What is Akira Foundation?

Akira Foundation was named in honor of our late father, Akira Yokoi. It is a non-religious and non-political charity, and fosters a meaningful ecosystem as professed in our tagline, “Social Bridge between Japan and Global Village.”

Our Father – Akira Yokoi

“The person to act on the Level 5 leadership”

Our Roots

Naming our program after our late father captures his many characteristics, which our program vision and mission embody. During his remarkable life, Akira nurtured and empowered us, and even now, he continues to inspire us. Our program stands as a fitting tribute to him and his lasting impact. Indeed, the roots he provided us serve to support us while allowing us to grow.

History of the Name “Akira”

“Akira” is a Japanese word that means something enlightening, visionary and forward-looking. Other words commonly associated with its translation include: to bring out, to clarify, to demonstrate, to develop, to define, emerging, manifest, and visible. There are also overtones of human nature to this word: bright, clean, extravert, illuminative, shining, splendorous, vibrant, and wise.

Life of “Akira”

Our father left behind much more than just his name and its meanings. His life exceeded the very meanings of his name. He acted on “Level 5 leadership,” as Jim Collins stressed in his best-selling book, “Good to Great.” One of his hallmark feats, “the Kijan Project”[1] in Indonesia (in 1970’s at Toyota Motor Corporation), presented his most personal challenge. But it also demonstrated what one person could do to advance interweaving societal values with economic development in an emerging part of our world.

The Essence of “Akira”

Akira Yokoi’s life blended “personal humility” and “professional will”. This combination positively affected many people and societies well beyond the business world. An outpouring of his courage, determination, empathy, and generosity is still alive in our veins. “Akira Foundation” symbolizes his legacy and our will to harmonize our being with others.

“Man is only a privileged listener and respondent to existence. … We are trying to listen to the voice of Being. It is, or ought to be, a relation of existence, responsibility, custodianship, answerability to and for.”

- Heidegger

  • [1] This story is abstracted from Akira Yokoi’s unpublished memoirs, originally written several years before he passed away, entitled, “Fighting the Three River Kings: Project files of Indonesia, Australia, and Europe.” (April, 2008)

