As a child I hated art class.
I had no talent for painting and I was clumsy at crafts.
And so up until high school the world of art was alien to me.
So why would someone like me become an art lover let alone choose a career in art?
One day, when I was living in Paris in my late 20s, I fell in love with a painting.
It was at an exhibition that my friend had brought me to.
The painting was by Sam Francis. I still today don’t fully understand why I fell in love with it. But I did.
The first time I fell in love with an artwork it was with a painting.
The second time it was a sculpture.
It was at an exhibition of Brancusi at the Pompidou Centre.
Little by little my list of favourite artworks grew, and eventually I came to love art, despite my unfortunate experiences as a child.
However, please do not misunderstand me.
I am still a bad painter and I am still clumsy with my hands - even more so than before!.
But I have been lucky to discover a certain “feeling heart” which is so needed in order to appreciate art – and it is probably thanks to France.
This is something that cannot be taught in school.
In the French language, which I love so much, there is an expression “savoir vivre”.
There is a French expression which I love: savoir vivre.
I understand this to mean “the art of living well”. French people seem to master this art.
To master this art doesn’t require money; it is about finding pleasure in little things and feeling a joie de vivre when the heart resonates with beautiful things.
That is probably why the concept of art et vivre was born in France.
In Japan art is often associated with snobbery. However I think that art is closer to philosophy.
Philosophy is about life. And so to enjoy life art is essential.
Because I myself am not artistically skilled, I can understand people who dislike art or are allergic to it or want to keep it at a distance.
There’s nothing wrong with that. The first step is simply to decide what you like and what you don’t. Then, step by step, you experience a certain pleasure from making artistic discoveries.
This is what I want to share with as many people as possible.
Two years ago when I went to London I was shocked to discover that no one was talking about Japan, probably because the economy was so weak.
And I wondered whether in order to improve the economy it is enough just to work harder doing the same thing as before?
Perhaps not. We need fundamental change – especially among the business leaders who are driving the Japanese economy.
The earthquake and tsunami of March 11th 2011 gave the Japanese a chance to recognise who we are.
Ever since the end of the Second World War the Japanese economy has been focused on efficiency.
But it is no longer working. We have to rediscover our own aesthetic - something which cannot be manufactured overseas at lower cost.
Only once we have discovered this can we raise the image of Japan in the eyes of the world.
In order to refine our creative and imaginative powers, we need art.
We need to learn how to create a solution where there currently is none.
We cannot rely on past experience or existing solutions. We can’t afford to passively defer to the answers in a “how to” manual.
If every Japanese person enjoys joie de vivre they will express their creativity in their working lives which will help the economy to recover and Japan to flourish.
That is why I set up Stylart.
My aim is to bring together business and art, which at first sight seem so far apart.
I am hoping to discover a new approach to business – even though, like in art, there is no manual for success.