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  • Speakers

    At TEDxTodai 2013, many speakers of various backgrounds ranging from artificial reality and jazz performance, to Japan’s poverty issues and neuroscience will take the stage and share their unique perspectives.

    Kiyohiko Igarashi

    biomass scientists

    Kiyohiko Igarashi is a leading scientist in the field of biomass utilization, fully unleashing the energy and material potential of natural wood and plants. Currently an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, he decided to dedicate his life to research after discovering his passion for mushroom enzymes. By challenging the consensus reality of his field, he has continued to revolutionize the efficiency of biomass conversion. Referring to the outdated global paradigm of oil dependency, Dr.Igarashi’s talk will focus on the importance of critically re-examining the “common sense” of today’s society.

    Nanako Ishido

    Social Entrepreneur

    The University of Tokyo, School of Engineering, B.S.
    Nanako Ishido is a visiting scholar at MIT’s Media Lab, the project coordinator at the Stanford-Japan center, and the founder of the child education nonprofit org CANVAS. As a firm believer in the importance of creativity and the power of expression in today’s youth, she tirelessly advocates innovative workshops and digital education. In March, an exhibition titled “Workshop Collection” that showcased her child-oriented teaching methodology drew a crowd of over 100,000 people in just two days. She will give a talk on her motivation for driving large-scale change in education, a traditionally slow-moving facet of Japanese society.

    Naoki Endo

    entrepreneur and Customer Experience consultant

    Yokohama National University, School of Management B.A.
    Naoki Endo studied abroad in Colorado as an undergraduate student, where exposure to the Internet led him to pursue a career in the IT industry. He started working for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) after a brief stint as a programmer, but left in 2000 to launch beBit. beBit’s innovative approach to website renovation is conducted primarily through deep understanding of customer experience (ex. pathway analysis of user eye-movement). In his talk, he calls the very nature of Japanese corporate culture into question with the philosophy defined by long-term customer-centricity.

    Hideaki Koizumi


    Graduated from the Faculty of Liberal Arts, the University of Tokyo (Ph.D. in Physics). Hideaki Koizumi is a Fellow and Corporate Officer of Hitachi, Ltd., where he developed cutting-edge imaging technologies such as MRI・MRA・fMRI and near-infrared optical topography. This was the first big step in his work towards realizing the measurement of neuro-activity such as imagination and human learning. With a great love for the scientific approach, beginning with natural phenomena, he is continuing his endeavor to physically clarify mechanisms and is challenging those behind human activity such as philosophy and education. Peering through the lens of neuroscience, he discusses Ethics necessary for engineering as well as for society as a whole.

    Hitoshi Tabata

    nanoelectronics scientist

    Graduate from Kyoto University, Graduate School of Sciences, Osaka University, PhD.
    Hitoshi Tabata is a professor at the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Engineering. Through his research on expanding the potential of new-age memory devices through researches of ferroelectrics and magnetics, he is particularly interested in the quintessential, natural form of memory storage: DNA. Using materials science research as a backbone and the natural world for inspiration, he is developing a completely new approach to storage. He believes in the potential of “noise” that is random fluctuations in electric signal, for the future of electronics.

    Sachiko Nakajima

    jazz pianist and mathematician

    The University of Tokyo, School of Mathematical Sciences, B.S.
    Sachiko Nakajima is a composer, a jazz pianist, and a mathematician. She holds the only female Math Olympic gold medalist title in Japan, which she received in high school. Ms. Nakajima discovered a passion for jazz as an undergraduate student and
    began her career as a jazz pianist upon graduation. Shortly thereafter, she formed a trio band under her own name, and in 2010, released an album titled “REJOICE”. Based on her personal experiences, she will speak of the importance of acute sensitivity and self-awareness for both music and mathematics.

    Ikuyo Matsuo

    mechanical engineer

    Ryukoku University, Faculty of Science and Technology, B.S. Ikuyo Matsuo is on staff at Activelink, as one of the few female mechanical engineers in the industry. She is at the forefront of developing “Power Loader,” a powered suit. Her passion centers on better understanding the intimate relationship between humans and machines. Through her research, she realized that it was her lack of physical power that allowed her to better pick up on inefficiencies of robotic movement. She believes that there is a
    need for more female engineers in order to develop technology that can be used by anyone and everyone.

    Atsushi Yamada

    mountaineer and entrepreneur

    The University of Tokyo, School of Economics, B.A. As an undergraduate student at the University of Tokyo, Atsushi Yamada became the youngest person in the world to conquer the seven summits. After his time at McKinsey & Company, he founded Field and Mountain, a company that loans and delivers technical mountaineering gear. To promote safe mountain climbing practices and to increase the number of outdoor enthusiasts in Japan, he personally orchestrates a field guide service through which he aims to eliminate the inherent fears of mountain climbing in even the most inexperienced of customers. Mr. Yamada believes that the economic development of Japan lies in the efficient utilization of mountains and nature.

