”Strawberries are produced everywhere in Japan.（いろんなところで作られているよ）”と答えました。
After the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan, many people were left homeless, jobless, and uncertain about the future. One of the hardest hit areas was Miyagi, a tranquil place known for its luscious strawberries.
For IT entrepreneur Hiroki Iwasa, that place was also known as home. At that time, Hiroki was living in Tokyo managing his start-up, yet upon news of the disaster, he quickly returned home to aid in relief efforts while simultaneously discovering the next chapter of his life.
The agricultural business had been in slow decline for many years as more and more young people were leaving rural prefectures like Miyagi for big-city dreams.
However, when the tsunami wiped out nearly all of the strawberry-producing green houses in the area, the young entrepreneur found fulfillment by combining his years of IT expertise with the tried-and-true agricultural methods of the local farmers in hopes to revive the local economy and revolutionize the stagnating industry.
Since its inception in 2011, the aptly-named General Reconstruction Association (GRA) has applied its reach outside of Japan and into India where the technology is being used to not only increase the overall quality of its products, but to also improve the lives of local farmers.
Yet, with all of the success GRA has experienced, nothing has been more seemingly fulfillment for Hiroki Iwasa than being able to help his home, and people recover from of the largest disasters in recent memory.
Why do you think Hiroki would find fulfillment in choosing this path?
I think because he could help local strawberry agriculture by combining his years of IT expertise. And farther more, he could not only increase the overall quality of its products, but also improve the lives of local farmers. He could find fulfillment by such conclusion, I think.
How has your hometown changed since you were young?
I think my hometown Osaka has not so much changed from it used to be. But before COVID19, a lot of Chinese tourists came to Osaka and very crowded. In the past, there had been only Japanese people, but a few years ago, a lot of foreign countries’ people had visited my home town Osaka.
Do you know anyone currently working in or interested in the agricultural field?
My wife’s friend and her husband are farming and dairying in Switzerland. Besides, I often hear the stories that some Japanese celebrities’ moved to local place and working in agricultural field and self-sufficient.
How about calling foreign tourists to rural Japan? Japanese rural areas have unique atmospheres. Also, because of COVID-19, telework style of business became widespread, I think the work style like working with telework while live in the rural area will increase in the future.
Hi Ko! I’m glad to see you take part in a discussion today about Hiroki Iwasa. Continue to develop your conversational skills, and I really appreciate the eagerness you show in every session. Have a good one, until next time!