President and Founder
Kenji was born in 1982 in Iwaki-city, Fukushima. Kenji promoted his hometown by running a “Kitchen Car” and bringing local products to various events. Kenji also opened a restaurant called “47 planning Fukushima”, which serves traditional Fukushima foods in the Takaido and Suginami areas in Tokyo. While he was focusing on energizing the community by promoting local food products, he experienced 3/11. The tsunami washed his home away and this was the time for him to think about what he could do for his home town of Fukushima. To support community sustainability for the long term, he launched “Yoake-Ichiba” (Dawn Market) in front of Iwaki station to provide a place for owners who lost their restaurants or shops and for people who have started their own businesses. Putting restaurants and local businesses in one convenient location can easily bring visitors from outside of the area, revitalize shopping arcades and support local producers by using their products at the restaurants. “Yoake-Ichiba” is the hub to spread a positive image of Fukushima. Kenji is now actively involved with the promotion of rice burgers made by local rice in Fukushima to counter the harmful rumors circulating about radiation concerns. Kenji’s vision is that Japan will be recognized by people around the world as a miracle country which has overcome a significant disaster. Read more about Kenji’s work in this article in the Wall Street Journal.