth Venturers, 13 applied and went through the subsequent screening by a panel of Ashoka Fellows and venture capitalist, and the four passed to be finalists. The selection criterion was whether the project would truly create social impact in the future. The audience listened to the pitches by the four finalists, and then decide how much and to which one(s) to donate. To raise funds, the four earnestly presented their own awareness of issues, determination to take action, project plans, what they would use the funds for, and project strategy. The attendees made some keen observations and asked them some pointed questions. The program unfolded in lively atmosphere of positive feedback which lasted three hours. Such programs held by Ashoka Japan will keep inspiring and encouraging the resolution of social issues in the future.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2Yzknvc #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.08.11
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Empowering Kids Through Involvement Ashoka Fellow Ximena Abogabir, a mother to three Changemaker children, was interviewed by Ashoka and shared some of her philosophy for parenting: "I always involved them in my work and my main message was that work is fun and you can do amazing things. I never said 'thank God it is Friday' because first studying and then work is how I found my best friends and had my best moments. When I brought work home, I always asked them to work together with me. Even when we went on vacation, we would bring paper and pencils and make posters to invite the kids to activities we would organize for the local community. The money we raised we used to build a school."   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/31nGEsQ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.08.10
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Rejuvenating Depopulated Rural Areas by Emerging Urban Professionals Kenji Hayashi, an Ashoka fellow since 2017, launched FoundingBase in Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture as a means to create pathways for emerging urban professionals to build their careers and lives in rural areas.By “recruiting young people from top universities and proving that smaller towns may be more open to new ideas than cities” he is ensuring new, multi-faceted possibilities for growth. Through FoundingBase, Kenji is essentially aiming to create two critical mindset shifts: the first is challenging the idea that rural areas are not for "urban elites" but instead they can be places to grow and thrive; the other is encouraging rural municipalities to seek new sources of innovation and inspiration to conquer current depopulation. Kenji said that he is more than welcome to have international collaborations or visitors who are deeply interested in his work. https://www.ashoka.org/en-US/story/kenji-hayashi-foundingbase   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/31kUJqS #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.08.02
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Personal Reflection during the Youth Changemakers Exchange Anna Milstein, one of the Youth Venturers who participated in the Youth Changemakers Exchange (YCX) program, which is one of the the activities of Ashoka Japan, looked back on the precious experience in the Youth Venture blog. "Through this trip—particularly as a result of interactions with students at Swarthmore — I realized the power that people hold when they pursue what they want, regardless of whether or not if it fits the mold of 'social entrepreneur'. The students were so energetic and full of joy because they were doing what they loved, and they radiated this uplifting energy that in turn made me happy and fulfilled as well. Regardless of my future occupation, I want to become someone who can make others happy with this kind of positive energy." https://medium.com/ashoka-japan/yce-reflection-b76480fc9085   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2K9mDPI #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.08.08
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
New Range of Issues and the Diversity of Potential Solutions Anna Milstein, one of the Youth Venturers who participated in the Youth Changemakers Exchange (YCX) program, which is one of the activities of Ashoka Japan, submitted a contribution about her experience in the program to the Youth Venture blog. During her visit to the Social Innovation Lab, where Youth Venturers and Swarthmore students shared their passions and projects with one another, Anna learned about a new range of issues that awakened her to the diversity of potential solutions. These included fascinating ideas from organizing a theater exchange program with Cuban peers to promoting household insulation, and further to spreading awareness of menstrual health. https://medium.com/ashoka-japan/yce-3-25-ab8e90b9419d   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2YwdkT5 #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER