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Article: Yorifumi Hirahara × KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 1 “My sustainability”

Yorifumi Hirahara × KAPOK KNOT conversation, Part 1 “My sustainability”

We invited Mr. Yorifumi Hirahara, who edited ``201 Countries, 202 People's Dreams xSDGs,'' to speak on the theme of ``Me and Sustainability.''

The conversation was full of volume, from the formation of her 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. .

It will be sent in two parts, the first part and the second part. The first part focuses on Mr. Yorifumi's experiences before going to China, the episodes leading up to the publication of ``WE HAVE A DREAM 201 Countries, 202 People's Dreams xSDGs,'' and finally, the three books that inspired him to think about sustainability. I'll go.

【table of contents】

・Interlocutor profile ・Background to going to China ・How “We have a Dream” was created ・Opportunity to think about sustainability


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 xSDGs ” will be published in June 2021 . With the dream of ``melting boundaries'', he is active in many fields.


“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.

Background to going to China

Fukai) Was there a reason why you went to China when you were in second grade?

Plains) Yes. It all started when I met a Chinese transfer student. I was bullied all the time in nursery school and elementary school. A Chinese girl came there as a transfer student. When a rare foreigner arrived, the target of bullying changed from me to that child. I went from being a minority to becoming the majority. From then on, I became complicit in the bullying myself. However, she confidently told me, ``Yoribun! I got 100 points on the test!'' When I saw her, I started thinking, "Why is she so strong? Why is she so curious?" When I asked her, ``Why are you so strong?'' she replied, ``Because I'm Chinese.'' When I asked, ``What kind of country is China?'', I was told, ``It has a larger population than Japan, and there are only a handful of people who can receive high-quality education.Everyone studies hard.That's why everyone is hungry.'' It was quite a shock for me, who had no experience overseas. Until I heard those words, I thought it was a virtue not to raise my voice. However, after hearing her words, I realized that it is important to have your own opinion and live a strong life, so I decided to go to China.

Fukai) That’s amazing! It was shocking to think that way when I was 8 years old and actually go to China. Was there a reason why you were actually able to go? I don't think I should even think about going...

(Hirahara) I persuaded my mother every day that I wanted to go to China. Then he said, ``Let's go on a trip to Shanghai!'' It was my first time abroad and I had no idea what they were saying, but I was very attracted to the Chinese people who could clearly tell their happiness, anger, sadness just by looking at their expressions. As soon as I arrived, I told them that I wanted to live here, and during the week-long trip I focused on looking for schools. I relied on my mother's acquaintances, and whenever I saw a school, I went in and told them, ``I want to study here!'' and found only one school that would give me the OK.

Fukai) That school is amazing (lol) Are you alone?

Hirahara) Yes, I went to China by myself because I was in a boarding school. I remember my mother telling me at Narita Airport on my way to China, ``You should live your life by keeping the word 'self-responsibility' in mind.''

Fukai: Do you remember a shocking episode from your childhood?

Hirahara) I remember that. I vividly remember both the hardships and the joys. I think that's what it means to be human. As an adult, I realize once again that I must be absolutely responsible for my words and actions.

About "WE HAVE A DREAM 202 people's dreams from 201 countries x SDGs"

Fukai) Today, there is a book planned by Mr. Yorifumi, so what is the content of the book?

Hirahara) It's called ``WE HAVE A DREAM: Dreams of 202 people from 201 countries x SDGs,'' and it's just a book that collects dreams from 201 countries. I think there is a strong impression that sustainability and SDGs issues are still far away in Japan, and that volunteer work is difficult to combine with business. I feel that because I think too much about the SDGs, I find them difficult. However, the SDGs only emphasize what we can do now to live on Earth for a long time, so I wondered if we could create a book that could prove something more individual-focused. The idea is the beginning. At that time, I came across a book that co-representative Ichikawa had introduced to me that was a collection of the dreams of high school students from 47 prefectures, and I felt a strong impact on the book because it was a book in which ``dreams'' were a common language. I thought it would be possible to create a "World Edition of High School Students' Dream Book" that focuses on the scenery I want to see and the world I want to create, so I sent a proposal to Iroha Publishing, the creator of the book, on the info page on the website. Sent from.

Fukai) That’s amazing (lol)

Hirahara) I really want to create a book that compiles the dreams of young people all over the world, and when I expressed my desire to work with them, the next day the president of Iroha Publishing told me, ``That was my dream! Thank you for spreading the map from Japan to the world!" was the reply. He told me that we should make it together. From there, we met directly and began collecting dreams.

Fukai) What kind of people do you want this book to read?

Hirahara) This is a book that everyone of all generations should read. I would like people who want to work on the SDGs around the world but don't know what to do to read this book. I believe that at the beginning of every company there is a feeling of wanting something like this to be there for someone, or wanting to solve a problem, so this is a book that will help you go back to that feeling. I would also like students who are worried about their career path to read this book. The posts are written by people between the ages of 9 and 34, and all of them are working on their dreams, which are leading to solving social issues, and I can see that someone is supporting them.

Fukai) It must have been difficult to collect the dreams of various people. How did you do it?

(Hirahara) It was extremely difficult (lol) Our original goal was to publish the book in six months, but things didn't go as planned and only 40 countries gathered in six months. With the cooperation of people from those 40 countries, we managed to gather participants from 201 countries. The dream that started with one or two people turned into everyone's dream during the production process, so we changed the title from ``I HAVE A DREAM'' to ``WE HAVE A DREAM.''

Fukai) It really feels like everyone's power is behind it. Are there any particularly memorable episodes?

Plains) This is the dream of Mr. Diamond from Tonga. She is a transgender journalist. I think there is a strong image that Tonga = clean sea, but in reality, transgender people face a lot of discrimination in Tonga, and there are many transgender people there. Meanwhile, Mr. Diamond is currently working with the desire to become a journalist and share the stories of LGBTQ people in Tonga. The husband of a friend of mine from Canada is from Tonga, and the day after I published the book, I received an email from him saying, ``Thank you for picking up the small voice of a small island and making it known.'' I cried. .

Fukai) That's a wonderful episode. It's true that readers don't know what they can contribute, but when they show us specific stories, it's easy to see what they might be able to do because it's reflected in the individual. I can see it.

Hirahara) That's right. In Japan, for example, the problem of fewer women in managerial positions is also an SDG. SDGs are not just environmental issues. Our daily work and purpose in life are all connected to the SDGs. I hope you can feel this through each story.

Fukai: As you said, SDGs tend to focus on environmental issues. Although the environment is one of the various elements of the SDGs, it is often misunderstood. We also do apparel, but I think we tend to focus on just the aspects, like because we're an environmentally friendly brand or because we're doing crowdfunding, but when you show us the integrated side, we say, ``One axis.'' I think it conveys the message that it's not just something you see in isolation, you have to look at it as a whole, and in that sense, a book like ``WE HAVE A DREAM'' really broadens your perspective.

Hirahara) Thank you!


An opportunity to think about sustainability

Fukai) Is there a reason why you started thinking about sustainability?

Hirahara) The theme of my life is ``melting boundaries,'' but can we call ourselves family if we are not related by blood even before studying abroad? Can we be friends if we have different nationalities? I felt the boundaries between family and nationality and had doubts. The first history I learned when I went to China was the history of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japan invaded China. Due to this background, I was bullied again in China, and I was wondering if people from different countries, especially countries where conflict has occurred, can't get along with each other, and whether boundaries still exist. I did. At that time, my homeroom teacher at the time recommended an American history textbook. When I read it, I found that the same history was told in different ways, and when I asked, ``Why is it written like different stories even though it's the same history?'' "I want you to face the people and things that are right in front of you, have a dialogue with them, and create your own true history." After learning about the historical background, I realized that this border will never dissolve. However, once I removed the Chinese/Japanese filter and started focusing on communicating with the person in front of me, I was able to transcend nationality and have conversations as people. A world where there are no boundaries such as skin color, nationality, religion, etc. I started thinking that it would be great if this kind of world became commonplace. From there, I became interested in sustainability.

Fukai: When I was 8 years old, I didn't really understand what Japanese people did overseas, so I feel sorry for the Chinese people, but I think they were my mentors. I don't think there are many teachers out there who are very good at teaching me, but she is an amazing person.

(Hirahara) I believe that he went beyond his role as a teacher and taught me what I wanted to convey as an individual. From there, I learned the responsibility of words and the importance of education. After all, people change through education, and I believe that education is not just what is taught at school, but everything that we interact with and see on a daily basis. That's why I wanted to focus on the field of education.


Mr. Yorifumi has been the embodiment of the ability to think for himself and act with intention since he was 8 years old.
We have continued to hold on to those feelings, and the result is ``WE HAVE A DREAM 201 and 202 People's Dreams x SDGs''.
May the dreams of people in 201 countries reach many people. Please come and get your hands on it.
In the second part, we will continue to deliver a wealth of content, including Mr. Yorifumi's story about a class he encountered in high school, his current activities, and his concerns about sustainability. looking forward to.