So that all people may experience the joy of creating the future

The oldest existing artworks by human beings are cave paintings, most of which have been found in Europe. Although most of these date from around 10,000 years ago,  the oldest among these are estimated to originate some 30,000 years ago. Even back in these ancient times of the Paleolithic era, when writing was yet to be invented, and mere survival took precedence over all else – human beings were painting pictures.

Why were we painting pictures? And what exactly were we painting?

Some theories about these paintings suggest they were prayers for a successful hunt or some divining ritual. Whatever their purpose, it is clear that these were essential to survival in extremely harsh conditions. Since then, art has taken many different forms throughout the times, but it has not disappeared from our society to the current day. Perhaps the reason for such persistence lies in the intrinsic value of art as being “something that makes humans’ human.” The totality of human life cannot be explained by reason and logic alone. Expressions of joy, anger, and grief, the pursuit of excitement, fascination with the mysterious, and the investment of our energies towards the creation of tomorrow arise naturally as manifestations of the many emotions and desires that well up from within us. Humans are the only creatures who can cultivate culture through art. Furthermore, art plays a role in unleashing the latent creativity that lies within each individual. Creativity is the ability to create something new from our deep and rich sensibility. Sensibility is the ability to intuitively analyze, assess various situations and information and choose what is best and is unique to each person. It is our sensibility, which allows us to feel subtle emotions, to see things in actuality, to recognize beauty and sense dangers and crises. Sensibility, like art, is what makes us human. Art plays a vital role in enhancing people's creativity and nurturing their sensibility. 

Art also functions like a mirror that reflects and shapes the age in which we live. During the Renaissance, the vibrant spirit of the times catalyzed by the artistic and cultural revival not only brought about a new kind of cultural production opening the doors to the modern age, but it also sparked the development of printing technology which would later lead to other industrial innovations. In another example, the New Deal program, launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help the American economy recover from the Great Depression, included a project to support artists. The project’s primary purpose was to touch the hearts and lift the spirits of people caught in the economic downtown, through encounters with new forms of art.  The New Deal program created the foundations for America's art and entertainment industry, which went on to become one of the largest industries supporting the US economy. In short, art is not only for the artists who create the work. Neither is it something that merely exists for a limited art loving elite.  Great art empowers and strengthens people’s will to live.  This power of art and to contribute extend beyond the creation of culture, as far as fostering new industry and economic growth. 

Art, therefore, plays an integral part in our human development and the creation of a flourishing world. It fills a critical space in the process of finding solutions and resolving the many challenges that exist in the world we live in today. As a borderless communication tool transcending race and nationality, the role of art will likely continue to grow in significance. At the same time, the need to rethink the very existence and value of art is also evident. We must distinguish between the universal essence of art and the aspects that shift with time or in response to social needs. In thinking about a sustainable and creative society, art and those involved in the arts are also being called to a new way of being.

White Ship, founded in 2001, and E-lab, a non-profit organization originally founded in 2011 as the Institute of Communication Art, were built on the vision of creating a thriving society through art and has continued to work towards this end, inquiring into the way art and society should be.

Kunihiko Yazawa
Artist, Founder & Board Chair


KUNIHIKO YAZAWA Chair of the Board

Kunihiko Yazawa is a Tokyo-based artist. Born in Shizuoka in 1962. Yazawa graduated from the Bunka Fashion College, Tokyo. He was an instructor at Bunka Fashion College from 1985 to 1990. Yazawa has won numerous awards in various fashion design competitions in Japan. He was awarded the Grand Prix in the original textile category in the 1988 International Textile Design Competition. From 1989 to 2006 he held the position of adjunct instructor in the spatial design department of the Musashino Art University. During this period he was involved in various store display design and stage set design projects. Yazawa began his art practice in 1994 and has developed a cross-disciplinary art practice encompassing object-making, art projects, art-based learning program. He is also co-founder of experimental art company, White Ship and is currently director of White Ship and 92art Studio.


KIMI HASEBE Vice Chief Director 

CEO & Art Producer,  White Ship, Inc.    

Kimi Hasebe founded White Ship in 2001 with artist, Kunihiko Yazawa. She has developed programs which explore the possibilities of art considered from the viewpoint of both the artist and audience, and over the years she has established an art management practice which unlocks the creativity of individuals and organizations. Through her work designing and implementing art programs for business professionals and large corporations she has been closely involved in supporting organizational transformation. She is also involved in artist management, art incubation, studio management and production of art exhibitions.

MAYUKA YAMAZAKI Vice Chief Director

Harvard Business Review (Japan edition), Guest editor
Ikebana practitioner 
Mayuka Yamazaki is a graduate of the University of Tokyo, economics department.   After working for McKinsey and the University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, she pursued her graduate studies in international relations at Georgetown University.  After graduating in 2006 she worked at the Harvard Business School Japan Research Center for 10 years where her responsibilities included writing HBS cases related to Japanese businesses and economy, and designing and leading Tohoku-based learning experiences for second year students in the Japan IXP elective program.  From 2010-2017 she has been also involved in the all-English Global Health Leadership Program at the University of Tokyo.  She is currently pursuing her activities as an ikebana practitioner, and is also guest editor at the Harvard Business Review (Japan edition) and research advisor to Onagawa Town, Miyagi Prefecture.  She is author of the book, ‘Why Harvard Students Come to Tōhoku.’
As Vice Chief Director of E-Lab, Mayuka has introduced EGAKU to the University of Tokyo summer school program, and incorporated EGAKU into programs for entrepreneurs in the Tohoku region. 


