x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Power of Ideas

This event occurred on
September 16, 2012
9:30am - 9:00pm JST
(UTC +9hrs)
Uji-shi, Kyoto-fu

TEDxKyoto 2012 —“Power of Ideas”, held at Kyoto University, featured 22 incredible speakers who embody the passion and inspiration behind TED (technology, entertainment and design). These speakers represent a wide variety of innovative ideas, from fields such as robotics, mathematics, movies, games, e-books and social media.

Kihada Hall
Oubaku Plaza, Kyoto University, Gokasho
Uji-shi, Kyoto-fu, 611-0011
See more ­T­E­Dx­Kyoto events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

BATI-HOLIC x Toshiki Fukuyama x Tarokichi Ogawa

Taiko performance x video creator-- Rhythm and music are integral parts of the human psyche. We respond to music instinctively and irresistibly. But there are some very special musical experiences that transcend the voices and instruments from which they are composed. These musical experiences can be life changing for some and inspiring for all. Such is the music of BATI-HOLIC. Taira Hiroyuki, Toshiki Fukuyama and Tarokichi Ogawa who collectively make up the group BATI-HOLIC have tapped into this human response to music. Using a mix of singing, whistle and Narimono with Wa-Daiko (Japanese stick drums), BATI-HOLIC creates catchy compositions shaped around specific phrases, resulting in a dynamic performance that brings the audience to their feet every time. BATI-HOLIC’s varied performances span a range of emotions, from frenzied excitement to calm introspection. Their drive, energy and sheer joy for what they create is completely mesmerizing. BATI-HOLIC was formed in 2004 and has performed both in Japan as well as internationally, each time uniting their audiences with their energy and music. BATI-HOLIC have prepared a special performance just for TEDxKyoto that promises to resonate in its passion from Kyoto to the world.

Hiroshi Matsumoto

Space radio scientist -- Cars. Microwave ovens. Computers. Hair dryers. Lights. All of these are wonderful modern conveniences that we each use every day. However each of these conveniences require electric energy. With our supply and availability of fossil fuels slowly dwindling, one of our biggest modern challenges is to find alternate sources of electric energy. After the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, Hiroshi Matsumoto, chancellor of Kyoto University, knew that Japan—as well as the rest of the world—desperately needed to find solutions to our energy crisis. Matsumoto has a Ph.D. in Engineering and specializes in space radio science, space plasma physics and space solar power transmission. His latest project is called “extraterrestrial electric generation”, also known as the “space photovoltaics framework”. In this process, photovoltaic generation satellites are sent to space, which in turn create energy that is converted to microwaves and sent back to earth. Matsumoto is in the front lines of research in this field. Matsumoto has won numerous awards for his work and has published 133 scientific papers in Japanese, 297 in English and has authored or contributed to several books. Matsumoto’s dedication to finding and perfecting a reliable extraterrestrial power source for our planet is as inspiring as it is vital to the survival of our species. With Matsumoto at the helm of academic research in this field, there is no doubt that a viable solution is on its way.

Shinya Senmatsu

Deer hunter -- It is no secret that most humans do not live gently upon this earth. Even the way we acquire food uses a tremendous number of resources, most often involved in the mass-farming and transportation necessary to bring the food from the source to the consumer. Kyoto resident and hunter Senmatsu Shinya is all too aware of the cost of modern society. Senmatsu strives to follow the edict “living with responsibility for yourself”. For the past twelve years Senmatsu has used the traditional hunting method called “Wana-Ryo” to capture deer and wild boar. Doing all the cleaning and preparation of the meat himself, he strives to waste nothing, following the seasons and the pattern of nature to sustain himself as much as possible—sanya-so in the spring, river fish in the summer and firewood from the mountains. Senmatsu’s world view and determination to live in better harmony with nature stem from his experiences in East Timor and Indonesia. While still in college he became involved in activism and helping to solve local social problems. In 1999 Senmatsu went to Timor to serve as an international voting observer under the watch of United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) in the East Timor local referendum relative to independence. Senmatsu subsequently took part in transporting supplies to Indonesia, and as a medical volunteer in East Timor. His experiences in helping others people in their quest for independence forced him to consider the multitude of problems that underlie modern society. From those experiences arose Senmatsu’s determination to sustain himself using the bounty of the land around him. Senmatsu is one of those rare and inspiring individuals who choose to fully live what they believe. In today’s world, this is a truly inspiring and profound choice.

