A Serial Innovator Syncs With Greater Forces to Improve Japanese Health
Serial entrepreneurs have become prominent in the business world, usually personified by the founders of IT-based businesses in the United States. Katsuya Yoshikawa is another type of serial entrepreneur. Based in Japan, he has focused on the real estate and food industries, but not simply by establishing start-ups introducing IT and AI-based solutions in legacy industries. His newest company aims to help Japanese people stay healthy both physically and mentally.
Katsuya Yoshikawa is not the type of businessperson to effortlessly use every feature of advanced technologies like IT and AI. Yoshikawa, who turns 55 in 2023, probably didn’t have a chance to develop his career by familiarizing himself with Deep Tech when he was in his 20s or 30s. Nevertheless, Mr. Yoshikawa is a maverick, because he has introduced new business styles to Japan’s real estate and food industries, declaring openly that his business-related decisions are cosmically influenced.
In 2004, the serial entrepreneur founded a company providing real estate securitization arrangement services. In 2010, he launched the Fudosan Chukai Tomeika Forum to provide real estate marketing and brokerage services, taking advantage of the seller’s exclusive agent system. Both services, which introduced business styles not previously seen in Japan, were considered innovative in the country’s real estate industry.
Ahead of the curve
To tap into the food industry, Yoshikawa launched an agricultural business deep in the mountains in 2011 to sell pesticide-free and fertilizer-free rice on a direct-to-consumer basis. As of 2015, he established Flatcraft, Inc., adopting Japan’s first business management style allowing all employees to work remotely while also facilitating fabless production. This was five years before remote working became widespread globally during the Covid-19 pandemic. During that time, the company continued its remote work-based operations without changing its business management style and promoted globally popular healthy cooking products such as MCT oils and ghee.
These management styles have been praised for their rationality and originality. So much so that Fudosan Chukai Tomeika Forum and Flatcraft, Inc. were transferred to Sony Corporation and Shinnihonseiyaku Co., Ltd., respectively, through M&A activities.
As a start-up entrepreneur, Mr. Yoshikawa has launched new businesses from sound perspectives and made good decisions regarding the growth of these businesses and the timing of selling them. He embraces ideas that demonstrate originality as well as rationality, prioritizing logical decision making over that based on emotion or general understanding. His 20 years of experience as a start-up entrepreneur has honed his capabilities to a high level.
In regard to these achievements, Mr. Yoshikawa comments, “I think that humans, given this life on Earth, will continue to be impacted by the universe. I owe my success to the effective use of this impact.” This approach has been shared by other great managers, for example Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic, another philosopher and thinker who sought to identify the essence of humans and the universe.
“Whether starting a business, stepping firmly on the growth pedal or reaching the final stage,” says Mr. Yoshikawa, “I arrange to make sure each process is timed to the biological rhythms in the universe.”
Forces seen and unseen
Mr. Yoshikawa seeks to integrate visible sources of power, such as marketing, accounting and financing, logistics and reasonable decisions, with the invisible power generated in the universe. Invisible power may be defined as information based on astrology and the motion of planets.
“What happens around me at the appropriate time for starting a new business in sync with cosmic rhythms develops into the seeds of new businesses,” says Mr. Yoshikawa. “It is like a gift from heaven. It has been a gift and a message that helped me transcend ego.”
Having built a sizable fortune as a result of the sale of his two companies, he’s now set his sights on a business through which he can improve people’s health both mentally and physically.
With this in mind, he has committed to initiatives contributing to reducing the amount of salt consumed by the Japanese.
Travelers visiting Japan from around the world are aware of its delicious restaurant cuisine as well as its affordably priced instant noodles (cup noodles). But that said, modern-day Japanese run the risk of consuming too much salt, partly because of the Japanese food industry the country is so proud of.
Consequently, Japan faces a social problem, with many people suffering from cancer, high blood pressure and lifestyle-related diseases as a result of excessive salt consumption. Mr. Yoshikawa’s mother was one such sufferer. When his beloved mother became ill, he decided to address the dietary lifestyle issues Japan is facing. Now, he is promoting the fasting business, featuring vegetable soups that contain no salt as well as recipes that enable people to stop eating salt for three days. He is the first to launch such services in Japan.
With an eye on achieving the ambitious goal of making people healthier both mentally and physically, and determined to realize the integration of visible and invisible power, he founded Tokowaka in 2021. Tokowaka is a word associated with the Shikinen Sengu ritual that takes place every 20 years at Japan’s Ise Jingu shinto shrine. The word reflects the idea of worshiping a god at a shrine that is newly rebuilt every time, as well as the desire to eternally preserve ancient Japanese technologies and the formative arts used in shrine construction and the eternal continuation of people’s peaceful daily lives.
❝A Serial Innovator Syncs With Greater Forces to Improve Japanese Health