iLEAP TOMODACHI FIRST Delegate, 2017
Originally from Tagajo city in Miyagi prefecture, Masako studied abroad in the US, completed her junior college degree and bachelor degree in International studies. After graduating, she worked as a software engineer in Tokyo and Kanagawa for 4.5 years. However, after the 3/11 disaster, her life too took a drastic turn. Masako returned to her hometown, Tagajo, because she wanted to be part of the rebuilding effort. She realized that local resources were not well used for the restoration, revitalization, and community building. Through volunteering and civil activities Masako discovered the attractiveness of her hometown. Desiring to create a platform for the tourism community which promotes Tagajo, she attended the social entrepreneur education school. In 2014, Masako opened Taga no Ki, a community cafe focused on good food while also providing tour guide service. She runs a business that helps the revitalization of Tohoku such as building a community of people both from inside and outside of the area, and creating new food products and events, while presenting charming points of the local area through the cafe, tour, and products.