Sho Hayashi

Bai Xian Alumnus, Sho Hayashi, is a public policy specialist, business creator, and social entrepreneur.  His personal mission to positively impact society led him to the CAMPUS Asia Double Degree Program, through which he obtained his Master of Public Policy and Master of Laws degrees with support from Bai Xian Asia Institute, as well as various work experiences in management consulting, teaching, and policymaking.  Since 2020, Sho has served as a sustainability and innovation policy specialist in Obuse, a small Japanese town steeped in history and culture.

On his decision to move to Obuse after having studied all across Asia and working in Tokyo, Sho explains, “What I learned from my early work experience is that policymaking on its own is not enough to bring long-term impact.  To truly make a difference, I believe we need to be on the ground and plugged into the local community, building a public policy strategy that meets the actual needs of the people.”  One skill he has found to be incredibly important in his current role is the ability to demonstrate mutual respect and understanding, something he honed during his time studying abroad.  Sho recalls one particular memory from Peking University, when he traveled with two Korean classmates and had the opportunity to engage in deep conversations about everything from history to comfort women.  “We presented our own genuine thoughts as friends, not to reach a common conclusion, but simply to respectfully exchange ideas and opinions through free and open discussion,” he says.  “Although some misunderstandings were inevitable, I learned it is important to express one’s true thoughts and opinions, even if they may differ from others.”  Fast forward to the present, when he finds himself needing to communicate with local citizens often, Sho applies a similar mindset.  “While it is critical to respect others and try to understand their perspectives, we also shouldn’t hide our own thoughts, but rather aim to be honest with ourselves and those we are communicating with,” he says.

Looking ahead, Sho plans to continue investing in the community of Obuse by creating a local business that maximizes the potential of the town and increases job opportunities.  He also hopes to leverage his academic and professional experiences to broaden his impact on society.  “I am in a unique position where I am able to understand both the local environment as well as policies being formulated at the national or even global levels,” he says.  “There are a lot of gaps between those spheres, and I believe I can be a bridge to bring effective change and create value.”

In between working as a policy specialist, running his social innovation organization, and overseeing multiple entrepreneurship projects, Sho still finds time to give back to the Bai Xian community.  Over the past few years, he has volunteered to share as a panelist at alumni sessions, and has also served as a peer mentor under the Bai Xian Peer Mentoring Program.  “Studying abroad was a very motivating experience for me – I felt supported by fellow scholars and empowered by the various activities I attended,” reflects Sho.  “I was equipped to become who I wanted to be, and I hope to pay it forward by sharing my knowledge and experiences with those coming after me.”