How I Met the Unlikely Guru, Mr. Harada

It feels like a nonsense plot twist in life that I ended up here, and yet peculiarly makes sense somehow. Acquiring the bachelor and masters degree at the University of Tokyo, I took a job at a middle-scale IT venture company, directing the development of a mobile game for one year, and then moved on to a 4-member startup, doing, well, pretty much everything for the growth of its video-streaming web service.

Two years later, here I am, throwing away the tech-company uniform of T-shirts and jeans, getting out of snappy vibes and hip-hop BGM at the office, engaged in a mission of giving hope and future to the world. Going back a little bit, how I met Mr. Takeo Harada, our president, is all but spectacular. I applied for the job on Indeed, and he interviewed me.

I clicked on the job for the “international CSR activities” at a think tank simply because I was curious what it would be about. And the interview, then, made me still more curious and uncomfortably lost at the same time. He asserted that the world is going to be “Pax Japonica” in the close future, that Japan is going to be the driving force to bring peace to the ever uncertain world.

Mr. Harada talks “Pax Japonica” with his trademark speech style (in Japanese)

My reaction to that was actually quite neutral. He, with his trademark crispy and fast-paced speech, gave me a series of reasons to back that up, some convincing and others I had a hard time digesting. I was still interested enough in the idea that I proceeded to read some of his books and other publications, and it grew on me to the point, “maybe”. “It should be entertaining to give it a try, making Japan great again, perhaps,” thus I thought. (I need to clarify this is not my current attitude, obviously)

One reason, probably not the main one, for tilting towards the idea might have been because I was doing an English teacher on the side back then. As I struggled with teaching, I always found it frustrating that being Japanese has become a big handicap in the globalized world if only because English is too different from Japanese for many of us to even get the hang of it. If Japan can become the center of the world and being Japanese can be a huge advantage, it’s kind of nice for us, I remember my thinking went.

So we both agreed that I take the job, building up the team of international CSR, Global Leadership Unit. I know that you might be a little confused or even frustrated how I have kept the main concept of this blog and the institute hazy and eschewing the core part. No worries, I and my colleagues will start posting more on our vision and activities and gradually make things crystalize for you. To tell you the truth, we will also be learning about the ideas as we do this, and we are excited to be able to discuss them with you as well. See you all next week.

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