    Makoto Yuasa


    He graduated from Tokyo University, major of law, and works as a Chief of Secretariat at independence support center of NPO, “Moyai”. He has started to support for homeless-people since 1990s. The end of 2008, he established “Toshikoshi-Hakenmura”(which seeing the old year out in village) to be giving help from other NPOs and he served as mayor of the village. In addition, he actively works on speech and he pointed out these existences of “refugee in net-cafés” and “Poor-business”. Moreover, he suggested “Fivefold exclusion”: the exclusion from education, social welfare, family welfare, public welfare, and me. And He declared the structure of poverty-issues, also had took part in Cabinet office. “Against poverty-escaping from the sloop-society “was published by him. He declares the state of people and government for resolution of social issues through his experience of both people and government.

    Junichi Rekimoto

    Human-Computer Interaction Researcher

    Jun Rekimoto is Professor in Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo and doubles up as a Deputy Director of Sony Computer Science Laboratories. His work in the field of Human Computer Interaction has created lasting and highly significant impact that is present in a multitude of interfaces and devices used by millions of people. His invention list includes the world first mobile augmented reality, multitouch, location sensing, but not limited to those. He is now focusing on technologies for augmenting humans. Rekimoto strongly believes in the power of imagination as our primary drive force to create the future, and questions how our lives and this world would change if our dreams were to come true.

    Ayane Shiga

    University of Tokyo School of Law

    Ayane, is currently a Junior at the University of Tokyo School of Law. Ever since she entered high school, she started to think about the stereotype that surround highly educated women. She hopes to explore the fundamental problems that surround this stereotyping that exists within Japanese Society today. She fights through the negative stereotype with her enthusiasm and bright personality in order to get her message out.

    Sawyer Kai

    University of Tokyo Graduate School of Frontier Sciences

    Kai is a student in the Graduate Program in Sustainability Sciences and Global Leadership Initiative. He was born in Tokyo, and raised in Niigata, Hawaii, and Osaka. He attended the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) where he was heavily involved in student activism and organic gardening. At UCSC, he co-chaired the Education for Sustainable Living Program where he taught and trained students on student-centered education and sustainability activism. While living in the forest of Costa Rica without running water or electricity, he immersed himself in permaculture and mindful living. He currently teaches urban permaculture and compassionate community-building in Tokyo. Kai is a passionate advocate for a culture of non-violence and coexistence with nature. His dream is to cultivate a culture of peace and compassion with all people.

    Yukinobu Yokota

    Innovation designer/scientist

    Yukinobu Yokota is the director of the University of Tokyo, which focuses on
    practical aspects of innovation related to academics and research activities. As the CEO of i.lab, he supports clients successfully launch new businesses. Mr. Yokota is also involved with Motivation Maker, an NPO which educates grade school students about the meaning of motivation, and hosts See-D, a sustainability design contest.
    Through his efforts as founder and manager of, a club for areas affected by disasters, Mr. Yokoto is an individual who attempts to create innovation with his own hands – in the industrial world, in universities, and in society as a whole.

    Yusuke Matsuda

    Social Entrepreneur / Educator

    After working as a P.E. teacher for two years, Yusuke Matsuda received a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he first learned of Teach for America. Soon thereafter, he founded Teach for Japan. Mr. Matsuda first stepped foot into the world of education after overcoming his experiences of being bullied in his youth. He dreams of universal education for all children to survive the 21st century regardless of the community, setting, economic or household condtions. Mr. Matsuda will address the necessity of change the education system in Japan, and express the importance of an exceptional workforce in order to solve the problems of education.


    Dance Paformance Unit

    World Order was founded by Genki Sudo, a former MMA fighter, with the vision of performing martial arts as a form of expressive entertainment. By combining pop music with advanced athleticism in their dance, they are creating a new and refreshing interpretation of the world.

    Chris Holland

    Wadaiko player

    Chris Holland grew up playing taiko at the Denver Buddhist Temple in Colorado, USA. A decades-long search for his cultural roots led him on a journey from Colorado, to Hawaii, and finally to Tokyo, to study and perform taiko. Chris has performed at numerous concerts and festivals all over the world, including pivotal events in Japan such as the Skytree Grand Opening. He made history early on as the first foreigner ever to teach at a Japan Taiko Foundation examination. Chris is a core member of the professional ensemble Taikoshudan Amanojaku, under the tutelage of master taiko player Watanabe Yoichi, and currently teaches children at the Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten Studio in Asakusa.


    BonBanGoo is a rising star in the juggling world, placing highly in global competitions from a very young age: first place in the 2005 International Jugglers’ Assocation (IJA) Jr. Divison World Championship, second place in the 2005 World Juggling Federation (WJF) Advanced Balls Division, and more. He captures the audience through his infectious energy and enthusiasm, which stems from his background as a voice actor and “muscle musical” performer.