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Article: Yorifumi Hirahara × KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 2 “Me and sustainability”

Yorifumi Hirahara × KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 2 “Me and sustainability”

This time, we invited Yorifumi Hirahara, who edited the book "WE HAVE A DREAM 201 Countries, 202 People's Dreams x SDGs", which collects the dreams of Gen Z and Millennium Generations from 201 countries around the world, to talk about "Me and Sustainability". He spoke on the theme of "Nability."

It was a rich conversation, from the formation of her sense of values ​​as she dived into an active and global environment from a young age, to her current sustainability initiatives, and her future prospects, as well as her future collaboration with KAPOK KNOT. .

In the second part, we will hear about Mr. Yorifumi's past, present, and future, including what led him to focus on "education," what sustainability he is concerned about, and the goals he would like to aim for.Finally, we will talk about his past, present, and future with KAPOK KNOT. The content was to think about collaboration.

【table of contents】
・Opportunity to think about “education” ・Sustainability that interests you ・Sustainability goals ・Collaboration with KAPOK KNOT

Interlocutor profile

Ibun Hirahara

WORLD ROAD co-representative

Youth version of Davos: One Young World Japan representative

From the second grade of elementary school, he studied abroad on his own in China, Canada, Mexico, and Spain. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, he returned to Japan and entered Waseda University's School of International Liberal Studies. Joined Johnson & Johnson as a new graduate and was in charge of digital marketing. Established WORLD ROAD with the mission of "making the earth one school" to provide SDGs education to a wide range of generations. With SDGs x education at our core, we pursue a sustainable society where each person can shine through their own strengths. “WE HAVE A DREAM: The dreams of 202 people from 201 countries x SDGs” will be published in June 2021. With the dream of ``melting boundaries'', he is active in many fields.

▼World Road HP page

▼We have a Dream details page


KAPOK JAPAN Representative Kisho Fukai

After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 75 years ago. He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Started the KAPOK KNOT brand concept. A self-proclaimed kapok evangelist who says "kapok" more than 10 times a day.

Opportunity to think about “education”

Fukai) I think that the world that Mr. Yorifumi experienced expanded due to the combination of various conditions. I believe that unless it is reproducible, it cannot have an impact on the world, and my interpretation is that the medium is "education", and that is how Mr. Yorifumi sees "education". Is that so?

Hirahara) That’s right! That's how I see it. It all started with a class called life planning that I took when I went to study abroad in Canada. The theme of the class was "What will you do after you graduate from high school?" and I was the top performer in the class, where each student gave a presentation . But at that time, I couldn't say anything, and I thought, ``After I graduate from high school, college is the only option I have!'' When I told my teacher exactly what I thought, he bombarded me with questions like, ``Why university? Why are you going to university? What does university mean to you?'' There, I learned that there are many options other than university after graduating from high school, and that it is okay to choose life based on one's own axis.

As I listened to my classmates talk in life planning class, I learned that there were many different ways of living and career paths, and I realized that ``What we convey through education can help people develop in this way and open up a diverse life for them.'' I felt like, ``I'm going.'' On the other hand, when I met my Japanese friends, they were always busy with their entrance exams. Even though everyone is in the same phase of life, I wondered why it's so different to think about your options on your own and to have options given to you. That's why I decided at that time that I wanted to thoroughly educate people who were thinking about their own options.

In this class, the dialogue continued until graduation, and although I didn't have any answers, I asked my classmates questions and thought about each other's lives. It was an environment where we could learn from each other, so I thought that I would like to develop a similar ``education style'' in Japan.

Fukai: When you think about your past experiences and what kind of world you want to see in the future, focusing on education is very closely linked. Are there any specific examples of your efforts in education?

Plain) Yes, WORLD ROAD is moving on two pillars. With the mission of "making the earth one school," we are engaged in (1) educational content development and (2) SDGs consulting. Education and business are often talked about as separate, but we believe that business is also a part of education.

We believe that there is an education that can be learned from KAPOK KNOT's products by holding them in your hands and learning about the stories behind them and how they are contributing to social issues. Therefore, in the business sector, we provide SDGs consulting to companies and local governments.

Regarding our education business, we work with educational institutions from elementary schools to universities to create lesson curricula for the SDGs and create teaching materials, including ``WE HAVE A DREAM,'' which we consider to be one of them. I also connect online with people listed on ``WE HAVE A DREAM'' and have them give me classes.

Fukai) That's really good!

Hirahara) I think that going abroad is a high hurdle for anyone, but I think that if you create an environment that is ``easy to speak and live in'' than learning the language, it will be easier to take that step. We are asking people to appear online. Some of them are not fluent in English, so the goal is to have them communicate using words they both know, and gradually dissolve the boundaries.

Fukai: The phrase ``melting boundaries'' is often used. What kind of idea is that ?

Hirahara) It is the axis of my life and my dream itself. There are many boundaries in society, including the boundaries of family life in Japan, nationality boundaries in China, work style boundaries in Canada, and poverty boundaries in Mexico. I realized that there are boundaries. There are many people who are unable to take the first step because of this boundary, and I want to dedicate my life to gradually dissolving that boundary.

Fukai) I see. I believe that the phrase "melting boundaries" is an important factor right now , and when we talk about the SDGs, we cannot achieve the SDGs if we think of social contribution and business separately and talk about doing one or the other. . Since both are sustainable development, they have to be viable as a business, otherwise they will not be viable, so in that sense, I think thinking beyond just A or B will become really important in the future.

I think it is necessary to find a way to find those gaps, and there are areas where it is easy to dissolve boundaries, and there are areas where it is difficult to continue as is and need to be rearranged. I think that there are parts that require not only passion, but also skills and know-how, and I think that we can't overcome those without education.