Hitomi Kumasaka

Entrepreneur & social media evangelist -- “Social Networking” is the term of our times. Whether we communicate through email, Facebook or Twitter, the computer has become the means with which we build relationships, cement deals and sustain connections. Kumasaka Hitomi has become what many would call a “social networking guru”. But she didn’t start out as such. Her career path began at the age of 42, when she was working part-time at a real-estate agency. She moved on to a sales job, to interview writing and then to consulting. It was during her time as an interview writer that she realized that most of the time, there was a gap in the communication between the seller and the buyer. Specifically, she noted that the buyer often did not clearly understand the feelings and motivations of the seller in a business transaction. Kumasaka turned to social media as a possible way to facilitate buyer/seller communication. After extensive research, she began putting her methods into practice. She now travels regularly to the U.S. to acquire information on the latest social marketing trends, and uses her gleanings to do consulting and give lectures. Her book on using social media for business has become a bestseller not only in Japan, but also in Korea and Taiwan. Kumasaka’s inspiration that not only person-to-person communication, but also person-to-corporation communication is possible is paving the way for a whole new level of social networking. Streamlined business communication is now possible, and we have social media and Kumasaka Hitomi to thank for it.

Keiichiroh Hirano

Novelist -- The compulsion to pour one’s imagination onto paper is powerful for some of us. Those individuals with this particular and wonderful compulsion could no more not write than not breathe. Such is the case with novelist Keiichiro Hirano. Hirano’s writing muse has earned him awards, such as the 120th Akutagawa Award in 1999, which he won while still a student at Kyoto University. His writing has also led him to live in Paris for a year, where he was a cultural ambassador appointed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and to travel through out Europe, giving lectures and talks. His incredible body of work has earned an international following in countries including France, Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Sweden, Egypt, Japan and beyond. His innate writing style has been called precocious and luxuriant, demonstrating an exhaustive knowledge of his subject matter. His works include “Nisshoku”, “Kekkai”, “Dawn, and “Watashi Towa Nani Ka—‘Kojin’ Kara ‘Bunjin’ E”. Hirano also has a long-running novel called “Kuhaki wo Mitashinasai” in the “Morning” comic magazine. Hirano continues his work as one of the selectors for the Yukio Mishima Award and Higashikawa International Photo Festival. With each story and novel he has written, it only becomes more obvious that, for Keiichiro Hirano, the siren call to write is irresistible…something for which we should all be very, very glad indeed.

Yasunori Tonooka

Social entertainment entrepreneur -- Right now you may see that cell phone in your hand as just a cell phone. But by the time you have finished listening to Yasunori Tonooka, that cell phone in your hand is going to be a key component in an exciting, tech-meets-real-life game. Tonooka is the founder of a mobile game developer based in Kyoto that specializes in GPS-based scavenger-hunt type mobile games. For these games you simply need a cell phone, access to the game and a mode of transportation. The player uses the GPS feature on their cell phone to find a specific location. Once they reach that location, they are given another clue. And so the hunt goes until the game is won. Tonooka brings to this exciting new world of gaming a vast amount of experience and training. He graduated from the Design Engineering and Management Department of the Kyoto Institute of Technology, and continued his graduate studies at Osaka City University. Upon completing his program he became the producer of a major Japanese social networking service provider, followed by working as a product manager with one of the world’s leading Internet search service providers. While working there, Tonooka became deeply inspired by the tech innovations he witnessed around the world, and made it his goal to create a world-class service unique to Japan. The result was “GPS entertainment” which uses GPS mobile services. Earlier this year Tonooka joined one of the world’s largest game conferences “GDC2012” in San Francisco, and came away as the only representative from Asia who was elected in the Smart Phone/Tablet Section. Tonooka has quickly become a well-known name among mobile technology game developers not only in Japan, but around the world. It is his hope that his game creation will do its part to bring people together and, perhaps, unite the world.

