Akishibu project Visits the Nippon Foundation to Increase the Organization’s Activity Reach to Younger People

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Akishibu project Visits the Nippon Foundation to Increase the Organization’s Activity Reach to Younger People

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On March 7, 2016, idol group Akishibu project visited the Nippon Foundation to participate in a lecture about the foundation’s activities. They also conducted an interview with chairman head Yohei Sasagawa. Each of the group’s eight members asked him some questions. The foundation’s initiatives even seemed to give support the young idol group, too.


The reason for Akishibu Project’s visit had to do with their spot in the Nippon Foundation’s TV CM “SHARE” series.

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During the first part of their visit, the members heard lectures from each project leader.
・What is the Nippon Foundation?
・The Myanmar Peace-building Support Project
・The Leprosy Awareness Campaign “THINK NOW Leprosy”
・The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center

The Nippon Foundation uses financial resources obtained from BOAT RACE (a boat racing organization) to implement a variety of social activities. This is based on the original definition of “social innovation”, explained as providing activity funds to each support group and so on. Specifically, they explained their three initiatives: the “Myanmar Peace-building Support Project”, “THINK NOW Leprosy”, and the “Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center”.

They formed a joint office aimed at the sports associations of the Paralympic Games, in order to facilitate communication between organizations. At their new office, just finished in November of last year, they introduced the Paralympic Games, among other things, to the group.

And the end of their visit they conducted an interview with the chairman of the foundation, Yohei Sasakawa. Let’s see their questions and answers.


Miyatani: “How did you feel when you visited several countries?”


Chairman: “It made me feel that Japan was the safest country in the world. It made me glad to be born in a country like Japan, where you’re not responsible for protecting yourself.”

Kera: “Please tell me how you first got involved in this kind of support?”


Chairman: “From the fact that we all make up one world. When you look down at the earth from space, you can’t see any borders. You cannot see the strife. It’s not easy to eliminate all of the strife going on in the world, but it can only be done through action and not words.

Iseki: “What surprised you the most when you were abroad?”


Chairman: “I’ve visited 128 countries to date, and Japan is the best out of all of those countries. So please take pride in being Japanese.”

Ishikawa: “You’ve been to many countries, but did you study any of their languages?”


Chairman: “I can’t speak any other languages. Perhaps if I could speak every language in the world, I’d fall in love.” (laugh)

Arakawa: “Please tell me about a time you felt an impacted from your work.”

Chairman: “I feel impacted by it everyday. Knowing that I was going to be able to meet with you all today, I couldn’t sleep last night and woke up at 4:30 a.m. Then I did some push-ups and takefumi (bamboo) exercise, took a shower, and put on some cologne.” (laugh)

Arakawa: “Have you ever hit any walls with your work?”


Chairman: “Yes, but there isn’t any man-made problem that can’t be resolved. Like a game of Japanese chess, you can work it out in a number of ways using your intuition. If you enjoy the process, there are no negative problems, only positive thinking.”

Funaki: “Are there any younger people participating as volunteers and the like?”


Chairman: “The number of university-age participants is increasing. People volunteer as a part of university course work, or get involved to become part of something. Because none of us can live completely on our own, we want everyone to have that spirit of helping others.”

Taguchi: “Is there anything we can do right now to help those in trouble?”

Chairman: “Japanese society was built in the spirit of helping others. There are those who are elderly, blind, or people who have intellectual disabilities. But if those who are well off and leave these people to different institutions, then there are only those who are considered healthy remaining. In that way people stop caring about those who are different. Though your fans, I hope you can build a society where people help one another.”


We talked to the members of Akishibu project about how they felt after their visit. It seems like each of them felt inspired afterward. Will Akishibu project’s work also include “social innovation” in the future? We’ll be waiting to see!

Ami Iseki
When we went to visit the Nippon Foundation, I was reminded again of the richness in my life. From now on I’ll do my best to make everyone smile.

Hinako Kera
By listening to what the people at the Japan Foundation had to say, were able to get to know it better. There’s a lot about the world I don’t know, and I realized that I only know about the brighter parts of it. I want to be able to do something for others. In order to be useful, I want to become an asset in the minds of others.

Yuna Arakawa
When I listed to today’s talk and we found out about the many problems in places we hadn’t been aware of, I felt blessed to have grown up in a very privileged environment. That’s why I think we have to learn more about social issues that are happening in the world right now, and face them head on together. Even as a group, we can help lead activities that give assistance to people in need.

Saori Funaki
My family is involved in social work, and we have about five or so welfare facilities in the area, and because I’ve been involved there myself many times, I’m thankful that I was able to listen and learn something today!

Miiro Taguchi
Today I was able to learn many things about the world I wasn’t aware of by visiting the Japan Foundation. I was able to rethink how, even just a little, I can be there for people who are in need, and listening to the chairman speak directly, I’m thankful to have heard him speak about so many beneficial and important life topics. From now I’d like to think about what we can do and act accordingly. Thank you very much!

Emiri Otani
I felt like this was a very valuable visit, and that I was able to learn many things I hadn’t know about the Nippon Foundation. I want to take pride in the things I can do know, and continue working as much as possible to bring smiles to more people.

Yue Miyatani
The thing I felt most was that there are still so many things we don’t know about the world. Today’s visit to the Nippon Foundation shed a little bit of light on these things for me, and made me think about what I can do. The thing that especially left a deep impression on me was Chairman Sasagawa’s answer to my question, “During all your years of work, which moment made you the happiest?” where he answered, “Every day.” I want to become the kind of person that has the confidence to say that I find every day rewarding.

Natsumi Ishikawa
Because of our visit today to the Japan Foundation, I was able to learn about many things I hadn’t been aware of, and that a lot of things were different from what I had originally thought. I was able to think about my future life from now on and re-focus myself again. I want to go to many places and make the many people in need there happy. Thank you very much!


Related Sites
The Nippon Foundation :
Akishibu project Official Site :

Translated by Jamie Koide

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Toshiro Arai

A producer of website "TOKYO IDOL NET", which "photography" and "idol" is its concept. He also writes for Tokyo Idol Project, and so on.

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