My name is Kaneto Kanemoto, President of OKWAVE Inc. I sincerely thank you for joining our Q&A website “OKWAVE” which connects people the world over in an atmosphere of trust.
Please allow me to take this opportunity to explain you in Q&A style the gist of OKWAVE, our website full of questions and answers.
What kind of service does OKWAVE provide?
OKWAVE is run for the purpose of helping each other. Users can exchange their Oshiete (questions) - such as problems, curiosities and questionnaires - and Kotaeru (answers) - advice gained from real life experiences.
What is the origin of the name OKWAVE?
OK is from the capital letters of the Japanese Oshiete (questions) and Kotaeru (answers). Adding to this meaning of solving problems, we put “wave”, hoping that this action will spread all over the world like waves.
Why did you create OKWAVE?
I created OKWAVE because I wanted people to be able to live their lives and communicate free of misunderstandings between other individuals and cultures.
I used to have Korean nationality (now my nationality is Japanese). When I was a child, I first recognized my nationality when I was fingerprinted while living in Japan (foreign nationals had to be fingerprinted in those days). This fact became a source of bullying for me by some pretty heartless kids. Both physically and emotionally, I was drained.
My life hung in the balance many times. Once while in hospital due to this bullying I met a lady who read my palm. She told me that in a previous life I was the head of a bad group of men, and so in the first half of this life I will experience hardship. However, she also said that I should live positively and not as if I wanted to die. She said that in the second half of my life I would get well and create something big which helps the world. These words helped me a lot, and eventually I got better. My childhood experiences made me ask some hard questions, such as, “Why do we hurt others of different nationalities? Aren’t borders on this earth only artificial?” This led to the question, “Why do we hurt other individuals at all? Aren’t we all the same human beings?”
Later, I was working in a company as a designer and also launched a volunteer group through which I did volunteer work for disabled people. I spent much time looking for answers to my childhood questions. However, I was also uncertain about what I was doing in life, and so as a result I quit my work, the volunteer group disbanded, and I separated from my wife and children. I ended up living in a park in Tokyo for two years.
Here I was helped again by another lady, an exchange student from China. She said that she was studying in university and also working part-time. In order to save money she was living with a homeless person.
“I was born in a rural area in China,” she said. “In China, the gap between urban rich and rural poor is very wide. After the war, Japan went from a devastated land to the second biggest economic power in the world, and there isn’t a big gap between the rich and poor.
Since I wanted to study in Japan, I did whatever I had to do to come here. After I actually arrived I was shocked. People throw away food which is obviously edible. They say that they don’t want to study even though the time and opportunity is available. A young man like you shouldn’t waste your time here just because you were discriminated against. The experiences you have got through will be your treasure. You have to get back on your feet again!”
After that, I started doing design again and gradually readjusted to society. Some time later, I got a job making a company’s website. From this I got to know the internet. When I asked how to make a website on an internet forum I couldn’t get many good answers. If there was a website where you could ask questions which other users answer politely and kindly I would have been able to ask about my problems, such as the bullying, my relationship with my wife, my work, and so forth. This is how I came upon the idea of this Q&A site, “OKWAVE”.
What is OKWAVE’s goal?
OKWAVE’s goal is to connect the world through helping each other. We measure the value of this site by the number of‘thanks’we receive. Our aim is to see how many‘thanks’ we can create every day.
We’d like to spread our service to 200 countries in 20 languages by 2013. We want to create ‘thanks’ with people all around the world.
Please ask your questions and give some answers to other users’ problems. Also, I’d really appreciate it if you can introduce this website to others!
Let’s make a better world by warming hearts, connecting people, and working together.
Kaneto Kanemoto President, OKWAVE