In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, KIBO was founded by my colleagues and myself with an ambition to bring hope to food industry that was facing severe challenges.
From my childhood, I’ve always been interested in food and cooking. My mother, majored in fine arts, used to be cooking traditional Japanese dishes for us in a “creative” manner
sometimes with very unique arrangements. On the other hand my father, who’s a scientist, was always loyal to the basics of cooking theories. Influenced by both of them, my interest
in cooking became stronger and stronger starting by baking confectionery in my elementary school days.
At a high school carnival, we had a chance to cook and sell potato with butter. On top of a normal flavor, we’ve tried various ones such as “spicy hot” or “with cod’s-roe” and went through
a vote in our class to come up with a popularity ranking. As a promotion, we’ve presented like “This is our most popular flavor and that is #2, which would you vote for ??”. This worked really well and we ended up selling all of our potatoes in a few hours.
I loved studying science and expected my career as a doctor those days but with that experience at a carnival, my teacher said to me, “Probably you’d better be planning businesses at a corporate rather than becoming a doctor, what do you think ?” I tended to agree with him and that became a trigger for me to seriously consider food-related business planning as my career.
Playing various roles such as sales, marketing and business development at an information technology company as a new-graduate, I never lost contact with food industry in either
business or spare time. Studying at a culinary institute had always been one of the paths I wanted to take and in 2019, I finally made a chance to go for it by moving to a global software
vendor that enabled me to attend school after hours. Even though I didn’t have any plan to become a professional cook, I strongly believed that gaining expertise in cooking operations
would be mandatory if I were to become a professional in food industry. 3 board members of KIBO, including myself, are classmates at the institute. With our common vision to empower food industry in pandemic period, we ran a pop-up restaurant with a success and realized how pleasant it is to get connected with each other by
enjoying tasty food together. I feel comfortable supporting others so that their dreams come true rather than me strongly insisting what I’d like to do. Meeting clients’ requirements is a must as a business person for sure but especially in food business, I also put importance on “having fun”. Pouring some playfulness as an accent is what I’m good at !
One of KIBO’s mission is to support our local communities by spreading the attractiveness of their food culture and we’re starting that by working with antenna shops of Fukui prefecture
in collaborative menu development and shop operations. We hope that antenna shops of each prefecture will be places where visitors, especially young ones, enjoy local foods and feel like visiting those prefectures. The power of local food culture leads to the richness of this country, I believe. Famous or not, we find so many great chefs in Japan. We KIBO work closely with them locally, trying to come up with a sustainable system that delivers longterm benefits to local communities. A plan of ours is to one day design and operate a high-end food court that represents condensed flavors from all of the 47 prefectures in Japan.
At KIBO, jobs are assigned so that all the members are able to fully leverage their strengths, which is leading to its strengths as an organization. In my career as a manager, I’ve always believed that members can deliver the best results while influencing others in a good way when they’re playing their best-fit roles on their own initiatives. With this in mind, I’m designing KIBO as a place where our colleagues can work with their own discretion with a confidence that their credibility is earned. I’m not a big risk-taker but do understand the importance of taking actions before wondering too much. Not all of the actions will end in a short-term success, however, each action gives us lessons that eventually may lead us to a big success. Thanks to your support, KIBO has launched in a good shape and is moving forward smoothly so far. We have a long way before achieving one of our goals which is to increase food self-sufficiency rate in Japan. By collaborating with various stakeholders that we share the same vision of “Hope in Food, Hope by Food”, we’ll continue on our journey, seeking for richness by great food life.