Interview: Mr. Yoshikawa, Public Relations Committee Chair

In this interview, I had the pleasure of speaking with Junya Yoshikawa, who is the chair of the Public Relations Committee and actually produces the PR magazine. Our conversation with him focused on the formation of the PR committee at the university, his vision for the future, and his own personal story.

Q: First of all, can you tell us about the time when the PR Committee was established?

It all began when I was asked to help with photography for the iU festival, and Ai Nakamura, one of the iManagers, mentioned that she wanted to organize a group of photography enthusiasts. A month later, we received a second request from administration and decided to form a formal committee. The activity policy at the time was to form a video team for iU events.

Q: Do you see any changes in your activity policy or philosophy now?

It’s changed from the original policy when the committee was first established. The current policy is to “promote closer ties within the iU and to make student activities more active.” This is now the main activity policy of the Public Relations Committee. In order to make students’ activities more fun, I think the most important thing is for the committee members themselves to have fun.

Our mission is “to make active students, faculty members and many others involved in iU known.” In order to initiate activities, I think it is essential to have the “knowledge” to initiate such activities and a “mentor” to whom we can consult when we have problems. I think it would be a shame if the lack of knowledge or human connections were to reduce the opportunities for you to be active.

At iU, in particular, those who are working hard or trying to work hard get a lot of support from students and faculty, but in other words, if you don’t try to learn on your own, you will have fewer opportunities to grow than other students. It’s a natural thing, but I work with the hope that I can give them new opportunities to say, “If there are people like this, I might be able to work with them because I’m interested in this kind of thing. I’m really looking forward to seeing the people I’ve connected with through the activities of the Public Relations Committee become active together.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of creating a PR magazine?

The layout of slide presentations and other presentations also interests me a lot since I’m an avid fan of paper books and magazines. That’s why I thought it would be wonderful if the PR committee took pictures as well as created some kind of product with students and faculty’s help.

My friend from Waseda University told me about the Waseda PR magazine when I asked him what other universities were doing in terms of PR activities. At the time, none of us on the PR committee could have accomplished it alone. It was necessary for us to involve a large number of people, including iU faculty member Abekawa, members of the iU blog, friends who lent a hand personally, and iManagers. Although it was extremely difficult, thanks to the kind people around me, we are almost at the point where we can distribute the product. I am truly grateful.

Q: What kind of activities do you have in mind for the Public Relations Committee this year?

This year, we haven’t been able to publish the PR magazine properly yet, so one of the first things we want to do is to publish it properly and see if there are people who can start new activities with it. Another thing is the fusion of analog and digital. The current PR magazine is an analog booklet, so I would like to fuse this with digital technology to create a new product.

Also, as a PR committee, when we want to increase opportunities for people to know about our students and faculty members, we think that business cards are filled with various things such as their background and favorite things, so we are thinking of collecting business cards and featuring them, although this is still in the idea stage.

Q: By the way, I heard that you like to take pictures, what made you interested in photography?

I am fascinated by all the gadgets around me, such as the iPhone and Mac. While watching a lot of gadget-oriented YouTube videos, I discovered that I really enjoy them. I discovered that single-lens cameras are a wonderfully useful gadget, so I began looking into them. I was in my senior year of high school during this time.

Later, I purchased a camera and lenses at the beginning of my senior year and started taking pictures. Initially, I used a single-lens camera to record videos. My photography experience began when I was taking pictures of my friends playing together, and ever since I have been taking a lot of pictures. My job as a wedding videographer began last September. In that role, I film for wedding ceremonies.

Q: So, is there anything you would like to tell the second year students and future students who will be joining iU in the future?

I recommend that you first find something you enjoy doing. In looking at the current iU students, I feel they definitely have one thing they love, and they cannot be beaten by anyone else. And when you find that one thing, your network expands along with it. Despite what other people think, you must follow your passion even if other people find it trivial. It would have a significant impact on society if you were able to accomplish that.

Creating a product is another option. People will appreciate your effort, and even if it’s not what you intended, you will learn something about yourself. Although it is not a product, I once took a picture of a friend, copied it, printed it out, and framed it as a gift, and I was so happy that my friend was so pleased with it that. I was inspired to do more. So I did.

Q: I see. It’s definitely important to leave something tangible.

All of us have some idea what that means. The problem may be that we are thinking too big. Obviously, the larger the product, the bigger the evaluation, and the broader the range of positive and negative reviews. Even if your first gift is only for one person, I think you may find that the experience of giving a gift is a strength for your future endeavors.

Q: So you think it is important to try to make something.  I see. Thank you very much.

The ability to like something, to pursue it, and to think that you’re as good as anyone else is difficult to achieve. Hearing Mr. Yoshikawa speak, who is actually doing this and bringing products to life, was a great learning experience.

I’m looking forward to talking to him once the PR magazine is complete about the process of creating it. Please look forward to it!