To be honest, initially I was wondering why myself...
So I tried to think of my own reasons. The following three reasons emerged and they are something to do with a series of connections and making the most of what is already here....
1. I love the taste and role of omusubi/onigiri
We call it 'onigiri' or 'omusubi' but in English, it is a rice ball. 'Omusubi' comes from 'musubi' meaning tying, linking or connecting. Therefore, this word 'o-musubi' has some kind of good luck charm effect in connecting people. 'Onigiri', on the other hand, is thought to be simply 'onigiri' meaning shaping rice with two hands, but some people believe it comes from 'oni-kiri', or 'cutting devil'. It is said to have come from an old tale about throwing rice balls at ogres - 'oni' to exterminate them. Anyway, this 'omusubi' is a typical Japanese fast food, but it is quite profound. There are a wide variety of shapes and ingredients. It is not just a matter of making it the way you want it.
And speaking of omusubi, Hatsume Sato. A welfare activist who has received various awards and written several books. She also put her heart and soul into her omusubi and worked to open the door to people's hearts. According to her, 'Eating' is not only the act of satisfying one's hunger, but also the thought of the person who made it, gratitude for the food that keeps us alive, and the flow of time that we spend together eating. It is one of the foods that casts a magic spell that allows us to be aware, whenever and wherever, that we are 'kept alive' by 'connection' .
By the way, as my close friends know, I have unusually small hands for a tall person, so the omusubi I make are always child-sized (laugh), hence they are easy to eat.
2. I like the way money plays a role in this.
This year, I started a company called Possibility Laboratory with a group of friends who quietly nurture some kind of seed for living possibilities in their hearts. Through this, we have just started to continue to be involved in society with business as our 'Ikigai' - 'reason for living'. However, we are not a charity organization, so in order to continue our 'Ikigai' activities, we want to make sure that we properly face 'money'. We continue to think about how we can make better use of money and its power, not only as sustenance for life, but also as a resource to nurture relationships between people and to expand possibilities. The exchange between a service provider and a recipient usually consists of 'service' and 'money' paid for that service. I am thinking that if at least three parties were involved instead of just this one-to-one exchange, some intangible values, such as the feelings associated with the service and the recipient, would be more easily recognised hence appreciated.
We often see sponsor companies pay money directly to the NPO, and the NPO delivers the food to the people in need. In the case of this onigiri action, there is a group of people added to this standard flow. They are those who are aware of the situation happening in the world, but who cannot easily contribute in terms of 'money' resources, but who still think, 'There should be something I can do!'. Here, money plays an role in directly or indirectly connecting these stakeholders creating a flow of movement.
3. Marketing that makes the most of what is available by confronting the participants
When I hear the words ’social activities’ or ’social contribution’, I personally get a bit of a formal impression. However, I always wonder how to be part of the flow of receiving and offering in a natural way, without making it a big deal, just like breathing. In fact, I think there are more people who are thinking like this in the world than we think.
After all, for me, the mechanism of being able to help someone else by posting photos of onigiri on social networking sites brings a comfortable balance.
The reality is that many people have already made it a daily routine to post photos and messages on social networking sites. To this reality is added the structure that posting something on SNS can be a help for something, which is directly lead to marketing.
It is an effortless and beautiful mechanism with no distortion (to me). I suppose this is the reason why a non-profit organization started with zero advertising costs, but was able to generate a 400 million yen advertising effect.
’I just made omusubi for my daughter and posted a picture of it," and this little action of mine is connected to helping people somewhere in this world. I am doing this far away from any silent compulsion of "I should do it".
That is the beauty of this.
Through the omusubi, a small conversation happens to emerge with my daughter who is the recipient of the omusubi. My teenage daughter 'hates' photographs. But when I say "I hear that just taking photos of omusubi and post them on the social networking sites can help the world," she poses for a picture maybe with a slight hint of reluctance. I take a picture of her. Such connections and small smiles just show up naturally.
This is definitely a pleasant sensation for me.