Global Issues

From finger painting to intercontinental missiles: Highlights from TED@Tokyo

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

TED Talent Search: TED@Tokyo

This spring, TED headed on the road, visiting 14 cities across six continents on the hunt for untapped talent. The idea behind the sweeping search: to let you, the TED community, weigh in and vote on which speakers you’d like to see ascend the stage at TED2013. After holding one-night salons in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver, we couldn’t help but notice that every city’s event had its own unique flavor. And so we’ve asked an audience member from each stop along the tour to share their memories.

Today, we asked Jason Wolfe of Tokyo, Japan, to tell us about his experience at TED@Tokyo, which took place on 29.

Jason, what three adjectives would you use to describe the event?

Fun. Intimidating in a ‘wow’ kind of way. Fast & furious.

Who were the must-see speakers of the night, who you hope TED fans will watch on the TED Talent Search website?

Huai-Chien Chang: A humanitarian use for intercontinental missiles
I feel that this idea can really get people to think differently. (I know that is the wrong slogan, from a different company…) It is so unique and maybe the biggest obstacle toward making it happen would be human stubbornness on “what” something is and used for.

Edward Suzuki: An architect’s exploration of atomic structure
I like the message of taking some of the tech out of modern science and kicking it old school.

Naotaka Fujii: A virtual-reality helmet that hacks our past and present
On the tech side of things, this idea is going to explode and I know we will see a lot more of substitutional reality in the future.

Morinosuke Kawaguchi: Why we Japanese love to humanize everything
Although I thought the connection to sustainability needed to be expanded, his examples and delivery were funny and fantastic. I liked his idea that humanization is another pathway to sustainability and would really like to see more.

Ritsu Saito: Finger painting with CEOs
His character combined with what he does just made me smile and be glad there are people like him out there.

Which speaker from the night do you want to be your new best friend? 

Morinosuke Kawaguchi!

What was the best moment of the night? 

I think that Yoichi Ochiai’s unpoppable bubbles were quite amazing and resonating.

TED Talent Search: TED@Tokyo

As a bonus, audience member Eriko Tsukamoto also gave us her list of five must-see speakers from the event:

Yoichi Ochiai: The world’s thinnest screen
He talked about an entirely new concept of interface using soap bubbles, his work in progress. It gave me a glance at the future of imaging technology. Most of all, I felt his life-long devotion, passion, and a genuine excitement about his work.

William Hall: Japan as a model aging country
He really dug deep into the issue, bringing a realism to my vague notion of our “aging society”. He was very well informed (naturally) about the situation and the latest developing technologies for geriatric care. I felt his talk should be shared with the world to better prepare for our future. It resonated with me especially because I am passionate about healthcare.

Morinosuke Kawaguchi: Why we Japanese love to humanize everything
A story about a unique aspect of the Japanese to animate and humanize our things. It was hilarious as well as useful. He connected this phenomenon to our origin, animism and tradition of respecting things — then to sustainability. It was brilliantly eye-opening.

Ritsu Saito: Finger painting with CEOs
Having corporate execs paint their visions with their fingers is a nice way to let inspiration in. The result: a boost in ideas and creation. This talk resonated with me; we all have ability to create our own future, we can all break free from conventional wisdom. Very motivational.

Shihoko Fujiwara: We can’t ignore the sex trade
She speaks about the alarmingly sophisticated human trafficking system in Japan. I knew of her devotion to the Polaris project for a long time — and I think even though it would be a small force against the big scheme, we need someone like her, giving a voice to and providing protection for those taken advantage of. Her devotion is very touching and courageous. A true role model.

Stayed tuned for more audience impressions of TED Talent Search events, coming at you over the next month.