Catalyst Supporters - UWC ISAK Japan

Catalyst Supporters

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.

Now, our Catalyst Supporters continue the mission.

If you would like to participate in our mission by helping to educate future transformational leaders from Japan and around the world, please consider becoming a Catalyst Supporter. For more information,please contact us at

Catalyst Supporter Messages

The generous contributions of our Catalyst Supporters have opened up doors to a life-changing experience for students from around the globe! Read on to find out why these individuals have made a significant financial commitment to UWC ISAK Japan.

Genki Shiota

Co-founder & CEO, Akatsuki Inc.

How should we see the future? What changes do we want to make?

I strongly believe we need to open up possibilities for the next generation in order to make a positive future. Providing an innovative environment where people from different backgrounds and perspectives interact will challenge each other and inspire them to build their talents and skills.

I strongly agree with the mission Lin Kobayashi holds and I believe UWC ISAK is the school to realize the goals. When we take on a new challenge and pursue a big vision, we will face many difficulties that will be hard to conquer. I know Lin and everyone at UWC ISAK are facing difficulties every day but I’m sure you will overcome them all and continue on with your journey toward realizing the dream!!!

I really want to see an environment where many possibilities are pursued and in so doing I strongly hope to see the future change for the better.

I will continue to support UWC ISAK Japan from the bottom of my heart.

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.

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.

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.

Hikaru Shimura

President & CEO, Rigaku Corporation

After the end of the Cold War in East and West, the globalization and borderless era began. Now, 30 years have passed and the world is approaching a turning point to a new era. The gap between the rich and poor has grown, and as the economy became more polarized, nationalism and populism have emerged with dictatorship politicians growing in influence. On the other hand, AI (Artificial Intelligence) further accelerates its development, and it is said that in the early 2040s, AI will reach so-called “singularity” beyond the human brain. However one thing we know for sure is that AI would not take over our minds. “Education” is absolutely essential to go through such a period of change.

In order to do that, we must first reform Japan’s education itself. It is important to foster the ability to think for yourself through “education”, to acquire the level of understanding and acceptance of different cultures, and to train as a globally accepted leader from a young age.

This is exactly the same as UWC ISAK’s basic philosophy of education, and I hope and pray for its further development for the future of Japan and the world.

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.

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Karuizawa, Kitasaku-gun,
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