Ms. Yukie Kimura was born in Osaka in 1978. She experienced melting glass for the first time when she was 17 years old. Fascinated by the indescribable charm of glass, she trained herself in glass melting and blowing techniques in Otaru after graduating from high school.
Although Ms. Kimura wanted to set up as an independent glass artist, she experienced a mental break down due to the strict work environment. She left Otaru two years later and worked as a glass crafting instructor in her hometown of Osaka, as well as gaining experience at a private workshop studio in Yokohama.
In 2009, she and her husband moved back to Otaru, her husband’s hometown, where they decided to re-open Hokkaido’s oldest pottery kiln “Otaru Oven Shirase Toen.”
After seven months of repairing and refurbishing the oven, they were able to open up her own workshop, “Yukie Glass” in September of 2010. Ms. Kimura now creates vivid and colorful original works like aroma pots, art pieces, and glass wares as well as accessories such as pendants and earrings, fighting with melted, blazing glass in 1,200 degree Celsius day and night.
Venture capitalist Nippon Technology Venture Partners (NTVP)
Mr. Kazutaka Muraguchi was born in Kaifu-gun, Tokushima Prefecture in 1958.
Directing Shakespeare plays in a club when studying in Keio University opened his eyes to the possibiities of building something from scratch if he could devote himself for half a year. As that experience became his foundation as a company employee, he made advanced achievements in investing start-up companies such as Ain Pharmaciez Inc.(Pharmacy), Japan Care Service Corporation(first listed nursing company), Broccoli Co., Ltd.(first listed entertainment-related company).
In 1998, Mr. Muraguchi established the first Investment Limited Partnership run by individuals in Japan, where he succeeded in investing DeNA(BayStars), Infoteria Corporation, Water Direct Corporation, Awa Paper Mfg. Co., Ltd., Experian Japan Co., Ltd., JapanCableCast inc., and etc. Now, his interest goes to IoT, robots, cpypto-currency, and so forth.
Further, Mr. Muraguchi carries out “Youth Entrepreneurship Program” in Chiba City, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Incorporated, Keio University, Seikei University, Kyushu University, Fukuoka University, Yokohama City University,Shinagawa Joshi Gakuin, Ikubunkan Yume Gakuen, Kaifu High School, and so on while he has been serving as a lecturer at Keio Business School since 2007.
With his belief that “Japan in the 21st century should be where unique, independent, individual, and nameless young entrepreneurs challenge frontier business of the unknown future from scratch as a job maker,” he insists on changes of preconceived ideas.
Mr. Muraguchi is also known as an advocate of “Furusato(Hometown) Tax,” which allows taxpayers to allocate parts of their taxes for other municipality. His latest book is “私は、こんな人になら、金を出す！(I Want to Invest Money for a Man Like This!)” (Kodansha).
Ishiya Co., Ltd. President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Hajime Ishimizu was born in 1982 in Sapporo. After receiving a business law degree from Toho University, he pursued entrepreneurship in the Graduate School of Commerce at the Otaru University of Commerce. He joined Ishiya Confectionery and took the position as the CEO president of the company in July 2013.
The father of Mr. Ishimizu was the previous president and in childhood he grew up watching his back. He was happy to put a lot of time and effort into his confectionery research even during his holidays because of the close connection he feels towards making sweets and the joy and delightfulness it brings him.
After entering Ishiya Co., Ltd., he has gone through various departments such as manufacturing, sales promotion, finance, quality control, and product development and has come to find both pleasure and hardship in manufacturing and promoting confectionery in each department. Through his own these experiences he aspires to offer customers the opportunities to enjoy, feel, and taste happiness in his products.
This vision has inspired him to continue his pursuit for creativity and originality.
Through confectionery, he is also aiming to contribute to society by cultivating culture and education. As a Hokkaido based company, he also endeavors to convey the values and charms of Hokkaido, as well as giving importance to become a leader in the tourism industry.
Ms. Chiori Ito was born in Sapporo. Having parents of art teachers, she loved making crafts in her childhood. She graduated from the Course for Interior Design, Department of Industrial Designs at Joshibi Universty of Art and Design in 1990. After working at an architectural design office, in 1992 she obtained grant from Danish government to study further in Denmark for two years. While learning furniture and spatial design, Ms. Ito was fascinated by the Scandinavian design, which always has its base in the local lifestyle and presents such locality to the world. Later on, she became a freelance designer based in Sapporo, to establish Chiori Ito Design in 1999. Mainly designing furniture and daily commodities in collaboration with woodwork manufacturers in Hokkaido, she also delivers her original items as Chiori Design and plans the interior for public buildings — she produces widely from a butter knife to public spaces.
In 2000, Ms. Ito finished the Master’s course on Art Education at Hokkaido University of Education. Besides designing, she now teaches part-time at Hokkai-Gakuen University and Tokai University, as well as at public design workshops, to promote the joy and role of designs.