Naomi Yasuda

Graphic designer -- Today there is a tremendous amount of information being shared. Whether it be between individuals, schools, companies or countries, information exchange is an ocean in which we are all swimming. But are we able to see the beauty inside this information? Organizing this vast, growing amount of information has long been a challenge. People have approached information organization from many viewpoints, from psychological to social, individual to collective, linear to spatial. So far not one truly successful method has been discovered and used universally. However consensus (and a clear path) may be just around the corner. Netherlands-born graphic designer Naomi Yasuda works in a Kyoto based interface design company. There, they have been exploring using our own spatial knowledge as a framework for organizing information of all kinds. Called “Think Map”(from the original Japanese terms for “think” and “map”), this framework, based on how humans experience and relate to our world, has been refined in order enable information to be shared across countries, cultures and languages. “Think Map” proposes the possibility of sharing and adapting information — a playground for the mind where we can freely communicate in data as a visual, multi-faceted “map”. Engaging and extremely versatile, “Think Map” may be a glimpse into the near future, when we will be able to organize and manage vast amounts of information and universally share our new visions and discoveries.

David Ernst

Education innovator -- Books. Paper. Pencils. A room, a teacher and students. These have long been the tools with which we’ve cultivated young minds and shared great thoughts. Now imagine a room full of young learners taking part in a lesson utilizing real-time video sharing that links them with a classroom across the world. Or a high school program where the textbooks are online, not only enabling us to conserve valuable natural resources, but also freeing students from carrying heavy tomes between home and school. These educational possibilities—and so many more—are part of a growing movement to add another tremendous tool our list of teaching resources: technology. Dr. David Ernst is one of a select group of visionaries who understands that education is our species’ greatest hope and finest inspiration. Using the vast and powerful array of technology available to us today, Dr. Ernst strives to fuse learning at all levels with tools such as mobile technologies, openly-licensed textbooks and video sharing. As Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Ernst is uniquely positioned to combine the vast array of tools at our disposal to bring change both to education, and to the world beyond.

Tomas Mach

Violin performance -- Music has tremendous power. Not only can music bridge the gaps between us, but it can travel effortlessly across vast distances. For proof of this, you need go no further than Tomas Mach. Tomas’ fascination with music began at an early age, sparked by an unexpected source: American Bluegrass. His musical family fostered his skills but his focus on bluegrass fueled his passion as he attended, and eventually taught at the Summer Bluegrass Workshop in Moravia at the young age of 16, eventually recording several albums with other well-known Bluegrass artists. From there Tomas’ musical dreams led him to begin his formal training at the Conservatory at Teplice. However, his passion for American Bluegrass kept tugging at him until he took a break in his studies to move to New York where he worked as a professional driver as a means to be able to play with Italian guitarist Beppe Gambetta and continue to meet with Berklee College of Music String Department Chairman Matt Glaser. He returned to the Czech Republic in 1996 to complete his professional training at the Conservatory in Teplice, and then subsequently toured with legendary American banjo player Tony Trischka. Tomas went on to positions in both the North-Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. He currently lives in Prague, where he continues to work on original compositions and perform in concerts spanning classical, Jazz and other contemporary styles.

Naho Iguchi

TEDxTokyo Community Catalyst, TEDxTokyo yz founder -- There’s an old saying in English, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. This saying seems to have been tailor-made for Naho Iguchi. Naho has long had a passion for learning about humans and culture. She pursued this passion throughout college, including studying Organizational Psychology as a graduate student in the U.S. However when the time came to find a job, there was nothing in her field to be found. While most people in her situation might opt to work in another field, Naho instead set her sights on freelancing. Eventually she began working with TEDxTokyo and has since become a vital team member. She has also created her own business as a “Communication Process Designer”, wherein she assists corporations, NPO’s and even the government at times to help design tailor-made work processes and environments unique to each client. Naho’s belief in using communication and trust as forces of social and cultural change lie at the heart of her vision of a Japan—and a world—that embraces the light in each of us.

