The idea for UWC ISAK Japan began in 2008, when Lin Kobayashi (ISAK founder and Chair of the Board) and Mamoru Taniya (Representative Founder), were introduced. Together, Kobayashi and Taniya embarked on a journey to open a school that would focus on educating future change-makers from Japan and beyond. Eight years later, their dream became a reality thanks to our 100 original founders who, inspired by the mission of ISAK, each contributed $100,000 to start the school. ISAK opened to its first class of young change-makers in August 2014. Today, our original 100 founders continue to support UWC ISAK by participating in annual summits, school management committees, and as members of the board.
Today, our catalyst supporters carry on the mission that began in 2008.
Ryo Abe – Chairman of Abe Ryo Foundation, Radio Personality of “Going Around the World of NGO by Abe Ryo!” Nippon Broadcasting, Founder of Shiho-shoshi Co., Shinjuku Office
When I was 19-20 years old, I traveled to various places around the world and every time I faced problems, I was offered a helping hand. I am eternally grateful for all the help I received. Despite my gratitude, I never felt I was able to give back and was just a soujourner, which left me with a sense of regret. After several years, I again began to think about how I could give back. I remembered the warm laughter, smiles, and wisdom of the children I met in my travels. These children helped me so much, yet they did not even have enough money to go to school. But if only they had been given the chance to receive an education, I knew they would succeed and bring a positive change to society. I felt that by providing an environment where children could receive education was one way to “offer new opportunities in life where they could potentially impact the world”. This is the reason why we’ve built 11 schools in developing countries.
The key to my own business success has been “diversity” which is an insight I picked up from my travels around the world.
Positive change in the world can only be achieved by overcoming our cultural, historical, and ideological differences. I am very excited to see the students at UWC ISAK Japan go on to become the leaders of the future.
Ryo Ohira – CEO, Neuberger Berman East Asia
Launching a new boarding school like ISAK was definitely a meaningful step for Japan but by becoming a UWC school, UWC ISAK Japan is transforming every day. With the spirit of “ISAKness”, along with enthusiastic faculty and staff in the heartland of Karuizawa, I know the day will not be far for the students from UWC ISAK Japan to bring changes to society. In hindsight, UWC ISAK Japan is still at an early stage and unlike other established international schools, it needs to continue to progress and will need ongoing support. I am very pleased to be part of UWC ISAK Japan’s supporters community and will continue to enthusiastically offer my support moving forward.
Tamotsu Kosano – CEO, Geek Pictures Inc.
Although I had questions about our education system, I was deeply grieved about not being able to drive change. Then I met Lin Kobayashi. I was excited to hear her thoughts and goals to develop transformational leaders and deeply empathized with this mission. I am very excited to support UWC ISAK Japan and to do my part to benefit my children’s generation.
Michael Peng – Partner and Managing Director, IDEO Tokyo
At IDEO Tokyo, our mission since the start of the office has always been “to help enable change in Japan by being creative catalysts.” It thus goes without saying why we personally feel so proud to be part of the UWC ISAK Japan community who believe in the same mission. UWC ISAK embodies everything that we need more of in Japan and the rest of this world: Diversity. Creativity. Optimism. Curiosity. The teachers, staff, administrators, and students all crave change, and in our opinion, it is only with this mindset are we ever able to make any progress forward. As a studio, we are excited to follow the future paths of these bright and engaged students because we know they are going places, and we will all be in better hands because of them.