KAJIYA Taisuke is a third-generation owner of an electrical appliance shop, which has been in the family for 73 years and he hopes that by being an Olympic torchbearer, he will be taking a step to keeping his hometown of Chikujo alive.
Chikujo is an area undergoing depopulation, and is a difficult place for small and medium enterprises. So Kajiya decided to do what he could as the head of the Youth Department at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and realised that the town would not die if everyone came together.
He also plans to raise his children in Chikujo, as his grandfather, founder of his shop, did before him, and to have them do the same in turn.
Kajiya hopes to impart vitality to small and medium enterprises by running as torchbearer. He wants his friends and children to feel that Chikujo is full of hope. With this Kajiya wants to run through the town as one of the many torchbearers looking to the future, and help carry the flame on its journey.
Why did you decide to take over the family business?
When I returned to Chikujo, I made up my mind after seeing the gratitude that customers expressed to my father. In that moment I realised that if this store, which my grandfather founded, and my father left to me disappeared, then many people would be inconvenienced, and that maintaining and expanding the business might be my duty in life.
What did you think when Chikujo was designated as an area undergoing depopulation?
I felt a sense of urgency but at the same time I thought my town and my company were in a position to expand. Having the town in this situation made me want to test my ability all the more and help strengthen the area.
What have you done as the head of the Youth Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry since you learned that the torch relay would pass through Chikujo?
I coordinated with the Lifelong Learning Department of the Chikujo Town Office, and we hung flags and posters at Youth Department members' shops and related offices to advertise the relay. Since being announced as a torchbearer, there is a new sense of unity in the Department and with other groups.
Please tell us of your daily efforts to revitalise Chikujo.
As the head of the Youth Department of the Chamber of Commerce, I work with the town office and the Tourism Association to plan and hold various events. However, I think that I can help to revitalise the area by putting effort into the family business. In my work, I try to solve the local peoples’ problems and bring a smile to their faces.
Please tell us what you are excited about as a torchbearer running through Chikujo.
When I run, I will be full of gratitude for my family, and for the town in which I was born and grew up. It doesn’t matter that the population is declining. I want to show the world that because we live in this town at this time that we have strength.