This special issue of Japanese papers, guest edited by Emeritus Professor, Dr Kenichi Yumino, is the latest of a series of collaborations between our Japanese colleagues and ourselves. This began in 2001 when I was commissioned by a government body to evaluate programmes internationally which were designed to develop creativity, with a particular emphasis on certain countries and this included Japan. My investigations led me to Professor Yumino who provided me with some really helpful information.
In 2002, he took part in our Creativity & Cultural Diversity international conference and then contributed to our internationally-authored book of the same name. Over the years, I became increasingly intrigued by Japanese methods of creative problem solving, especially KJ Ho, and when I was invited to talk about Creativity Education in the UK at the annual conference of the Japanese Association of Educational Psychology in Shizuoka, I was glad of the opportunity to learn more about KJ Ho, especially as it was little known outside Japan.
Following my visit to Japan, some of our distinguished Japanese colleagues, who had learned KJ Ho from its originator, Professor Jiro Kawakita, kindly offered to run a KJ Ho workshop for our charity in Leeds. This was the first such workshop to be held in English and outside Japan and was very well received by delegates from across Europe. We then introduced Creative Scotland to this opportunity and they held similar events.
More recently, Dr Toshio Nomura, in collaboration with Caroline Fryer Bolingbroke, has delivered a KJ Ho project for Torbay Hi Tech Forum. The Hi Tech sector is an important and thriving part of our local economy. This project was sponsored by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (GBSF), Torbay Development Agency, South Devon College and Spirent Communications Inc.
Briefly this project explored the Innovation Potential of the Hi Tech Forum and this was the first such KJ Ho project in England. Torbay Development Agency confirmed that the recommendations of this working party would be implemented and, just as important, we and the other participants now have a good understanding of the KJ Ho process which is informing our work and we thank our Japanese colleagues for making this possible. GBSF have also sponsored subscriptions to our e-journal for a number of Japanese universities, and we thank them for this.
Our Anglo-Japanese collaborations are continuing. This includes our collaboration with Chika Yamamoto of Tokoha University who is currently undertaking a comparative investigation into the employment of early years’ staff in Japan and the UK. We are looking forward to being involved in continuuing Anglo-Japanese collaborations in the field of creativity and human development.