Fostering Diversity and Uniqueness that Can Reach Around the WorldDisseminating Shibuya’s art and culture to the world Comprehensive agreement for cooperation between Shibuya Ward and The Nippon Foundation

The Nippon Foundation and Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward signed a comprehensive agreement for cooperation on social innovation on October 31, with the aim of cultivating young people who possess diverse, unique talents and perspectives that can reach around the world. After compiling a more detailed business plan, a variety of specific activities are to be rolled out from the spring of 2018. Using Shibuya, with its diverse culture and businesses, as a base, the plan is to develop hands-on educational programs and hold urban events for young people, while also disseminating Shibuya’s art and culture to the world.

Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe (left) and The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa (right) at the signing

As society rapidly becomes increasingly complex and diverse, it is no longer possible to resolve social issues through public services alone. The Nippon Foundation is therefore working with companies pursuing corporate social responsibility (CSR), as well as a broad range of NGOs, governments, and research institutions, to achieve a “society where all people support one another.”

The world-famous “scramble” crossing in front of Shibuya Station, with a large sign announcing the joint project in the background

At the same time, Shibuya has updated its “Basic Concept” vision for the next 20 years. Under the title “A city that turns difference into strength,” the Basic Concept incorporates seven themes including “A city where you can always find pleasure in one’s growth” (education, childrearing, lifelong learning), and “A city that continues to create new cultures” (culture, entertainment). All of these aim for social innovation, and are what led to the agreement with The Nippon Foundation.

At the signing, The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa noted, “Amid society’s various problems, we hope to make Shibuya shine so that it gives hopes and dreams to the young people who represent the future.” Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe added, “I am looking forward to working with The Nippon Foundation to create innovative ways for children to develop feelings for Shibuya and spread their wings globally.”

Jungo Kanayama, project designer, explains the project concept

Shibuya Ward has roughly 220,000 residents, but the daytime population exceeds 500,000. Roughly 5% of the ward’s residents are non-Japanese, comprising more than 100 nationalities and bringing diversity in terms of lifestyles, cultures, and businesses. The project’s first aim is to “cultivate uniqueness among children in Shibuya” by creating opportunities and places where children can experience firsthand Shibuya’s culture, entertainment, and trends.

The project will include the expansion and further development of projects already being carried out by Shibuya Ward and The Nippon Foundation, including the Kodomo (Children’s) Table where children and adults can learn together in a place that is neither home nor school, Shibuya Otonari Sunday, which revitalizes local communities, and the ROCKET educational support project for children with unique talents.

Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, there are also plans to hold events at Shibuya elementary and junior high schools and other public venues to provide opportunities for interaction with athletes competing in less-well-known Olympic and Paralympic sports.

A closer view of the sign in front of Shibuya Station

The agreement envisions an initial timeframe of five years. Mayor Hasebe commented, “I hope that by working with The Nippon Foundation’s domestic and international networks, as well as with universities and other parties, Shibuya will become an established international city.”


Communications Department
The Nippon Foundation