Finding future social entrepreneurs from within Japan. Actively recruiting and cultivating next generation Changemakers. -Ashoka Japan

REPORT 03

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The savior of a deserted farming village

imageWatching Japan's bubble economy collapse in 1995, experienced business consultant Hisashi Sonehara thought hard about the future of the aging population trapped within Japan's urban-centric economy and decided to act. He relocated to a rural village in Yamanashi Prefecture, where he single-handedly rejuvenated abandoned farmland and started a forestry business.

Within a few years, he became successful. His background of growing up in a rural farming village had certainly helped him, but there was more to it than that.

Abandoned farmland, disused plantations and beautiful wild landscape: the overlooked rural treasure

imageFarming villages all over Japan are suffering from declining populations, as younger generations leave to find work in urban areas. The aged farmers left behind cannot carry on alone, and as a result there are now 400,000 hectares of abandoned farmland in Japan. That's an area twice the size of Tokyo, which is the world's largest metropolitan area.

The countryside's future didn't look bright, but Hisashi’s entrepreneurial antennae sensed that there was treasure to be had. These lands are not wasted; they are still assets. Why not use them to create something new? His Yamanashi village has a winning combination of resources: farmland, plantations, long daylight hours, clean water, and abundance of natural beauty. He set out to build a 21st century green industry and has not looked back.

Connections are key

imageHisashi’s extraordinary success in his first attempt is the result of his unique combination of agricultural knowledge and business acumen. Knowing that he can't transform Japan's rural economy alone, he’s been running educational programs all over Japan to raise more entrepreneurs like him. Already some 200 new business startups have come about due to his courses.

Corporations are also interested in his ideas, and the “Corporate Farm” program is proving to be very popular. Changemaker and Ashoka fellow Hisashi Sonehara's blueprint for the future would generate a million jobs and create an industry worth ten trillion Japanese Yen in the next decade. This is not just a dream: it's a realistic action plan.

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ANA BLUE WING
2020.02.28
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Report of an Ashoka Fellow’s Visit to Japan   Last December, Ashoka Japan held their annual “Ashoka Japan Speaker Series” event which invites Ashoka Fellows from around the world to come to Japan to share their ideas and initiatives. Taking to the rostrum this time was Ashoka Fellow Hasina Kharbhih. She created the internationally acknowledged Impulse Model (former Meghalaya Model) - a comprehensive tracking system that successfully connects the state government, security agencies, lawyers, media, educational institutions, and citizen organizations to combat the cross-border trafficking and forced labor of children in not only her home country of India but also Nepal Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The model starts out by using the ‘three Ps’: Policing, Protection and Press to find Changemakers within society. Ashoka's website described her plan as "a single comprehensive strategic plan that enables government and citizen groups to jointly implement the 'six Ps': Partnerships, Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution with the 'six Rs': reporting, rescue, rehabilitation, repatriation, re-integration, re-compensation. By enabling people with different roles to communicate and share data more efficiently, these 12 pillars help create a Shared Leadership through which the different actors can solve the various complex issues surrounding this problem. https://www.ashoka.org/en/fellow/hasina-kharbhih *Shared leadership is a leadership style that broadly distributes leadership responsibility, such that people within a team and organization lead each other.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/32rJQ8w #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2020.03.01
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Systems Change   ANA BLUE WING supports Changemakers and their dreams to make this world better by subsidizing their airfares. Ashoka Japan is one of the Changemakers BLUE WING supports. “Systems Change” is a term Ashoka Japan uses to describe a fundamental approach to solving problems in society. They elect social entrepreneurs implementing such initiatives as Ashoka Fellows. The impact is fundamentally deep, "Ashoka Fellows tackle the root causes of an issue, as opposed to a surface level change which only addresses symptoms". Ashoka believes that "the most powerful force for good is a system changing idea in the hands of a formidable social entrepreneur". Ashoka’s selection process is anchored by five basic criteria against which all Fellow candidates are evaluated: 1. The knockout test: A New Idea Each idea is evaluated historically and against its contemporaries in the field, looking for innovation and real change potential. 2. Creativity Does this individual have a vision of how he or she can meet some human need better than it has been met before? 3. Entrepreneurial quality of the candidate This defines leaders who see opportunities for change and innovation and devote themselves entirely to making that change happen. 4. Social impact of the idea Ashoka is only interested in the ideas that it believes will change the field significantly and that will trigger nationwide or worldwide impact or, for smaller countries, broader regional change. 5. The Ethical fiber of the candidate Ashoka evaluates each candidate’s trustworthiness rigorously.   https://bit.ly/2Vns4li https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/ashoka_japan/ #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2020.03.02
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Celebrating Over 100 Cohorts of Youth Venturers November 23rd was the 39th Youth Venture Panel Screening in Tokyo which was a milestone having now a recognized total of 102 teams (approx. 400 teammates) since 2012. Three candidates between ages 15-17, presented their actions in front of a panel of four panelists: a businessperson, a journalist, an NPO CEO, and a former Ashoka Youth Venturer elected in 2016. Ashoka describes a Youth Venturer as a young person under 20 years old who possesses not only the ability to see a problem but also the courage to incubate a solutive idea.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2Pv0RcK #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.10.26
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Ashoka - Supporting Changemakers Striving to Devise Fundamental Solutions for Social Issues Ashoka is the world's largest global network of social entrepreneurs, which includes Changemakers trying to improve society around the world. On September 21, it held the Ashoka Innovation Talk as part of Social Innovation Week Shibuya 2019. One of the takeaways of this talk was Director of Ashoka Japan Nana Watanabe’s assertion that "Investment of human resources and funds in people who are devising initiatives linked to the fundamental solution of social issues multiplies the effect several times over." She added that the eyes of the world are on Japan’s innovation for its rapidly aging society. As the moderator on the day of the program, together with two social entrepreneurs involved in social welfare and preventative medicine, she brought the venue to life.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/2qr16Mf #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.10.27
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Turning a Solution to Personal Challenges into a Solution for Society Masue Katayama is the founder of Shinko Fukushikai, a social welfare corporation that commenced childcare business in 1986 and opened nursing care facilities offering affordable and quality services in 1991. She is a pioneer who changed the mindset and values toward nursing care for the aged. Katayama took part in the Ashoka Innovation Talk being held as part of Social Innovation Week Shibuya 2019, in Tokyo, where she shared with the audience how setting up (then “unorthodox”) facilities to provide care services that didn’t already exist later evolved into a business model to satisfy greater social needs. She has just signed the partnership with Home Instead Senior Care, an American Company, to provide services not covered by long-term care insurance such as that which allows seniors to enjoy a quality of life in their own home. This service will start in 2020.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/32pVsb7 #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.10.25
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The Next Challenge - Mobility Healthcare Takashi Kawazoe is the founder and CEO of Carepro, Inc. (http://carepro.co.jp/), the company behind the One-Coin Healthcare Checkup, a service enabling people to check their health in just 5 - 10 minutes, for just 500 yen. Kawazoe told the story behind the service’s inception at the Ashoka Innovation Talk as part of Social Innovation Week Shibuya 2019, in Tokyo. “More than 30 million people with restricted access to physical examinations is a business opportunity,” he noted, explaining that the medical industry is heavily regulated, so hard work and lobbying through the Ashoka Network had been key to obtaining guidelines from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. He is now developing mobility healthcare services for the roughly two million people with poor access to transportation. The target includes families with infants and toddlers, the disabled, and the aged with restricted mobility.   For more information about Ashoka Japan’s projects, please visit our website, click here. https://bit.ly/33HDAsw #ashokajapan #ANABLUEWING

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