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Mission and vision

Director Message

Creating a new hub for intellectual discourse and debate
Inaugural address

With great enthusiasm, I recently accepted to serve as the new president of the Academyhills. I envision the Academyhills as an open forum that will promote and challenge the intellectual discourse in our community. It is uniquely positioned to engage in this effort based on its strategic location in Roppongi Hills, the foremost urban hub in Japan, if not the world.

After the Koizumi reforms, Japan is now transforming into a 21st century economy and society. During the past five and half years, I worked within the Japanese government to push these reforms through. One important lesson I learned then is that the Japanese economic system still embraces tremendous potential, and that we are currently facing a unique opportunity to bring this potential into full bloom. At the same time, however, we are still left with the remnants of a regulatory system that prevents us from fully realizing the latent strength. Against this backdrop, greater effort is required in order to improve our living and business environments as we progress into the 21st century.

What is the appeal of cities, and what functions do we expect them to perform? In my opinion, cities must encourage new ways to combine different resources–human, technological and capital resources–and the interplay between them will generate a range of new lifestyle.

Joseph Schumpeter, one of the leading economists of the 20th century, argued that the engine for economic growth of capitalism is innovation; this theory has subsequently gained widespread support from around the world. Nonetheless, it is widely understood that he had actually used the term "innovation" in the sense of "new permutation (of factors)".

Cities are magnetic platforms that attract experts in various fields, corporations specializing in a range of different products and technologies, and artists in different mediums. This varied and dynamic environment serves as a catalyst for new combinations of resources and creates new business opportunities. Indeed, this kind of urban accrual power and new encounters result in the energy and vitality of the cities.

Moreover, cities are also expected to showcase new lifestyle options resulting from a combination of these new factors. Here, "lifestyle" refers to a concept far more encompassing and diverse than typically associated with the term. It includes our professional lives; our residential options; our fashion; our culinary experiences; our means of personal expression; and our physical activities. Accordingly, we could describe this concept as being "Culture" in itself. Cities are the birthplaces of Culture.

People look to cities for new options to enrich and deepen their lives: new combinations and lifestyle propositions.

To my understanding, the Academyhills has a vital role to play as the "knowledge hub" of Roppongi Hills, a new mix of cutting-edge urban functions. Therefore, it is expected to create a new urban culture for the future. As the president of this institution, I would like to commit myself personally to achieving the goals.

One of my favorite proverbs is: "The future of the future is the present." The future is not something that suddenly happens. It comes as the result of our steady efforts at the present time. In order to ensure a hopeful future, we must engage in activities that are future-oriented and constructive. The Academyhills is here to provide you with the intellectual support that you will expect to pursue such activities.

I look forward to meeting you all at the Academyhills.

December 2006
Heizo Takenaka
Heizo Takenaka

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