Author Archives: Richard Rowland

‘Shibuya Valley’ not ‘Silicon Valley’ for this Japanese Venture Capitalist

‘Shibuya Valley’ not ‘Silicon Valley’ for this Japanese Venture Capitalist

Shibuya, or literally “Bitter Valley”, is the Japanese epicenter of youth fashion and culture. It is also becoming the hotbed for startups. In his office here, venture capitalist Yoshihiko “Max” Kinoshita discusses how he took inspiration from Silicon Valley to transform Shibuya into its Japanese cousin “Shibuya Valley.”   How did you start investing in

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Int’l Student in Brown U. Shares Concern on Japanese Homeland

Unsatisfied with Japan’s prestigious Keio university, Tomonobu Kumahira transferred overseas to Brown. In his home country, where students hesitate to study abroad given the language barrier, he is admired by aspiring exchange students. A senior at this time of this interview, Kumahira-san reflects back on his college years.   After studying in Japan for your

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Cannes Ad Medalist Reveals his Creative Roots

This summer, while doing an internship at Dentsu, Japan’s largest ad agency, I had the opportunity to learn about many intriguing behind-the-scene stories. Though rowdy at parties, Takashi Sakuma tried to keep his cool as our instructor during the day. I wanted to know more about him, so we re-connected for a friendly chat between

Inside the Mind of “Mario” Creator Shigeru Miyamoto

Whether you’re a gamer or not, classics like “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda” are universally recognized. Shigeru Miyamoto, their legendary creator, made a foray into film as he premiered the “Pikmin” shorts at the Tokyo International Film Festival. I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with the man responsible for brightening

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Evangelion Mastermind Anno Confesses Love for Anime

When I was preparing for my college entrance exams last spring, I began watching anime as a pastime. Shocked upon completing Neon Genesis Evangelion, I was entranced by the art of anime. The Tokyo International Film Festival this year hosted a feature on the anime’s director, Hideaki Anno. As I tried to subdue my exhilaration,

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Student Activist Fights Political Apathy Among Japan Youth

Back in high school, I participated in a brainstorming forum for potential policies with politicians from the national legislature. As amazed as I was to be able to engage with knowledgable legislators, I was even more surprised to discover that this event was hosted by a then-high school student, Yamato Aoki. With Both of us

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