Sport For Smile is an independent platform to promote social inclusion through sport, with a particular focus on Japan. Sport For Smile also seeks to align itself with various global initiatives, and aims to establish itself as a solid and fundamental brand that contributes to social change and to the creation of its community.
In Japan, sport is largely regarded as an activity that is purely to be watched or played. However, the power of sport to further social good has been widely recognized by the global communities, and there is now a growing worldwide movement to utilize sport as an effective vehicle to bring about tangible social change.
A basic example of the power of sport to effect change can be seen with the vital role it plays in helping to heal the emotional scars of children in conflict zones around the world. Also, sports-related activities have been shown to advance gender equality. The United Nations (UN) values the power of sport very highly, and, spurred on by former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s assertion that all children have the right to engage in sport, the UN encourages the use of the sport as a universal tool to empower people and to better the world. Specifically, UNOSDP — the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace — has been founded with the intent to integrate with and execute various UN programs that utilize the power of sport as a vehicle for social enhancement. Globally, there are thousands of social contribution programs that utilize sport, and many governments, NGOs and top-class athletes are working together to bring about wide-ranging social betterment through sport.
Unfortunately, many people in today’s world still live in abject poverty, with the constant fear of conflict or serious disease. Even though people in Japan, or indeed those in other developed industrial nations, often complain about the hardships of daily life, thankfully we do not live with the daily fear of conflict, hunger, or disease. All too often we take the luxury of security and a comfortable standard of living for granted. However, if fate had decreed that we had been born in a conflict-torn country in which war, disease and poverty are sadly all too common, it is highly unlikely that we would have received an education, basic medical care, or the fortunate living circumstances that we enjoy today.
Sport For Smile encourages people to think about the wider world and those less fortunate than ourselves. Our mission is to assist people to achieve their goals by suggesting ways to utilize the power of sport as a universal language for adding in a positive way to society. Sport For Smile conveys related information from global initiatives and programs and seeks to provide people with opportunities to think about the contribution they can make. Our ultimate aim is to serve as a platform to create communities as well as to link optimal projects that encourage more people to become actively involved.
Sport unites people. Sport is an effective tool for promoting desired social values. My sincerest wish is that Sport For Smile will be able to play a part in the creation of opportunities that will bring more smiles to the faces of people in Japan and around the world.
Sport For Smile
Mie Kajikawa (Linked in)
Founder, Sport For Smile
CEO, Cheer Blossom, Inc
Graduated from Nagoya University in 1995, majoring in Sociology, Mie worked with a travel agency before studying French in Paris to work for Nagano 1998 Olympic Games as an interpreter. After working with foreign-affiliated financial firms in Tokyo, she earned her Master’s degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University in 2005, upon completion of an internship with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Detroit Pistons as the first-ever Japanese female intern.Spending one year in New York to study finance, she returned to Japan immediately prior to the FIBA 2006 World Basketball Championship at which she assisted various NBA and other basketball officials. She later gained employment with Accenture Japan Ltd., where her duties included serving as a liaison officer to a former US Secretary of State. In 2007, she took up a position at the Tokyo 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee again serving as a liaison officer for VIPs including the late IOC Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary and various ministers of the Japanese government. She was also appointed as both Sports Manager and Marketing Manager.With a particular passion for the sport of basketball, she has also contributed several articles to the leading Japanese basketball magazine Basketball Monthly, reporting on FIBA, global basketball as well as marketing issues. Fluent in English and with basic conversational abilities in French, she has visited many global basketball and sports events including Michael Jordan’s Senior Flight School, various FIBA World Championships, Olympic Games and several international conferences on the topic of the potential of sport to bring about positive social change.To realize her long-time career goal of contributing to society by utilizing the power of sport, she has established her own company, Cheer Blossom, Inc. which commenced operations in July 2010.
* Basketball Monthly “Mie’s Angle ～Message from a Former NBA Intern” (Nippon Bunka Publishing, Co. Inc./ Nov. 2007- June 2010)
* "Community Programs of the National Basketball Association: Basketball for Society" (Ohio University, 2005)
* "Examining the Initial Marketing Strategies of Relocated Franchises in the National Basketball Association: For Japan's Proposed Professional Basketball League" (Ohio University, 2005)
* "Integrated Global Basketball Camp -Basketball Without Borders-: Analysis of 2004 Europe Event” (Ohio University, 2004/ submitted to FIBA, NBA, and UNICEF)
* “Established Participant Services in the World Basketball Championship: The Report and Analysis of the 1st World Basketball Championship for Young Women 2003" (Ohio University, 2003/ submitted to the FIBA)