Outline of the SBRC

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is the founder of Grameen Bank, which provides small, unsecured loans to the poor in Bangladesh, and an advocate and practitioner of social business. Kyushu University concluded an exchange agreement with the Grameen Group in 2007 and established the Yunus & Shiiki Social Business Research Center (SBRC) in 2011. As the very first Yunus Center in Japan, the SBRC promotes social business in cooperation with various organizations and companies both in Japan and overseas.
Our Mission
The SBRC is engaged in research and education in, and incubation and promotion of social business. By collaborating and conducting joint research with related organizations in and outside Japan, the SBRC creates social business models for tackling global issues such as poverty, health, environment, energy, education, and natural disasters.
Dr. Muhammad YUNUS / Mr. Masakazu SHIIKI
Dr. Muhammad YUNUS
Mr. Masakazu SHIIKI
Mr. Shiiki was born in Yukuhashi City, Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1928. He founded Sanyo Shoji Co., Ltd. in Kokura City (currently Kokura Kita-ku, Kitakyushu City), Fukuoka Prefecture, in October 1959, renamed the company Sanyo Shinpan Co., Ltd. in June 1972, and served as its president and chairman.

In addition to conducting business activities, Mr. Shiiki continued to support classical music by holding free concerts once a month in the lobby of the company’s headquarters building, featuring mainly chamber music performed by the Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, offering other forms of support to the orchestra members, and inviting parents and children to "Shiiki Seats" reserved at Music Festival Argerich's Meeting Point in Beppu.

From the experience in his twenties of having his life saved by newly developed medical technology, Mr. Shiiki donated to the Kyushu University Hospital, the Japanese Red Cross Fukuoka Hospital, and others for the development of medical technology.
He also established the Shiiki Masakazu Memorial Scholarship for Asian Student as part of his activities to support and contribute to the local community.

Mr. Shiiki knew of and respected Dr. Yunus and his activities even before Dr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was an eager proponent of the agreement between Kyushu University and Dr. Yunus's Grameen Group, and donated funds to support the study and promotion of the Yunus social business. This led to the establishment of the Yunus & Shiiki Social Business Research Center (SBRC), the first social business research center in Japan.
 SBRC Logo
The SBRC logo was created by a fortuitous encounter with an artist named Mr. Naoyuki Omine. He is a member of Kobo Maru, a welfare service office for people with disabilities, in Fukuoka City.

Kobo Maru is famous for nurturing artistic creativity. In 2011, we invited its member artists to produce wall paintings for Grameen Creative House (GCH) at Hakozaki Campus, Kyushu University. We explained the purpose and aim of the GCH, and asked for artistic paintings that would help stimulate the sensitivity of the people who gathered there. Out of the tens of pieces that were later submitted, Mr. Omine’s work caught the eye of the SBRC executive director. He suggested that Mr. Omine produce a painting around the theme "Yin-Yang and the five elements". Inspired by the advice, Mr. Omine created a new piece of work with the images of wood, fire, soil, gold and water, which was selected as the new wall painting at the GCH.

Then we requested Mr. Omine to produce an SBRC logo by arranging and adding more details to his original wall painting. On top of the tight one-month deadline, it was more difficult than expected for Mr. Omine to modify a once completed piece of work. At various points during the process, Mr. Omine was unable to make progress under pressure, and he was so worried that he could not eat. Despite this, he never rushed but persevered and continued to create the new design, searching for an image that would satisfy himself, and finally coming up with our current logo.
Profile of Mr. Naoyuki OMINE
Mr. Omine was born in 1977. He lives in Fukuoka City and is a member of Kobo Maru. Mr. Omine started painting on his own, without formal training, at the age of 20 and continues to vigorously create works with a magical style. The sharp, clearly defined lines of the black permanent marker are created by suppressing the involuntary movements caused by his condition. He works with such force as to develop internal bleeding in his upper arm in order to exert precise control over the brush tip. Both the sight of Mr. Omine at work and the images that emerge on the paper are breathtaking.
Kobo Maru 

Kobo Maru was founded in 1997 by Shuichi Yoshida, a photographer who worked with children with disabilities in his university graduation project themed around promoting communication through photography and art. He runs the welfare workshop and creative studio space Maruworks for people with disabilities in Fukuoka.

The open space aims to make a difference in the life of people with disabilities by changing society’s perception of them, from “handicapped people of no importance” to “everyone is a unique person, no more, no less”.

The name Kobo Maru, meaning “studio circle”, represents the power to enfold everything. This is a common space where anyone with or without disabilities, of all ages and lines of work, can communicate. It is designed to open doors to creativity and enable individual personalities to bloom.

Through art, Kobo Maru hopes to progressively encourage society to change its view of people with disabilities and recognize that each person belongs and has a special role to play.

Kobo Maru proactively supports the development of creative studios and action with the intention of closing the gap between society and people with disabilities.