I work in Yoyogi, and have always loved this little nook of Tokyo. It’s a great neighborhood, a little upscale, lots of nice places to eat, not overwhelming to walk around, very close to a big park and lots of shopping. Recently a very interesting place has sprung up which meets my duel requirements to be intriguing; 1) has something to do with arts advocacy 2) is not too pretentious to make me feel uncomfortable.
The place is called Yoyogi Village, an urban eco mall/art complex, and brain baby of some very heavy hitting artists in Japan. This paragraph from the Japan Times write up on Yoyogi Villiage also peaked my interest:
“In 2003, Kobayashi launched AP (Artist Power) Bank with seed money from himself, musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and the lead singer of Mr. Children, Kazutoshi Sakurai. By controlling all of their own income in their own NPO, they could decide where their fortunes would be used rather than let regular banks choose where to invest them. AP Bank has since funded cotton farms in India and organic farms in Japan, and has helped launch new businesses and give opportunities to new artists.”
Very inspiring in the current Occupy Wall Street climate we are living in, don’t you think? A bunch of artists say “hey, screw this—let’s start a bank!” As I get older, I also get madder that young artists are not viewed or cultivated as entrepreneurs. The non-profit system has a lot of merit as we look at what is going wrong with capitalism.
So why are social entrepreneurs still treated as black sheep in a herd of cash cows?