Jeffrey Jousan and Ivan Kovac

Filmmakers -- Tohoku. Fukushima. Ishinomaki. On March 11th, 2011 these simple place names, along with so many more, became synonymous with terrifying natural disasters and unspeakable fear. But now, for the people of northern Japan, the time has come to reshape these place names into symbols of friendship, community and unstoppable hope. Ivan Kovak (a prolific Cameraman/DP with vast experience in film, television, commercial, music video and web media) and Jeffrey Jousan (a Chief Engineer and producer at a major Japanese studio as well as the Representative Director at a cross-cultural communication company) were brought together purely by chance to work with director Paul Johannessen on the “One Day on Earth” project. Together Ivan and Jeffrey interviewed a cross-section of brave March 11th survivors. Their resulting video, “Then and Now” alternates images of the grim aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of March 11th with intimate stories of loss and hope told by each survivor. Ivan and Jeffrey’s work puts a very human face on the overwhelming loss so many people have suffered, yet at the same time shines with their determination to work together to rise above so many daily obstacles. “Then and Now” offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the strength of these brave people and the power of community to help hope and heal.

Hiroyuki Tanimoto

Short film festival director -- In an entertainment world that seems so often driven by pop-culture big-studio films, Hiroyuki Tanimoto’s artistic vision has taken him down a very different, and very exciting path. Hiroyuki’s passion for creating independent films grew gradually over the course of his career, from his academic training at Tufts University, to his experiences working for a New York-based Japanese TV company. It was in New York that he first attended independent film festivals and became irrevocably hooked. Hiroyuki’s recent projects such as the experimental documentary short film “Six” and “Ki-Do-Ai-Raku”, reflect his drive and vision to portray alternative cultural and social perspectives on film. Hiroyuki’s ultimate goal is to cultivate a new wave of awareness and popularity for independent short movies. The time has come for independent films to take their place in the spotlight, and Hiroyuki Tanimoto is just the man to make it happen.

Yukinori Kawae

Archaeologist -- Egypt. Say the word “Egypt” and our minds fill with images of a vast desert, the reddish-brown horizon wavering in the heat. And rising from that expanse of sand and sun, ancient monuments. But Yukinori Kawae, an archaeologist specializing in 3D survey of megalithic structures and settlement archaeology during the Age of the Pyramids, has a different view. He had been living in Egypt for 16 years. While enrolled in the course at American University in Cairo, he was given Ahmed Fakhry Award in Egyptology, and later the Human Social Science Honor for his outstanding academic achievement. Since 2004, Yukinori has been engaged as an area supervisor of Ancient Egypt Research Associates Inc. (AERA), the USA, in the excavation and research of “Pyramid Town” at Giza. He then took part in the U.S.-Japan Joint Research Project in the 3D survey of Queen Khentkawes’ tomb. He has also assisted with Luxor East Bank Groundwater Lowering Response Project by the American Research Center in Egypt. In 2008, as an AERA laser scanning director, Yukinori completed the international 3D survey project of Egypt’s oldest pyramid—the step pyramid of Sakkara. This year, in 2012, he completed his doctoral program (Ph.D.) in History, and has been selected as a research fellow in the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Yukinori has been in quest of understanding the pyramids, and I’m sure we can be provided with fresh insight into the monument.