Managing Director, Cheerio Corporation
Daisuke is the Executive Director at Cheerio Corporation, a family-owned Japanese beverage company with strong expertise in energy and carbonated drinks. As a third generation management, he runs a traditional Japanese business to transform and update the organization through creative leadership and hard work of every single employee. Daisuke actively participates in young global leadership initiatives including ASIA21 to bridge Japan to the world and also in a leadership team ofTHE TOFU PROJECT, a collaborative design and entrepreneurship think-tank which bridges Japan and Silicon Valley to promote entrepreneurship in Japan. He believes that EGAKU Program offers you a little but great adventure to explore your existing limitations and overcome them, and is very happy to be part of the E-Lab team. He has a BA from the University of Tokyo and an MBA from Stanford University.


ARTE Audit Corporation      Senior partner
ARTE Partners Corporation President
Nippon Manufacturing Service Corporation Auditor
Hosei University Business School Instructor
Business Break University Instructor

Our Commitment

So that all people may experience the joy of creating the future

To nurture our sense of beauty, and develop our unique sensibility by engaging in a dialogue with ourselves, others and nature

  • Engage in a continuous dialogue with ourselves, others and nature just like an artist, and face all things with an honest and sincere heart
  • Discover beauty in the everyday, take pleasure in creation, and experience the profound joys of life
  • Nurture and fearlessly express our own unique and authentic perspectives, sensibilities, and aesthetic

To aid others in navigating the journey of reviving and developing their creativity through our work at E-lab

  • Respect the unique self-expression of each individual, believe in their potential and in engage in shared discovery
  • Share the joy of expression without forcing one’s mindset on another or quickly judging another.
  • Design and practice forms of “dialogue” that inspire new insights in others

To work towards creating a world of beauty and human flourishing by sharing and modeling the value of the art practice we seek

  • Gain a deep understanding of the social impact of our art practice, believing in and expressing the ability to make a difference.
  • Work as professionals who are not held back by the past, but pursue the discovery new possibilities within ourselves
  • Through our art practice we aim to open the doors of creativity within each person, and together create a world of beauty and human flourishing

We aspire and contribute towards a thriving society where all people can enjoy “the happiness of creating the future”, “the capacity to perceive the beautiful,” and “making connections that transcend language.”



Founding of White Ship


Started EGAKU Program for elementary school students


Started EGAKU Program for business professionals


EGAKU Program for environment & sustainability education for high school students


Started regular EGAKU sessions for business professionals


Held the Shingetsu (New Moon) Seminar - an art management program


Started EGAKU Program for large corporations


Founding of White Ship’s non-profit arm - Institute of Communication Art (IOCA)


Started EGAKU for university students including University of Tokyo Global Health Leadership Program


Started EGAKU for areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami including Hisanohama Daiichi Elementary School, Iwaki City, Fukushima


Started EGAKU for global leaders including University of Tokyo Innovation Summer Program


Moved to Moto-Akasaka along with White Ship

Started programs for high school students, including EGAKU for Minato Municipal Aoyama Junior High School @Google Tokyo


IOCA is rebranded into E-lab following structural reorganization and review of our business model



Minato Municipal
Aoyama Junior High School
for junior high school students
voluntary participants
for senior high school and university students
Kaetsu Ariake
Junior & Senior High School
for junior and senior high school students
Kindery International
for elementary school students
Google Tokyo Office
Aoyama Junior High School
for junior high school students

The Japan Foundation 
Leadership Program - Beyond the Arab Spring

Junior United Nations Eco Workshop
for junior and senior high school students
Shibuya Hikarie 8/COURT
for families

Seigakuin Junior & Senior High School
for junior and senior high school students

Ship for World Youth Program
Cabinet Office Government of Japan
for young leaders from 13 countries around the world

Sekimachi Kita Elementary School
of Nerima Ward
for elementary school students
Soson Elementary School
of Kannami Town
for elementary school students
Solar Bear Fund Project
in support of the Tohoku region
Takaban Elementary School
of Meguro Ward
for elementary school students

Teach for Japan
Study support program
for elementary school students

Denenchofufutaba Senior High School
for high school students
UTokyo Innovation Summer Program
for undergraduate and graduate students
University of Tokyo 
Global Health Leadership Program
for graduate students
University of Tokyo
Global Leadership Program
for undergraduate and graduate students
Health and Global Policy Institute
for undergraduate and graduate students
Hisanohama Daiichi Elementary School of Iwaki City 
for elementary school students
Hiroo Elementary School
of Shibuya Ward
for elementary school students
Fujimigaoka High School for Girls
for junior and senior high school students
Bridge for Fukushima
for senior high school students
White Ship


NPO E-lab

6F Terasawa Bldg., 1-7-17 Motoakasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan
Tel : (+81)3-6434-9785  Fax : (+81)3-6434-9786  Email:
6 minute walk from Ginza/Marunouchi Line Akasaka-mitsuke Station Exit B
6 minute walk from Yurakucho/Hanzomon/Namboku Line Nagata-cho Station Exit B
15 minute walk from Ginza/Hanzomon/Oedo Line Aoyama Itchome Station Exit 2