U.S.-Japan Dialogues Between Social Innovators

Video Series: U.S.-Japan Dialogues Between Social Innovators

Three social entrepreneurs from Tohoku engage in dialogues with their counterparts in New Orleans, LA and Wilmington, OH, sharing their respective efforts, lessons learned and future plans for helping their communities recover from natural disasters and economic crisis. Entrepreneurs include many alumni from "U.S.-Japan Leaders Exchange: Three-Year Training & Networking Program for Leaders in Tohoku’s Recovery and Reconstruction," a multi-year program organized by Japan Society in 2013-16 in partnership with ETIC., a leading Japanese non-profit dedicated to nurturing social entrepreneurs.


Video #1: Dialogue between Andrea Chen and Tomoyuki Wada

Featured Social Entrepreneurs:
Andrea Chen, CEO, Propeller (New Orleans, LA)
Tomoyuki Wada, CEO, Odaka Workers Base, Ltd. (Minami Soma, Fukushima prefecture)

Reunited for the first time since they participated in the U.S.-Japan Leaders Exchange Program in 2013-2016, Wada and Chen discuss the importance of entrepreneurship for recovery and how to create an environment to nurture entrepreneurs. The conversation highlights the lessons he learned through Chen and Propeller during his visit to New Orleans and how he has applied those lessons to his current business of running a co-working space for entrepreneurs in Odaka.


Video #2: Dialogue between Yohei Komatsu and Allison Plyer

Featured Social Entrepreneurs:
Yosuke Komatsu, President, Asu e no Kibo (Hope for Tomorrow) (Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture)
Allison Plyer, Chief Demographer, The Data Center (New Orleans, LA)

Komatsu was inspired by his visit to the Data Center in New Orleans during his participation in the U.S.-Japan Leaders Exchange Program in 2013-2016 and Plyer’s work in creating a data book to facilitate reconstruction and community rebuilding post-Hurrican Katrina. Reunited years later, Komatsu shares with Plyer how he has created a similar data book in Onagawa to identify issues, conduct simulations and find better solutions for the town’s recovery. The two entrepreneurs discuss how data can help communities rebuild after a disaster, including Plyer’s efforts to use data to address the challenges in New Orleans during the global pandemic.


Video #3: Dialogue between Taylor Stuckert and Kyoko Watanabe, with Toru Hiji

Featured Social Entrepreneurs:
Kyoko Watanabe, CEO, Makigumi, LLC (Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture)
Taylor Stuckert, Executive Director, Clinton County Regional Planning Commission; Co-Founder, Energize Clinton County in Ohio
Toru Hiji, President, NEXT Cabinet Iwate (Otsuchi, Iwate)

Stuckert and Hiji, two participants of the U.S.-Japan Leaders Exchange Program in 2013-2016, are reunited to have a conversation with Watanabe, who runs a business of renovating real estate left vacant by the disaster. The three social entrepreneurs share their perspectives on promoting creativity to rebuild communities, their lessons learned from exchanges with U.S./Japanese counterparts, and areas where more U.S.-Japan exchanges can be valuable.

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