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Mikihiko "Miki" Kato - Program Director, MIT Office of Corporate Relations

Updated: Jan 9

How long have you been in Boston?

That is a quite difficult question to answer. Thirty-three years ago, I was a Sloan School student at MIT. After graduation, I always tried to make a good reason to come back to Boston, so I commuted 6-8 times a year from Tokyo for business. I have stayed for 7 years as a resident.

What is your connection to Kyoto?

I was born and grew up in Kyoto. Kyoto is a sister city with Boston. I was involved to prepare and execute the 60th anniversary Kyoto-Boston sister city celebration Life Science Forum (2019) with the City of Boston, the Japan Society of Boston, and the Consulate General of Japan. Kyoto has a similarity of entrepreneurship to Boston Ecosystem. A lot of global companies started their business from Kyoto. It will be very interesting if we can study more what is common key factors with Boston, and what is different.

I belonged to “Rakugo club, Ochiken” at Kyoto University. Rakugo is a traditional comic story telling. Even now, I perform at Japan Society in greater Boston every year. This picture was taken at March 2023 event.

What does your company/organization do?

I am working at MIT, Office of Corporate Relations as a Program Director to try to

connect Japanese industries with the MIT Ecosystem from 2021. Recently many large

Japanese companies, especially in the life science industry are coming to Boston for

technology scouting, licensing, and investments. Also, Japanese academia and

government are coming to learn the U.S. ecosystem. I believe Japan can also create their own style of ecosystems like Kyoto.

What are the benefits and challenges of working in America? 

Openness and equal opportunity are great benefit for Japanese. I appreciated very much these qualities when I took visitors from Japanese companies to MIT faculty members for productive discussions.

What is your favorite thing about Boston and what are you doing on the weekend?

I enjoy everything, including Red Sox, Bruins, Boston Ballet, MFA, BSO, and

Tanglewood. My hobby is walking, especially playing Pokémon Go while walking. On the weekend, I walk with my wife, but do not hold hands with each other. My wife always says she will hold my hands only when I need nursing care.

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