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Jul 29, 2014

I’ve come up with a new economic law. I’ve christened it the Go Principle. Here it is: Whichever country wins the most international Go championships will also have the most robust economic growth. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Go is a chess-like board game played in a 19x19 grid.)

Here’s my proof.

read more...“The Go Principle:When a game’s more than just a game…”

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Jul 08, 2014

Japan, Asia & the World The Best Leaders Do … Nothing

A few years ago I took part in a conference on leadership at the Aspen Institute. One of the events was a discussion based around the sayings of famous people. I caused a bit of a stir by arguing along with Confucius that the best leader is the leader who does nothing.

Of course, Confucius was being deliberately provocative. He did not mean that a good leader should never do anything whatsoever. I think he meant that the best thing for a leader is to create a well-structured, well-trained and fully-functioning organization—and then stand out the way and let other people get on with their jobs.

read more...“The Best Leaders Do … Nothing”

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Jun 23, 2014

Japan, Asia & the World Goodbye “Salaryman”

As a venture capitalist, I serve on the Japanese government’s Choosing the Future Committee. Our task is to formulate an image of what life will be like in Japan 50 years from now.

The consensus in the media is dire. By the middle of this century, the majority of Japan’s shrinking population will be elderly, while the few young people left to work will be paying heavy taxes to finance their seniors’ pensions and the massive government debt.

read more...“Goodbye “Salaryman””

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Jun 09, 2014

One day in March this year I arrived at work to find a large hand-addressed envelope on my desk. It was an invitation to the Emperor’s annual garden party in Tokyo in April. National politicians, governors, mayors and high-grade civil servants make up the majority of the guests, along with a smattering of sportspeople, entertainers and writers. As only two thousand people get to go, my wife and I felt privileged to be invited.

read more...“The Ultimate Motivational Experience?—The Emperor’s garden party”

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May 22, 2014

Japan, Asia & the World The very first G1 Venture

An undertaking motivated by the belief that innovation originating from entrepreneurs can drive positive changes in Japan and in the world, “G1 Venture” finally got underway on April 29.

The launch of the original “G1 Summit” was a low-key affair that took place at the foot of Mt. Bandai back in February 2009. Two years later, in September 2011, came the launch of “G1 Global,” a conference conducted entirely in English. “G1 Executive Conference” was launched in November 2012, and 2013 saw the launches of “G1 KIBOW Charity Dinner” in June, and “G1 U-40” in July. In February 2014, the first “G1 Region” meeting took place in Fukuoka City, and the long-awaited “G1 Venture” was launched in April.

read more...“The very first G1 Venture”

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May 20, 2014

Japan, Asia & the World 4 Secrets to Building Brand Presence

Brands exist in the mind of the beholder. If no one knows your brand, then it’s irrelevant how good your actual business is. As far as the general public is concerned, you simply don’t exist.

Communication is key to getting any startup business off the ground and to maintaining long-term forward momentum.

My communication playbook—I’ll be talking mainly about corporate and service brands here—is based on four simple principles.

read more...“4 Secrets to Building Brand Presence”

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May 09, 2014

Japan, Asia & the World My First Enyukai

One day in mid-March, I arrived at my office to find a large pale yellow envelope on my desk. On the front was written “堀義人殿 同令夫人 (Mr. and Mrs. Yoshito Hori)” in large calligraphic script running from top to bottom. Inside was an invitation from the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency: “Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress are pleased to invite you to the Enyukai hosted at the Akasaka Imperial Gardens on April 17.”

read more...“My First Enyukai”

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May 07, 2014

Saturday, April 5
Today my third son and I are going on a father-son trip. This is something I do with each of my children: a day trip when they enter elementary school and an overnight trip when they start junior high school. This time our destination is Tsushima Island. I am looking forward to discovering how my son will find the experience, and what I can learn from it.

A column about my first father-son trip, made more than a decade ago, can be found here. (in Japanese)  

There’s also a piece about the trip with my fourth son.
"A trip with my fourth son"

read more...“Father-son trip at the start of junior high: tweets from Tsushima”

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Apr 22, 2014

At the World Economic Forum in Davos this January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered the keynote address kicking off the conference.

Abe spoke about his hopes of counteracting the aging and shrinking of Japan’s population by tapping into the creativity and innovation of the country’s “most under-utilized resource.”

That under-utilized resource is women.

read more...“Bridging the Gender Gap: A Place Where Women Shine”

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Apr 08, 2014

Automation, artificial intelligence and outsourcing are leading to the rapid disappearance of many traditional jobs. Middle-aged people are worrying if their own job will last them to retirement, and if there will be any jobs left at all by the time their kids join the labor market.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2014 listed “structurally high unemployment/underemployment” as No. 2 on a list of ten global risks of highest concern this year.

No wonder that parents everywhere are asking the same question: How can we prepare our children for this hyper-competitive, globalized world?

read more...“Confessions of a Tiger Dad: Preparing Your Kids for Today’s World”

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