Angelica Lim

Roboticist -- For many of us, the word “robot” probably inspires our imaginations and brings back memories of science fiction stories or television shows, or perhaps cartoon characters from our childhoods. Up until now robots have been thought of as either fictional creations or disembodied factory mechanisms slated to performing rote tasks. Angelica Lim, however, sees robots, and their potential quite differently. When Angelica Lim thinks of the word “robot”, she envisions a future filled with a panoply of useful, accessible and empathetic robots helping us along in our oh-so-human lives. Angelica, a computer scientist currently pursing her Ph.D. in Intelligence Science at Kyoto University, has added her passion and determination to numerous projects in robotics, ranging from an underwater autonomous vehicle to audio-visual emotion processing for humanoids to gesture recognition for human-robot interaction. Her most recent project has been her work on a music-playing robot which has been featured at international conferences, in magazines and on TV, and for which she won an IROS NTF Award in Entertainment Robots and Systems in 2010. So does our future include responsive, empathetic and humanoid robots? With inspired and passionate scientists such as Angelica Lim leading the way, there is only one answer: yes.

Eri Itoh

Scientist -- Let’s compare driving a car to flying an aircraft. When a person drives a car, that person has windows on every side through which he can see surrounding car traffics. He has mirrors to use to better see behind the car and to the sides. And he has his own peripheral vision to use to sense what is around him. Not so when piloting an aircraft! Pilots are quite literally flying blind. They are not able to grasp surrounding aircraft through windows in cockpit. Pilots must fly following the instructions of air traffic controllers, who check the air traffic information via radar displays on the ground. However in the future, pilots would have the means to see what is around them just as the drivers of cars do. Dr. Itoh conducts research into a next-generation air traffic management, Aircraft Surveillance Applications System (ASAS), which will help pilots to better understand the surroundings of the aircraft, as well as improve safety and fuel efficiency. Her current research includes running large-scale simulations of future air traffic to verify the efficacy and safety of ASAS. To this research Dr. Itoh brings vast experience and training. She obtained her PhD from The University of Tokyo in 2007, and currently holds a position of a senior researcher with the Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI), which is the only laboratory in Japan conducting research on air traffic management. She moved to France as a research fellow in the Eurocontrol Experimental Centre (EEC) in 2006, and is currently a visiting researcher at both the National Aerospace Laboratory NLR in The Netherlands and The University of Tokyo. The recipient of the prestigious McCarthy Award and John J. Green Award, Dr. Itoh has been a standing member of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) since 2010. For those whose job it is to fly the planes, and for those of us who are passengers in the planes, Dr. Itoh’s work is a gift, not only for our own safety, but also for the future of commercial flight as we know it.

Aya Asakura

Koto music -- Raindrops. Wind. Water flowing over rocks. Koto Music evokes images such as these. The koto has been played in Japan for over a thousand years and is the national instrument of Japan. The lilting, deceptively simple-sounding tones of the koto are as complex as they are meditative, and listening to a true master of this beautiful instrument can be a deeply moving experience. One such master is Aya Asakura. Aya was born in Tokyo and by the age of six had already begun learning how to play the koto. She continued to hone her skills studying performance, composition and musical theory under the late koto composer Miyashita Shuretsu. Aya went on to receive NHK Japanese music specialist training and was subsequently nominated for the “This Year’s Hope” NHK award. Her performances have appeared on NHK international broadcasts, at NHK music festivals and at the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency Festival. She has also collaborated with “The Spring of Contemporary Japanese Music” to commemorate the one-hundredth year of Miyagi Michio and has performed with the Osaka Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 she released an original album entitled “Aya”. More recently, Aya holds workshops called “Watching the Evening Sun” at the Ryu-zen Sho-ho Temple in Higashiyama Kyoto, to which she invites a panoply of creative-minded individuals that include religious people, film directors, journalists, astrophysicists, philosophers, musicians, bureaucrats, diplomats and writers. With a unique style that combines the natural tones of rain and wind with a vast spectrum of vibrant color, Aya offers her audiences a moving, dazzling performance that is not to be missed.


