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
2019.04.11
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Supporting the Collection of Funds for NPOs—'Heroes’ Takumi Banjoya of Kobe University was selected to be a Youth Venturer in 2018. At present, he is providing support for fundraising related to NPOs through his project ‘Heroes’ (https://note.mu/npoheroes). His activities grew out of the difficulties he experienced in getting funds for living while spending time on the activities of NPOs and student groups. He says that he felt doubts about the current circumstances that make it difficult for activities which benefit society to breed economic value. He also says that the community he now runs has a membership of 13 groups that share a platform for information and learning. Fundraising is an issue for many small and medium-sized NPOs, and he asserts that he is supporting it through provision of actual know-how and coaching. The representative of an NPO group contracted for coaching that is engaged in social activities alone told him, “It’s nice to have someone who can think with you.” He said this comment is supplying the driving force for his activities. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.04.03
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Putting Smiles on Children’s Faces through Basketball: Activities of ‘WINg kumamoto’ Seiichi Ogasawara is a Youth Venturer who created an activity so that elementary and middle school students in Kumamoto prefecture would be able to play basketball outside as part of support provided immediately after the major earthquake in April 2016. In December 2016, he was certified as an Ashoka Youth Venturer and began collecting funds. Over the next two years, he obtained 252 basketballs and installed 11 basketball hoops. Last year, he registered his organization ‘WINg kumamoto’ (https://wingbbwing.wixsite.com/wing) as a corporation and engaged in activities such as supporting the local team in the ‘B.LEAGUE’ (a pro basketball league launched in Japan) and organized basketball events. Voicing his feelings at present, he confided that management as a social entrepreneur is not a smooth path. On the podium, he spoke openly about the current situation and asked for advice and opinions from the audience. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.04.02
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Uruka Naruge—Desire to Build Ties between Teachers and Students Uruka Naruge, one of Ashoka Japan’s Youth Venturer, says she felt that schools provided few opportunities for dialogue between students and their teachers with peace of mind. In response, she initiated activities to build mutually understanding relationships between the two sides. The focus of her activities for the past year was to create a place of dialogue through workshops. Though there were over 10 participants in the first two workshops, she felt that the group work with many people tended to make for one-way communication, with participants merely expressing their views. She consequently switched to activities with small groups consisting of one teacher and two or three students each. However, while this approach produced smoother communication, it made her wonder whether the experience was being applied in each school. She says she is now considering measures for conducting such activities inside schools so that the activity will be more beneficial. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.04.03
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‘12th WE ARE THE CHANGE’ Ashoka Youth Venture Panel Screening On March 17, Ashoka Japan held the ‘12th WE ARE THE CHANGE’ event. Ashoka Japan certifies youth aged 12–20 who act to make changes on issues they sense in society as Ashoka Youth Venturers (YVer) and also provides them with a testing platform enabling them to freely take up challenges without fear of failure. Three new groups of YVers were born certified at this latest screening. One was Tsubasa Higashi (14), whose personal experience of difficulties in use of existing programming materials motivated him to act toward the goal of making new ones. The second consisted of Koremitsu Adachi (15) and Kanan Nozaki (14), who are engaged in activities for dissemination of information about garbage problems to foreign visitors. And the third was Syu Kudo (20), who launched and is operating the NPO Japan Vegan Community. The three newly certified YVers are pursuing activities using the start-up funding and various resources from Ashoka Japan. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.12.10
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Skills Enabling “Transilience” – the Transfer of Capabilities Advocated by MAAM - La maternità è un master. MAAM, the professional training program constructed by Ms. Riccarda Zezza, an Ashoka Fellow, can promote growth as a professional in vital fields with regard to three types of skills: relational skills, organizational skills, and innovation skills. MAAM is a program aimed at polishing capabilities for “transilience,” meaning the transfer of skills acquired by the “parental brain” obtained when becoming a parent, for application in the workplace. Based on her interviews with organizations that have introduced it, Ms. Zezza says that MAAM produces results in the form of “a tendency for staff to be more open and inclined to take up challenges.” “MAAM is not just for women who become mothers; it is a program that can be used by anyone,” insisted Ms. Zezza. She added that she wants to give the program, which is now being offered in Italian and English, a multilingual availability next year. There are high hopes for MAAM, which can impart capabilities sufficient for changing not just the work style but also the whole corporate culture. https://www.maam.life/en/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2018.12.09
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Italian-born MAAM - La maternità è un master: Capabilities Developed Through Child-Raising also Shine at the Office. On top of the lagging pace of their empowerment, women have long faced a crisis situation when they became mothers. The crisis was rooted in the superstition that people are at a disadvantage when they have many roles. This view, nevertheless, was found to be untrue by scientific studies carried out in the 1980s in the field of sociology. These studies shed light on advantages, to the effect that people with more roles tend to have more resources (knowledge, information, and human networks). It was also learned that women were more inclined than men to get opportunities and have positive feelings about themselves. By building on this store of scientific evidence, MAAM was completed as a training program for polishing capabilities that can be of use in actual work. Ms. Riccarda Zezza, an Italian who has served as a manager in huge companies such as Microsoft and Nokia, was motivated to make studies and establish theory by the hardship she experienced during her own pregnancy. At present, MAAM has been introduced as a program for building leadership skills at administrative institutions and companies inside and outside Italy. https://www.maam.life/en/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING

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