BBTABC2015:Shinya Yokoyama, Halal that drives my passion

1st Performer, Shinya Yokoyama. I'm Yokoyama. Today I will introduce new friends of 1.6 billion. Take a look at this screen. What figure do you guess ? This is the weight my Isramic friend lost in 1 year. This is not by a diet. This is not by overwork. Just because he couldn't eat enough in Japan. He came to Japan to enter Tokyo Univercity 19 years ago and he is Pakistani He couldn't eat pork and alcohol because he is a Muslim.

As he couldn't understand Japanese at first, he lost his weight by 15kg within 1 year. There is one another friend. He is Bangladeshis, coming to Japan to work 30 years ago. He is also a Muslim. He lost 10kg in 1 year for the same reason. He didn't understand Japanese at all. So he didn't find out which food is safe religiously. In the end, he decided to eat by adding mayonnaise on rice. And that he couldn't know the raw material of this mayonnaise in detail. Every day he asked for God's forgiveness in tears. These two stories happened 19 and 30 years ago. The situation might be different from the present view. However many Muslims residing in Japan or for sightseeing, are badly-off for Japanese food.

It is corroborated by research results. Some of them during in Japan, bring in instant noodle crammed all stuff into a suitcase. Let me tell you one more story. 3 years ago, I invited my Muslim friend of Malay Singaporean to visit Japan for fun. He said "I really want to do but… because I find nothing to eat" "There is nothing to eat while he wants…" uhm… I see. I realized that he can't take in pork and alcohol. At that time I didn't keep my mind anymore.

When I was thinking back, In this matured country Japan, It's a big mystery that we don't have enough food for Muslims. How about Muslims from Middle-east or ASEAN to Japan so far? From another viewpoint, Now many Singaporean become richer than Japanese. But they can't get enough food in Japan actually. I felt that this was a waste of opportunity or unfair. It made me think a lot. Sometime later, I had the opportunity to go to Jakarta. It's been 12 years since the last visit. This visit was my turning point. When I went to a restaurant at lunchtime, I was shocked beyond belief. I could see that many Muslims stood in huge queues. I was much shocked because At the last time when I visited around 90's, I'd see only a few people to eat at a restaurant. Most people took at cheap food stall or a food court. It took 12 years from then. I had some knowledge about Jakarta that their income increased by economic growth. But the many Muslims in a line are young around 20s or 30s.

They told me that they couldn't go every day but at twice or three times a month they eat at a restaurant. It costs 1000 Japanese yen equivalent. It is not cheap price at all for them. At that time I found unfamiliar logo at each restaurant. It is "Halal". Halal means to adhere to Muslim law or forgiveness by God. With this Halal mark, Muslims can eat there with safety. Each country has their own Halal mark. In order to certify Halal on food, Raw materials, preparation method Transportation, storing and etc. Specialized institution strictly checks all of them. No pork or alcohol? Even when using beef or chicken, These foods are cooked according to Muslim law? In short, It's a kind of health management system like "HACCP" At first time when I was told, I got a rude awakening. Why could I notice this fact? I felt that I had missed a big chance. You know that ASEAN is growing market. Muslim population is increasing.

Throughout the world, it grows from 1.6 billion in 2010 into 2.2 billion in 2030. In a word, within this 20 years, They have 5 times of Japanese population From now on also, it will be growing and become a huge market. I really feel so. Muslim people or ASEAN people love Japan. They say they want to eat Japanese food and to come to Japan. furthermore, LCC is ever-increasing The yen keeps weakening. With such effort They can go to Japan easily but Halal environment is not enough. Muslim can not feel reassured because of insufficiency of Halal environment.

If we could facilitate this in Japan, this might be unexplored continent After that, I started to consider Halal seriously. How does it become popular in Japan ? How does it make them satisfied > And of course how can it be good business? I met Muslim friends & heard their story. I went to a mosque to gather information and finally frequent certification organization of Halal Mark. As I understood the situation, it might be true that Muslim doesn’t feel comfortable so much in Japan but I could feel some power of change to resolve. because The problem is only two. One is food. The other is Prayer room. let me talk about food at first. Basically pork and alcohol are not permitted. About alcohol, Japanese food often includes sake or mirin (with alcohol) as seasoning. About pork be careful of anything originated from pork like cake, emulsifier and gelatin. Some of these ingredients include pork originated.

It may be too small details, but it’s very important. The next is Prayer room. Muslim prays 5 times a day regularly. They can shorten the number of pray during their trip Even so, it's true that there are still only a few place to pray in Japan But please give careful consideration Don't you think it's a waste of opportunity? Talking of food, in Japan we have so many delicious meals so many other food than pork and alcohol. In other words, no-Halal food is just a small portion of all. The overwhelming majority are halal. There is a famous word : 'Halal For All’ It means that halal is not only for Muslim. Halal is never special. For example, take a look at farm goods, rice, vegetables and fruits They are all halal. Fish it's also halal. Going through seasoning or food processing, some ingredients of pork or alcohol are possibly mixed So if we only pay attention to this condition, I can say that we solve any problem.

Go to the next problem, Pray room As a matter of fact, we don't need fully-equipped facilities I will introduce to you the details later. The point is that you make clear 2 points; What's in this food? Where is a Pray room? You may explain this 2 points in a simple way. As I just entered BBT graduate school at that time, I could look more deeply into halal. For example, the President's(Kenichi Ohmae) lecture; "How to manage trouble in Muslim market" It was of my help.