Her work is particularly well-known with Soramame Stool (from BC-Kobo), ‘Kimino Isu (Your Chair) Project’ in 2007, interior coordination for Higashikawa Primary School and Higashikawa Community Center, and Chiori Design Paper Wreath, among many others.
Professor of Mathematical and Physical Ethology Lab,
Research Center of Mathematics for Social Creativity,
Research Institute for Electronic Science at Hokkaido University
Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1963, Prof. Nakagaki liked to wander around hills and fields, and grew up with interests in animals and plants. What gave him joy in elementary school was P.E., and art classes. The fact that he was captivated to lithe movements of animals and formative arts of morphology even at that time, demonstrates that Prof. Nakagaki was a child with enthusiasm for organisms.
Fascinated by nature and cultural envionment of Hokkaido Prefecture, he entered Hokkaido University. He concentrated on art club activities for the first half of college life and dedicated himself to study as a pharmacy major student for the latter half. After receiving a master’s degree, he worked for five years in a pharmaceutial company as a medicine researcher.
Resigning the job at the age of 30, Prof. Nakagaki entered a master’s program in a course of Human and Information Science at Nagoya University. While working as a part-time teacher in a part-time high school, he earned Ph.D. when he was 33 years old. Before getting his current post, he had worked as a research scientist in a Japan’s national reserach institute called RIKEN, an assistant professor at Hokkaido University, and a professor in School of Systems Information Science at Future University Hakodate.
Focusing on animals’ wiseness that composes physical phenomenon, Prof. Nakagaki mainly researches single-cell organisms and evaluates its level of wiseness in order to grasp its mechanism by something like equation of motion in physics. And further, engaged in researches day and night, Prof. Nakagaki hopes to understand algorithm of organisms’ information processing.
He was awarded the Ig Novel Prize in 2008 and 2010. He published a book, “粘菌 偉大なる単細胞が人類を救う (Slime mold, the great single cell will save mankind)” (Bunshun Shinsho).
Heir to the culture of the Ainu tradition/Traditional Ainu paper cutout artist,
Ainu pattern designer/Ainu roots musician, Successor of Ainu traditional dance
Born in 1972 and raised in an Ainu community, he was introduced to the art of traditional Ainu paper cutouts at a very young age. His works are a harmony of the Ainu and Japanese cultures involving Washi and Chiyogami patterns, both traditional Japanese styles of paper. His designs are reputed for their vibrance of energy. He is the successful founder of Ainu Design Products.
As a Tonkori (Five-stringed Japanese harp from Sakhalin) and Mukkuri (Ainu bamboo jaw harp) artist, he has released his first album “INONNO” in 2008 and is currently working on his second album.
Not only is he actively performing and giving monthly paper cutout classes, he conducts workshops on Upopo singing, Rimse dancing and paper cutout art at daycare centers nursing homes and other educational institutions.
He projects revolve around the hands-on belief he himself has been given that “handing down the gift of our ancestors to future generations will contribute in molding the tradition of Hokkaido into the future.”
Professor of Graduate School of Media Design Studies at Keio University
Born in Tokyo in 1954, Mr. Furukawa graduated from Azabu High School. He majored in Human Studies at Wako University, but left to join ASCII Corporation in 1979. He build their publishing and software development business. He served as a director from 1982 to his retirement in 1986.
In 1986, Mr. Furukawa established Microsoft KK, the precursor of Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd., and served as the first president. In 1991, he served as a CEO and a director of Far Eastern Development Department, and a Vice President for Microsoft USA, and in 2004 as the Chief Technical Officer for Microsoft KK. He has led the IT industry in Japan from an early stage.
He resigned from Microsoft KK in 2005. After his retirement, he started to contribute his energy to develop younger members. In 2007, he became one of the project manager for Exploratory IT Human Resources Project “The MITOH Program” by Information-technology Promotion Agency. He also started his present career at Graduate School of Media Design Studies, Keio University in 2008. He supervised and supported to develop “Chromatic Glass,” which is a color vision assistance tool for people with a color vision deficiency and used in more than 110 countries, and “READYFOR?,” which is the first cloud funding service in Japan. He focuses more energy on to discover, develop, and support younger members who will be successful innovators in the design, technology, management and policy fields.
In 2010, he became an outside director in Renesas Technology Corporation and a director in ewoman Inc., which is his current post.
Mr. Furukawa is an enthusiastic railfan from a young age and loves model railroading. As his spectacular scenic railway photo collections consisting of pictures taken from a chartered helicopter have been highly-praised, he is also well-known as a railway photographer. In 2014, he suffered a cerebral infarction. After a stroke, he paralyzed on one side of the body and had speech difficulty. However, he is recovering from them dramatically by earnest rehabilitation.