Professor Jiro Kawakita was a well-known scholar of ethnogeography in Japan. Through his fieldwork and research on the Himalayan Highlanders of Nepal, he has established a distinct methodology in field sciences and revealed the system of the people, culture, way of life and ecology. His achievements are very widely studied and some of the tools he established are still used today, the main one being the affinity diagram which is a tool used within the KJ Method and provides a structured basis for Lean Strategies International LLC’s ©CURE Methodology.
The Following is a great biography borrowed from: Fukuokaprize. Please note there are not many biographies on this pioneer, master of the Affinity diagram which is widely used in project management today. If you have any additional information on this Master, please feel free to share, link and comment in the comments section below. Your name will be cited with the contributions and we would be more than happy to link to a page of yours if you would like.
While visiting the Himalayan region in 1953, his ecological research further developed. It was during this expedition that Professor Kawakita met people from Nepal and Tibet, who later became the focus of his lifetime field research. The product of this journey's research was a 455 page scientific report which is considered to be a first-class report about foreign lands, and was written in English by the Japanese. The analytical and synthetical format of this report reveals an exceptional understanding of the Himalayan Nepalese culture, religion, way of life, and ecological circumstances. Until this time, much of this information had not yet been presented.
At the same time, his two books entitled "Journals of Expedition to the Nepali Kingdom" and "Land of Platform Burial" became best sellers in Japan. The writing style of these books was straight forward and in layman's terms, thus making the information about these unknown and intriguing countries easy for Japanese people to understand. These publications have not only significantly contributed to the academic community, but have also assisted in explaining the differences of culture to the common person. Since then, Professor Kawakita has continued to develop his methodology and systematic ethno geographical research on Nepal, and remains a pioneer in the discipline of Nepalese studies in Japan. His research in the latter part of his career has not been restricted to scientific journals, but has been embellished with field research. In pursuing this field work, he seeks to support his belief by obtaining from the chaos in which everything coexists. His outstanding characteristics such as being a devout field researcher and a pragmatist have enabled him to obtain outstanding accomplishments. His meticulous research manner has yielded the KJ Method; a problem solving methodology. Furthermore, on the pragmatic side, he has promoted technological cooperation between Japan and Nepal based on new, original scientific perspectives.
The contributions Professor Jiro Kawakita has made in the field of ethnogeography and Nepalese studies have transcended the traditional separation of scientific and public information. Therefore, Professor Kawakita is truly worthy of Domestic Category of the Academic Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.