BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「Finding future social entrepreneurs from within Japan. Actively recruiting and cultivating next generation Changemakers.」

Ashoka Japan

In 2011 Ashoka opened its doors in Japan. Nana Watanabe, an author specializing in social entrepreneurship, was the guiding force. Working with five Changemakers locally, Ashoka Japan is unlocking the potential of youth innovation to gradually transform Japanese society.

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STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

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Ashoka's system-changing approach yields results in Japan

imageI first became acquainted with Ashoka around the turn of the millennium. Social problem solving had existed in Japan but the effects tended to be short-lived because of a focus on symptoms, rather than root causes. Ashoka's method of diagnosing social problems at the source and executing system-wide reform has demonstrated impact that is thousands -- even tens of thousands -- of times more effective. Japan was facing many issues. I decided we needed Ashoka.

I contacted their headquarters in Washington, D.C., but the initial response was skepticism. I realized then that I needed to provide solid data on the social ills peculiar to our mature society, like youth apathy and the phenomenon of extreme social withdrawal. Ashoka representatives were astonished to learn that reality on the ground was quite different from the image of a prosperous, pre-recession Japan. An Ashoka Country Office in Japan was set up here in 2011, putting us at the starting line at last.

Four Ashoka Fellows lead the way creating Changemakers of the future

imageAfter four-and-a-half years in operation, our impact so far has been modest, to be honest. But thanks to our five fellows, the seeds for transformation have been planted and have started to bear fruit.

Our Ashoka Youth Venture Initiative is on track, empowering the next generation with the spirit of entrepreneurship. 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 have concrete ideas about solutions. They possess empathy. They are introspective, have the courage to take risks, and are resilient in the face of failure. In order to cultivate these traits in young people, we give them total flexibility.

From our Japan launch in 2012 through May of 2016, 69 teams have been formed, with three to five youths each; and we are on track to reach 100 teams by 2017. Some of our alumni have translated their projects into startup companies after graduating from college. By nurturing young Changemakers, the groundwork is being paved for social transformation.

We want to dispel the myth that. “ordinary people can't change society”

To maximize the impact of these seeds of change, structural change within corporations is crucial. Collaboration between Ashoka globally and Boehringer Ingelheim, the 4th largest pharma company in Germany, is undergoing a process . Starting in July, we will launch a corporate outreach program, educating the private sector about Changemaking, and arranging meetings between corporate sponsors and Changemakers.

This outreach is vital. Entrepreneurial, systemic change is not thoroughly understood in Japan. That's because it takes time for results to become apparent, and there is a bias against the idea that ordinary people can effect change.

Cultivating people who can become Changemakers requires starting when they are young. To foster traits like the ability to innovate and empathize, Changemaker schools must be set up at all grade levels. Over 100 Ashoka Changemaker Schools in 28 countries have been certified around the world. We are anxious to get these schools up and running right away in Japan.

Japanese tend to view "small and humble" as a virtue, but I would like us to think beyond our borders. Unless we start focusing on how we ourselves can change the world, broad social transformation will elude us.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Ashoka Japan

Ashoka Japan

Opened in 2011 as Ashoka's first East Asia Country Office. Over four years, five superlative Changemakers have been elected Ashoka Fellows. We support them as a community to magnify the impact of their activities. We are also identifying and cultivating young Changemakers via our Youth Venture Initiative. The idea of "Everyone a Changemaker" guides our daily activities. (Interview with founder and chairperson Nana Watanabe.)

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ANA BLUE WING
2017.04.23
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Happy 5th Anniversary, Ashoka Japan! This year, 17 Ashoka Youth Venturers have graduated university, two of whom went straight to jobs at Ashoka. A third was offered a corporate job but, wanting to be directly involved in changemaking, went to work in an Ashoka Fellow's social business instead. "This is much more than we ever expected!" says Ashoka Japan Chairperson Nana Watanabe. "Ashoka is always 5 to 10 years ahead of the curve. At first no-one took us seriously, but now everyone is racing to catch up with us! The seeds sown five years ago are sprouting. " Join ANA BLUE WING and rock the cradle of future Changemakers, Ashoka Japan. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.04.21
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
The Changemaker Campus. Changemakers look beyond the narrow confines of academic disciplines: they study change! The Ashoka U project to redefine the role of the university has already certified 37 universities from 8 countries as Changemaker Campuses, with another 15 to follow. Japan aims to join in 2020 and last year started a pilot project with a summer camp at Osaki-kamijima in Hiroshima prefecture. ANA BLUE WING shares Ashoka's vision. Why not join us? https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.04.08
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The Miso soup health revolution CarePro founder Takashi Kawazoe’s vision extends beyond simple health-checking: he wants to see a healthier catering industry. Everyone knows that Miso soup – made from fermented soybean paste – is good for your health, but it’s tedious to make properly from scratch for just one or two people. If different variations, with low salt or high calcium, were easily and readily available, everyone’s health would improve. Support ANA BLUE WING and help Takashi start his Miso soup health revolution. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING 翻訳を見る
ANA BLUE WING
2017.04.07
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Win-Win Take a self-health check at a CarePro booth in a supermarket and you might find, as is the trend, that you need to eat more healthily. But fear not, because next to it is a stall selling healthier options. With a health check to sales conversion rate of a whopping 65%, a range of businesses from fitness clubs and mobile phone companies to funeral directors are lining up to exploit CarePro’s instant sales potential. For its creator, Ashoka Fellow, Kawazoe, whose mission is to promote greater health awareness, it's win-win. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2017.04.06
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
The Highest Mountain Recently, BLUE WING helped CarePro founder Takashi Kawazoe to fly to India, a country with low health awareness, and famously difficult for foreign businesses. The Ashoka fellow says: “It’s going to be a real challenge to get established in India, but if you conquer the highest mountain first, then all other mountains are easy!” Join ANA BLUE WING and help Changemakers climb the highest mountains. https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER