Address by Governor

Shinichi Yoshikuni. Governor of the Japan District

Shinichi Yoshikuni
Governor of the Japan District

Greetings! I am Shinichi Yoshikuni, 2022-2023 Governor of the Japan District. I joined Kiwanis Club of Tokyo in 2007, served as its President, as well as a Lieutenant Governor in 2015-2016. With your kind support, I would like to contribute to the activities of Kiwanis Clubs.

Are we born to play? Are we born to toy?
Hearing children play, our bodies sway.
(“Songs to Make Dust Dance on the Beams” anthology by Goshirakawa Houou, ex-Emperor of Japan in the 12th century)

Since the era of Heian (8th to 12th century, Japan), adults have been swayed by the innocent voices of children playing. But the environment surrounding children is getting more and more severe. The prime example is the enormous number of refugees generated by Russian invasion to Ukraine. Japan, which has been considered as peaceful and rich country, is no exception. The Kiwanis Club of Tokyo inaugurated "Study Group on Children", where we hear opinions from experts, visit care facilities, and discuss the environment surrounding children. In doing so, we felt that Japanese children are put in difficult situations as well in many ways. Of course, the nation, local governments and corporates are making efforts. However, it is an opportunity for volunteer organizations to enhance a sense of presence by doing what governments and corporates cannot do.

“The twentieth century has seen an explosive growth of both government and business. What the dawning twenty-first century needs above all is equally explosive growth of the non-profit social sector in building communities in the newly dominant social environment, the city.”
(“Managing in the next society” by Peter Drucker)

Kiwanis, with its motto of “Serving the children of the world”, will have a greater role as a volunteer organization.

2022-2023 Goals of the Japan District

Based on the strategic plan of Kiwanis International, we aim to upgrade membership experience, strengthen each club, increase female membership ratio especially in Japan, and vitalize each club. As a Governor-elect past administrative year, although under COVID restrictions, I had Zoom meetings with President Bert West, other executives and Governors to exchange opinions. “The importance of leadership” and “establishment of Kiwanis Brand” were especially stressed in those meetings. In Japan, Kiwanis is said to be one of “the three major volunteer organizations”, but lacks visibility compared to Rotary and Lions. We are in a vicious cycle where our small scale is leading to less publicity, which in turn is making it difficult to attract new members. Utilizing tools facilitated by COVID, such as You Tube and Instagram, we would like to put effort in establishing Kiwanis Brand.

Following are the specific goals. I adhered fundamentally to the goals of last year, with a new primary target of upgrading publicity of Kiwanis.

(1) Upgrade Kiwanis Experience, especially Kiwanis Brand

(2) Strengthen Membership

  1. Membership Goal: 2,100
  2. Female Ratio Goal: 21%(as of August, 2022) to 25%
  3. New Club Opening Goal: 2 Clubs

(3) Expand SLP

(4) Promote Signature Projects

(5) Increase Education Opportunities

(6) Donate to Kiwanis Children’s Fund and Kiwanis Japan Foundation

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
but not for me
I sit and watch as tears go by
(Lyrics by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)

As Tears Go By”, a signature piece by Rolling Stones. It seems as though it is the translation of the poem posted earlier. Our thoughts for children are the same for thousand years, in all countries. Let us contribute to the future of children through Kiwanis activities.