History

2009
  • Social Innovation Scholarship (SIS), founded by Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi in Tokyo, Japan on July 17
  • Partners with Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) in Tokyo, Japan on July 17
  • Selects the 1st SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on October 23
  • Launches a new global website on October 27
  • Elects the 1st SIS Fellows in Tokyo, Japan on November 12
  • Akira Foundation Japan (AFJ), established by Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi in Tokyo, Japan on December 11
2010
  • Selects the 2nd SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on August 8
  • Approves the current Akira Foundation’s emblem on August 22
  • Elects the 2nd SIS Fellows in Tokyo, Japan on August 23
  • Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS), founded by AFJ in Tokyo, Japan on November 11
  • Partners with Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) in Kanagawa, Japan on November 11
2011
  • Launches new Japanese website on February 7
  • Main Office moves to Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan on March 1
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on March 17
  • Sponsors the 1st conference on Vulnerable Filipino Migrants: Focus on Japan, held in Osaka, Japan on March 19-20
  • Supports the formation of a social enterprise, SEELS Co., Ltd., founded by the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF) on May 18
  • Sponsors the Asia Career Seminar Series, held by JRI & AFJ in Tokyo, Japan on May 28
  • Selects the 3rd SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on August 25
  • Hold the 1st off-site meeting of Akira Social Ventures (ASV) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on September 30
  • Hirofumi Yokoi appointed as Outside Director of SEELS on October 11
2012
  • Establishes Akira Social Ventures, JLT (ASV), formally registered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on January 3
  • Formally registers as a general incorporated association (Act No. 48 of 2006) in Tokyo, Japan, and renames as akira foundation on February 3.
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on March 12
  • Announces the Microfinance Tour to Lebanon on April 28
  • Baria Daye selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum on May 4
  • Mr. Cesar Santoyo, President of Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS), awarded 2012 Gawad Geny Lopez Global Bayaning Pilipino Awards in the Philippines and selected for the 1st Michinoku Entrepreneurship program in July
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on July 27
  • Coordinates and sponsors the symposium of the "Sophia University 100th Anniversary Project", "Urbanization in Africa and the Emergence of New Global Scale Issues", held in Tokyo on August 9
  • Becomes a strategic partner of African Centre for Cities to help create academic and social bridge between Japan and Africa on September 20
  • SEELS named to the list of Global Hot 100 Companies at The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE) on September 25
  • Coordinates in collaboration with African Centre for Cities (ACC) at University of Cape Town and Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University, and sponsors the session of the “Smarter African Cityscapes: Evading the Hype” at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (THEWSIE) 2012, held in Boston on September 26
  • Funds and registers Annata Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 9
  • Selects the 4th SIS scholarship winners in Tokyo, Japan on November 21
  • Becomes the International and Regional Supporting Organization to support the international forum of MaD (Make a Difference) 2013, to be held by Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture (HKICC) in Hong Kong on November 23
2013
  • SEELS awarded grants from World in Asia (WiA) on February 24
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on April 11
  • Signs Memorandum of Understanding with American Councils on Promoting International Education, Social Innovation and Cultural Exchange on April 18
  • Cesar Santoyo selected as one of 600 entrepreneurs in Tohoku by Social Incubator Fund led by Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC.) for his effort as the President of SEELS on April 27
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi appointed as the “TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program” country co-directors in Japan by American Councils International Education on May 17
  • Financially supports the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center on June 13, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Glaxo SmithKline
  • Liquidates Akira Social Ventures JLT on June 2
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on July 6
  • Under the 2013 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program, sends six high school students and two teachers from Keio Shonan-Fujisawa Senior High School, Kanagawa, Japan to Washington, D.C. and New York City on July 19 to August 9
  • SEELS awarded grants from Japanese government under the project to promote creation of social business on August 9
  • Becomes a member of TrustLaw Connect, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono service that connects NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms around the world on August 22
  • SEELS funding proposal approved by the Board of Directors for the 2013 International Grant Program at the Toyota Foundation on September 26
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi attended in the World Summit of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE) held in New York, USA, on October 9 to 11
  • Supports the Asia Human Resource Development Forum for Mid-Career held by Terashima Bunko Minerva no Mori, Tokyo, Japan, and Hirofumi Yokoi presents as a panelist on October 15
  • Implements the 2013 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program and bring six Washington, D.C. public high school students and an educator to both Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan on November 2 to 23
  • Hirofumi Yokoi appointed Project Assistant Professor of Global Leadership Program (GLP) at the University of Tokyo on December 1
  • Announces the Social Study Tour to Mexico in partnership with Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, and H.I.S. on December 9
  • Hirofumi & Atsufumi Yokoi named among over 30 innovators in the world by Kogan Page, a leading independent global publisher in London on December 12
  • On behalf of SEELS, Hirofumi Yokoi presents its mid-term report on its activities under the project to promote creation of social business after the Great East Japan Earthquake at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on December 17
2014
  • Agreed to continue to work together with American Councils for International Education in the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program on February 12
  • Sponsors the Philippine Studies Conference in Japan (PSCJ): Emerging Philippines: New Frontiers, Directions, Contributions, held at Kyoto University on February 28 to March 1
  • Elected as a strategic partner of the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE), which was launched in 2006 at the United Nations, on April 9
  • Project Assistant Professor Hirofumi Yokoi gives a special lecture titled “Social Innovation Framing” at the Ito International Research Center, the University of Tokyo, on April 23
  • Project Assistant Professor Hirofumi Yokoi curates the 2014 Special Symposium titled “Social Innovation for an Inclusive Society: Beyond Capitalism” at the University of Tokyo on May 28
  • Financially supports the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center on June 10, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline
  • Hirofumi Yokoi joins the Festival Host Committee of the 5th World Children’s Festival (2015) that takes place in Washington, D.C. (June 30 to July 3, 2015) on June 23
  • Under the 2014 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program, sends six high school students and one teacher from Keio Shonan-Fujisawa Senior High School, Kanagawa, Japan to Washington, D.C. on July 19 to August 3
  • Selects the Akira-Keio SFC Social Innovation Scholarship (AXIS) winner in Tokyo, Japan on July 25
  • Sponsors the program “Connect The Dots: Workshop for Future Entrepreneurs” on August 8
  • Organizes a seminar for a delegation from the King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI), Thailand, on September 19
  • Participates in the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE) which was held in New York City, U.S.A on September 28 to 30
  • Implements the 2014 TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program and bring five Washington, D.C. public high school students and a teacher to both Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan on November 1 to 6
2015
  • SEELS awarded grants from World in Tohoku (WIT) on January 2
  • Spins off the TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program to Common Earth, Co. Japan on January 3
  • SEELS featured in the Japan Times in an article titled “Filipinos in Japan call for acceptance with new film” on January 12
  • Ends the Social Innovation Scholarship (SIS) on March 7
  • Co-organizes and promotes the 5th World Children’s Festival (2015) in partnership with ICAF Japan on April 6
  • Hirofumi Yokoi selected by the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) and its Youth Board for the World Children’s Award 2015 on April 27
  • Judges 68 submitted paintings and digital artworks for the 5th World Children’s Festival (2015), together with the other 9 judges at JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Global Plaza, Tokyo, Japan on May 16
  • SEELS visited by four graduate students of the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship (MSSE) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles on May 19 to 20
  • Hirofumi Yokoi recognized at the award ceremony of the World Children’s Award 2015 that the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) and its Youth Board presented at “The Ellipse” adjacent to The White House, Washington, D.C. on June 30
  • Sponsors the inaugural event “Global Empowerment Summit” at UC San Diego on October 17
Location & Contact

Akira Foundation
Legal status:
Registered General Incorporated Association(not-for-profit organization)
under Act # 48 of 2006 in Japan
Address:
Level 15 Cerulean Tower
26-1 Sakuragaoka-cho
Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-8512
Japan
Phone:
+81 (0) 3 5456 5179
Fax:
+81 (0) 3 5456 5511
E-mail:
info@akira-foundation.org