Digital groove rock -- Perhaps you’ll first notice the pounding drum rhythms vibrating beneath your feet. Then again you might find yourself irresistibly and uncontrollably moving to the quick-fire beat. There is no reason to fear: these are just the signs that 1.G.K. is in the house. 1.G.K., dubbed “Kyoto’s Digital Groove Rock Band”, features a six-member international band that includes Andy, Katsu, Hiroki, Kyohei, Show and Jodie. Together they combine techno, drums, bass, filter disco and break beats to create a powerful sound that they call ‘dance rock’ or ‘techno rock’ that is brimming with movement and passion. Fusing live instruments and vocals with sample pads, sequencers and scratching, their sound is as unique as it is irresistible. Their music videos seem to leap off the screen with incredible energy and multimedia artistry that perfectly compliments every note. Their songs and videos include “Dragon”, “Life”, “One shot” as well as their recent release “Scene” featuring Snipe. 1.G.K.’s sound brings rock and club music to the next level where digital magic meets rock music, resulting in a sound that you have to hear to love.

Garr Reynolds

Presentation guru -- At the heart of any truly successful company is the ability to communicate effectively with the customers. Garr Reynolds has spent his professional life following this simple rule, traveling extensively to establish deep relationships of trust, support and loyalty between company and consumer. Currently a Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University teaching Marketing, Global Marketing and Multimedia Presentation Design, Garr also shares his skills and expertise with the Japanese business community on topics that include design, branding and effective corporate communications. His presentations, product demos and keynote addresses in venues that include You Don’t Know Mac in Oregon and the Mac Computer Expo in California helped create one of the most dedicated—perhaps nearly fanatical—customer bases ever seen. As a professor as well as an Nara resident, he delights in sharing his talents with his community and in mentoring the next generation of movers and shakers. Erase that cliché of the stuffy boardroom from your mind—Garr Reynolds has a whole vision for the business world that will take us far into the future.

Jake Adelstein

Investigative journalist -- How often do we really think about the darker facets of our society? Most of us read a newspaper article now and then, or perhaps watch a documentary online or on television. Whether we actively avoid thinking about the very real hidden dangers around us, or are simply too busy to take the time, we must be thankful that there are people like Jake Adelstein in the world. Jake is an investigative journalist who has worked from 1993 to 2005 for the Yomiuri Shimbun as a crime reporter. He is also the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On The Police Beat in Japan, and anticipates his next book The Last Yakuza: A Life In the Japanese Underworld to be published in 2014. Considered to be the foremost Western expert on Japanese organized crime, Jake actively shares his expertise and findings as a contributing writer to The Atlantic Wire, as the manager of the website and as a pro-bono board member for the Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children. Jake and his colleagues do much more than simply report the dangers around us. They bring the actions of Japan’s subculture into the light and into our awareness, a powerful step towards building a safer society for all of us.

Catherine Courage

Creativity & design leader -- History has repeatedly taught us that it often takes great courage to bring about great change. This fact is literally and figuratively embodied in the work of product design innovator and tri-athlete Catherine Courage. A 13 year resident of Silicon Valley, Catherine is currently a leader for a Silicon Valley product design group. Selected as one of Silicon Valley’s “40 Under 40” young tech leaders, Catherine has worked passionately to fuse world-class product design with exceptional customer experience. Her vision has inspired her to co-author a book, as well as speak at Stanford University, the California College of the Arts, C100, 48 Hrs in the Valley, Tech Women Canada and FUSE. In addition to all this, she is also an advisor to several entrepreneurial groups and serves on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Catherine strives for no less than to transform the corporate culture in Silicon Valley, and beyond, by using great design as the driving force for change. Catherine embodies the courage and energy vital to building a brighter future.

Organizing team


Kyoto, Japan
  • Junya Kondo
    Co-founder & Advisor
  • Ichiro Kanaya
    Co-curator & Show Producer
  • Isao Kitabayashi
    Community Team Leader
  • Takahiro Fujita
    Experience Team Leader
  • Keiko Tanaka
    Translation Team Leader
  • Masa Kawamukai
    P.R. Team Leader
  • Takayuki Mitsugi
    Web Team Leader
  • Taki Togashi
    Show Co-producer
  • Hiro Nakanishi
    Partnership Team Leader
  • Ryohei Nakagawa
    Finance Director
  • Akiko Yamada
    Documentary Team Leader