Ashoka Japan's Youth Venture (YV) initiative provides an environment to practice 'Changemaking' - a skill that we all must be equipped with to embrace the new era. Ashoka Youth Venture was first initiated in 2000 in the US targeting youth aged between 12 and 20. Youth Venturers are individuals who engage in social actions motivated by their intrinsic awareness. In Japan, as of December 2018, 94 teams (approx. 350 youths) have been selected to join the network of young changemakers.
The traditional Japanese education often lacks or neglects values of self-reflection, empathy and resilience. Superficial harmony without expressing disagreement, emphasis on accuracy and perfection (at sacrifice of respect to people's feelings), reading the vibes to avoid conflicts are the core disciplines in the traditional Japanese society. However, the world is changing at such a rapid pace that these norms are not sufficient to be aligned with the society's needs.
Youth Venture community serves as an oasis to many creative and out-of-box youths in Japan. Selected young changemakers who strive to changes in society through their own initiatives come together to learn and to create a new paradigm in Japan where starting something new and learning from mistakes are welcomed. Youth Venturers learn from opportunities by Ashoka and from engaging in dialogues with one another; both of which encourage them to take action and deeply reflect on themselves.
We have created a strong network of young changemakers that inspire their peers that, they too, can bring changes in their own communities. Adults from various sectors ranging from corporate, education and government that we engage with also are recognizing that the ideal learning/working environment for people is changing, no matter their age. Since 2012, our network of youth has expanded to 94 teams. Also, there are more and more Youth Venture alumni who continue their changemaking journey!