Dilena Takeyama Center to Host Nikkei Social Innovators Exchange

February 19, 2016
Image of event photo
Slippers and shoes washed ashore after the Tohoku disaster.


The Dilena Takeyama Center will host a one-day dialogue and forum on Saturday, March 19 for young people open to exploring new ideas for engaging in Japan and the Nikkei community.

The Nikkei Social Innovators Exchange will be conducted in collaboration with iLEAP of Seattle to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku disaster. The forum will enable Bay Area innovators to meet with participants in iLEAP's Social Innovation in Seattle Program, a 5-week program for social entrepreneurs and community leaders, age 18-25, who are making a positive difference in Japan.

Three iLEAP scholars from Japan will participate in the exchange at SFSU on Saturday, March 19, from 10 am to 4 pm in the Humanities Symposium Room, Humanities Building, Room 587, on campus.

  • Kan Kikumoto, a Sophia University student studying English, who initiated an LGBT student club at his university and traveled to Tohoku under an internship with Human Rights Watch. As an iLEAP scholar, Kan hopes to inspire others to be who they are as well as create a society in Japan that embraces differences in human beings.
  • Yuka Iwabuchi, a Rikkyo University student studying law and politics, whose hometown in the Miyagi area suffered heavy earthquake damage during the 2011 disaster. During an exchange program between Sendai and Dallas, she learned the importance of sharing stories and experiences. She hopes to help high school students gain leadership skills and confidence.
  • Misaki Odashima, a student at Tohoku University studying sociology, responded to the 2011 disaster by organizing TED X Tohoku to attract entrepreneurs to share ideas about building a new future for the region. She hopes to deepen her skills and abilities to make positive change possible in Tohoku.

Britt Yamamoto, founder of iLEAP, will lead participants in an interactive exchange. Invited guest speakers include Kori Saika-Chen, COO of Red Bay Coffee, and Aoi Yamaguchi, master Japanese calligraphy artist, who both consider the social issues in the communities they engage and how they as individuals can make a difference.

Presentations also will be made by Next Generation Nikkei Fund (NGNF), a giving circle inspired by a new generation of leaders with a vision to inspire collaboration and sustainability across Japantowns; and Facing Fukushima: We Are Here; a student journalism reporting exchange project examining hope and recovery in the disaster zone.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, please register via this Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nikkei-social-innovators-exchange-tickets-2...