Four Things I Learned From Ichiro Fujisaki

Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese ambassador to the US, rolled into campus today to give a talk on Japan’s current state of affairs.

Sometimes these lectures can be hit-or-miss. For every Scotsman giving an impassioned rant there’s a Leslie Chang talking about the book you didn’t like. Thankfully, Fujisaki delivered with interesting content and a playful presentation. For those who missed it, here’s a quick list of what I took away from his talk:

1) Ambassadors are full-time ballers. After his talk, Fujisaki was whisked away by some big, secret service-y dudes into a limo with tinted windows. The Watson Institute hasn’t seen that much swag since TJ-Dub himself.

2) They’re not as dry as you might think. For the Q&A section, Fujisaki created his own “hardball” questions  and brought up Brown students to ask them. Definitely a funny dude.

3) Fujisaki went to Brown! He didn’t stay for very long though. He entered as a 23 year-old junior and got put in Keeney with a 17 year-old freshman…He was out of here in a year, and I can’t say I blame him.

4) Japan gets a lot of flak for its flailing economy, but in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, its annual GDP growth was around 2%, on par with ours and the EU’s. In 2010, it was back up to 4%, compared to our 3%. Japan knows what it’s doing when it comes to economic recovery. In the wake of one of the most tragic and severe natural disasters of recent memory, it is hopeful about its ability to bounce back. As Fujisaki himself said, don’t count Japan out just yet.

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