Tokyo, Japan & Alba, Northern Italy
CEO of GEN Japan Co Ltd, Founder of Genuine Education Network (GEN) Italy.
Founder of the Jinowa Consortium for soil renewal and regenerative living education.
Advisor and consultant to local governments, non governmental agencies, companies and food producers on regional development and international communication strategies through food culture and regenerative tourism.
Born in Tokyo, to a family of Japanese restaurant owners. After a ten year career in internet marketing and IT business development at Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd, she started her career in wine distribution on a direct to consumer basis.
She moved from Japan to northern Italy in 2013. This was a life changing transition to pursue her desire to improve how we live through cultural education about traditional ecological foods and craftsmanship, regenerative agriculture and sustainable development.
A specialist in education policy for sustainability and regenerative development.
Her innovation strategies are driven by a desire to shift the global food system crisis by a deeper understanding of traditional ecological knowledge.
Yukako believes that the use of neglected and under-utilised ingredients is the next step in transforming the way we use our food resources.
European seaweeds could be prepared using the traditional ecological methods of Japan.
Invasive plant species such as knotweed can be used as a food resource using traditional preparation techniques.
The use of the ignored and wasted parts from fish and meat to prepare high quality dishes as exemplified in festive meals from different cultures.
By transforming our knowledge and understanding of how ingredients work across different cultures, we can help secure food sovereignty by educating our global community.
Under GEN’s guidance, in 2023, in partnership with the Ishizaka Group of Japan, a new restaurant will be opened near Tokyo as an international education centre for chefs from around the world.
2013: M.A. Postgraduate degree at the Italian University of Gastronomic Science, Pollenzo, Piemonte, Italy.
2021: Creator of the Jinowa Consortium network.
2020: Chivas Regal Gold Signature Award for business innovation Cultural category: Yukako was the first female entrepreneur to be selected for this award in 10 years.
Creator of a multi year programme (2016-2020) inviting international chefs and gastronomy experts from 30 different countries to Tsuruoka City, Japan, the UNESCO city of Creative Gastronomy, for training in Japanese food culture and traditional wisdom.
2020 Eat Meet Japan Award from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, for the Top chef training Tsuruoka Culinary programme.
2016: Mie Prefecture programme for Japan’s hosting of the 42nd G7 Summit: Creator of a hospitality programme to highlight the regional gastronomy culture of Ise & Shima City.
2016: Forbes Japan: “One of the top 55 women fighting to save the planet.”
2016: Created the Genuine Education Network Japan Co Ltd in Tokyo
“Promoting sustainable development for people and communities through cultural education, with an emphasis on sustainability in food and food culture tourism.”
2014: Milan, Italy. Created the Genuine Education Network S.r.l Italy, as a food culture education Italian government accredited social start up entrepreneur.
ABOUT Genuine Education Network(GEN)
GEN is an intercultural education provider and social innovation enterprise, established by Yukako Saito in Italy and Japan in 2014.
GEN enables individual professionals to develop traditional, ecological knowledge-based creativity, combined with the practical skills needed, to solve the most complex issues of sustainability today.
GEN has been certified as a social innovation start-up by the Italian government. GEN Japan creates transformative regional and National level revival projects through its alliance with the UNESCO creative city network.
We believe in the power of education to create mutual understanding of the importance of sustainability & regenerative development throughout the world.
About JINOWA Consortium
JINOWA is an international consortium of companies from Italy and Japan promoting decarbonisation and ecosystem restoration, through the production of “healthy soils”.
Since 2020, we have promoted the restoration of the environment using both the traditional and innovative ecological knowledge of the bio-economy, to create societies where all industries take care of the soil.
Current projects include completely new bio-toilets and biogas plants to facilitate a circular model of recycling. More than buying solar panels, quitting excess plastic use or buying electric cars, we need a drastic change of practices to enable the restoration of our environment and our ecosystems, which is a common issue for everyone.
The best decarbonisation mechanism is to take advantage of the natural carbon cycle. Healthy and fertile soils have the ability to absorb and store the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. At the same time, the fertility of soil improves as the carbon content increases.
Soil health invigorates plants, people and all life forms. Taking care of the soil also contributes significantly to people’s mental and physical well-being.
We believe that eliminating all industrial waste and shifting to a system which takes care of the soil will restore the global environment, and all ecosystems, which benefits everyone.