Hirahara) I think so too. I think it's full of dilemmas. I think it's not just A or B, but the "and" between A and B that is very important. When it comes to "ka", it becomes a premise that they are different, so if there is a "and" in between, like Kisho-san said earlier, "Can we do something together?" I think we can change our mindset to think that there are things we can do.

Fukai) That's right. I was also studying social business, and I was in a seminar where everyone liked social good. The professor's words made me think, and he said, ``You may be denying current business, but the businesses that are continuing are continuing because they are needed by society. The words that you think are correct are not necessarily the only ones that are correct.''

I think it is also important that we have to evaluate the element that it continues = that it is required by society. If we go to the extreme, we tend to deny everything that our parents and grandparents did. But I don't think that's a good idea, and am I saying this knowing that I might end up in a position where I'll be rejected years from now? I learned this feeling at university. Therefore, I think it is important to find a part that is not a conflicting structure when it comes to the SDGs and education.

Hirahara) I really sympathize with this. After all, there is a way of doing business that suits the times, and the businesses that are criticized today by Generation Z and Millennials need a period of high economic growth in Japan at the time. I became rich. That was the definition of affluence at that time.

However, as we have continued to grow, what is happening in front of consumers today is SDGs issues such as environmental issues, human rights, and gender. I think we need to carefully pick up on this and update it. I think the key is not to confront each other, but to figure out how to change things.

Sustainability that interests me

Fukai) When you think about it within the larger framework of sustainability, are there any topics that you are concerned about?

Hirahara) Lately, it's all about gender. The main reason is that the LGBT Equality Act was not passed. I have a friend who is gay, and he has a long-term boyfriend in the UK who has been looking forward to the LGBT Equality Act, saying, ``I want to get married in Japan. '' However, in the end this law was not passed and they ended up getting married in England. I think it is wrong for laws to limit the nature of partnerships, and I believe that a loved one is a loved one, regardless of gender or country.

Fukai: In Japan, sexuality is so sensitive that it's hard to talk about it, but your awareness and way of thinking will change greatly depending on whether or not you have someone close to you who is involved.

Hirahara) I think it will change a lot. Even if you are close to someone, there are situations in which it is difficult to talk about it, even if marriage is not recognized by law, or you cannot change your gender, I think it would be a lot easier if there was an environment where you could talk about it easily. . I think it is important for each of us to start by creating such an environment.

sustainability goals

Fukai) Is there anything you would like to achieve in terms of sustainability?

Hirahara) SDG number 4 is ``Quality education for all,'' and number 17 is ``Let's achieve our goals through partnerships.''

Regarding education, number 4, which is related to everything else, is to dissolve the boundaries between countries through initiatives with educational institutions and companies. I hope that more and more dialogue will occur that focuses on people, not because they are XX, but because they are XX.

The specific goal is the number of copies of ``WE HAVE A DREAM'' distributed and the number of lessons taught to schools in Japan's 47 prefectures. Once the coronavirus situation subsides, I would like to deliver "WE HAVE A DREAM" to the world. Eventually, we are also considering turning books into a platform.

Regarding partnership number 17, I would like to increase partnerships between companies. Companies tend to operate within their own companies. However, there are limits to this, and when we try to solve a problem, we often cannot do it on our own. There are many companies that want to solve the same issues, so I believe that the key to SDGs success is for everyone to practice together and create a bigger impact.

Fukai: It's easy to get into a confrontational structure with other companies in the same industry, which can be difficult at times, but it's better if you can communicate openly. What kind of world do you think will be better 100 years from now, when the walls between countries have been eliminated and many partnerships have been created?

Hirahara) It's a world where people live based on "axes" rather than "frames." I want to create a world where everyone can live as an individual, without the constraints of title, gender, nationality, or religion, rather than a world where people live their lives tied to something.

What you can do with KAPOK KNOT x Yobun

Fukai) KAPOK KNOT is a brand based on the material kapok, and the brand's origins are the successor to a company that handles the apparel business. However, I was aware that if things remained as they were, we would not be able to survive, and that we were playing a part in mass production and mass disposal.

When I thought about how I wanted to change that, I thought that nothing would change if my successor just started a D2C brand. You can't change the world unless you start with materials and raise your perspective to the level of educational content. That's why I started KAPOK KNOT.

So, in that sense, my starting point seems to be similar to Mr. Yorifumi's, so I was listening to him thinking that I could work on various things. Wouldn't it be great if we could work on this within the framework of educational content?

Hirahara) That’s right! It would be great to teach classes together at school, and I would also like to do “sustainable camping”.

My friends and I would go to self-sufficient cap shops, but sometimes the products they used weren't sustainable, so I felt guilty. That's why I wanted to try a completely sustainable tour that uses all essential ingredients!

Fukai) It's really good. There are many options, but when it comes to leisure and outdoor activities, I think there are some that are limited, but in today's world, options are increasing. In fact, there are many other technologies in the world, including the development of materials using not only kapok, but also mushroom leather, apple leather, and bamboo. However, unless you consider the benefits to consumers, it will be difficult to commercialize and sell the product.

Because KAPOK KNOT is able to communicate effectively, we are able to develop products that are both sustainable, functional, and stylish. I believe that in this context, we can create products that take into consideration everything from what we wear to what we carry as caps.

Hirahara) That's good. I would love to work on something together!


How was that.

A conversation between Yorifumi Hirahara and KAPOK KNOT on the theme of "Me and Sustainability."

It was a voluminous conversation that lasted over 70 minutes, delving into Mr. Yorifumi's experiences since elementary school, as well as his current activities and thoughts on sustainability, and even his collaboration with KAPOK KNOT.

Please look forward to Yorifumi's future activities, as well as his collaboration with KAPOK KNOT, who continues to take action for the earth and people we live in!