And I researched and noticed that there was only a few players in this market. Then I decided to join as information service. Now we have little halal Information in Japan But it's going to increase. So I tried giving such information in English. This is how I made one media. Halal Media Japan This is a portal site in English to deliver information specialized in Japanese halal. Since it opened on January 1st in 2014, we have published over 300 articles Actually, this site is one measure of my graduation work at BBT graduate school.

At that time, my teachers were Professor Matsumoto, Morimoto and Kadonaga. They taught me to do some test with a prototype. So I managed to make this site in last 3 months. If I couldn’t make up a prototype, I would have not graduated. It was a big pressure for me. But now, this experience made me grow. I really appreciate my teachers. This site would have not been open without BBT. Well, I've got so many episode since it opens. Firstly I got many E-mails from world-wide Muslims like this. “I want to visit Japan” “I want to eat Japanese Ramen” “We love Japan very much.” Others said like this; “In Japan is there a Mosque?” “I'm going on business, where is a halal restaurant?” “By the way, are you Muslim?” These were typical questions.

Do you know the most frequently asked one? It is “Can I eat Japanese KitKat?” I learnt for first time by this question. In fact, Japanese KitKat has so many types. from seasonal to local that are only bought in Japan. above all, this powdered green tea flavor is most popular. As this KitKat has no halal mark, they had a heated dispute to the last. (Laughter) This KitKat… to be (eaten) or not be (eaten) I heard that they often got this as a Japanese souvenirs There is another story. One confectionery maker decided to develop halal products and had a questionnaire taken in Halal Media Japan They pick up the third possible value among the foods that one wants before. This is the result. The 1st one is rice cake. The 2nd is Dora-yaki The 3rd is Swiss roll Other answers are bread.

Cake, and Tokyo-Banana etc. We got specific product names. While I took a poll, I really felt their laborious effort to find halal food in Japan even when they bought something at a convenience store, I knew they do so. This questionnaire survey was carried out around this time last year (7/2014) Later Rice cake,Dora-yaki Bread, cake, green powdered tea, chocolate, and rice dumpling All of them became commoditized as Halal. Because Japanese companies successfully commercialized them without any ingredients of pork or alcohol Later this confectionery maker was successful to commercialize chocolate cake Swiss roll. Now they become popular. So, as I kept contact with various Muslims. They taught me how to take specific countermeasures for halal. Currently in Japan talking of halal, it is always reported about Certification Even if there is no halal mark, as long as in Japan, with a little communication technique, they appreciate it. I’ll introduce to you. At first food. vegetable fruits fish Please recommend these food. Sushi, Tempura, grilled fish many Muslims like these food. Whether or not it is halal, you may leave it to them. Instead, what is made, what's in it, and how to cook it please tell such information with respect Some of them tell you to drink beer because they’re in Japan.

In this case, you should also leave it up to their judgment By the way, most of Japanese foodstuff are surprisingly halal. These are 40 specialties of Tokushima Prefecture Of course Awa pork is not permitted, Awa beef & No1 local chicken “Awao-dori”, These can be regarded as halal if they handle some slaughter according to Islamic law. Other 37 products are originally halal. Don't you think it’s easy to join? Actually many Muslims think that Japanese food goes well with halal. Surely, many traditional Japanese foods mix fish with rice, soy and vegetable. So it is reasonable to do so. About the other point “Pray Room” This is a Pray room. I don’t mean to force yourself to take them to a mosque. Instead, please tell them where it’s silent. it would be better if there is some water washing for hands nearby. It is quite difficult for Muslim visitors to find pray rooms in Japan. Having no choice, some people pray at rear of building. Some others pray on a landing in the middle of the stairs. Also, other people pray not on their kneel, but on their chair.

Some Muslims only have to need quiet place. Recently, more commercial facilities or airports establish  such places to pray You don’t need a better place than that. You only set up one corner in building like this. Even if it is small area, Praying would make them feel at peace. Food and place to pray. No-pork and No-alcohol and small but quiet places When you meet Muslims in Japan, please take care of this 2 points. I have focused on halal in recent years around Halal Media Japan. For example, one foreign student of Muslim asked me to eat Japanese food. I had a Japanese food party for halal. One client said to me for a consultation ”I got halal certification, but have no chance for sale…” I opened a halal expo and brought foreign buyers there. But it was not sold. there is no exit, they said. Then I am organizing to import a halal supermarket from Singapore. Why am I hanging on ? Because I believe halal handling makes a contribution to Japanese immigration policy. If Japan continuously prohibits from immigration, 100 years later Japanese population would have fallen by half. Even if Japanese government converts immigration policy, There would be some limit only to East Asian like Chinese or Korean.

Where is the next candidate ? Yes, it is ASEANs. And most of them are Muslims. Moreover most of them like Japan. I, living in this area, feel so actually. I believe that halal handling leads to a better Japanese future If we are not welcomed to even Muslims loving Japan. It would be no hope that immigrants chose Japan. Imagine half of population, getting poor, and having no dream. I don’t want Japan to be such a dreary country. For those of the future; our children our grandchildren and immigrants I think that we must leave something precious.

For those of the future. what do you perform? I am devoting to encouraging halal for the rest of my life. And I will make Muslim visitors to Japan like Japan better I want more Muslims to live in Japan ,work there and encourage new businesses. Such a movement would eventually provide further incentives for Japanese. I will destroy the evils of Japanese old order. Thank you for your kind attention.

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BBTABC2015:Shinya Yokoyama, Halal that drives my passion

HALAL MEDIA JAPAN http://www.halalmedia.jp