Seiko Adachi

Social Welfare Corporation Shinko Fukushikai

Shinko Fukushikai manages quasi-public nursing homes under government subsidies and private nursing homes, which provide comfortable yet affordable housing options for the Japanese elderly.

Focus: Health Care delivery, Ageing, Housing
Geographic Area of Impact: Japan
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 1,830 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $ 42 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 97%

Ageing in Japan is expected to outweigh all other nations – more than 20% of the country’s population is over the age of 65 today and by 2055, this is expected to rise to 38%. Japanese society, while highly modern, still grasps onto tradition in the way they care for the elderly population. Sons and daughters place the responsibility for caring for their elderly parents on themselves, many times at the cost of their own career advancement or overall life path. This cultural norm contributed to a big gap in the Japanese social welfare scenario - aside from poor quality public homes and extravagant private homes for the very wealthy, there were no affordable, quality elderly care options for middle and low income populations up until the 1980s.

Innovation and Activities
Over the last three decades, Masue has engineered the field of assisted living. In the late 1980’s Masue started renovating pre-owned dormitory buildings (staff dorms built by corporations and abandoned during the economic downfall) and converting them into user-oriented, home-like living environment at affordable cost for middle-class families. In 1990, she created Shinkokai, a for profit company, that opened and managed 16 elderly care facilities and her approach – popularly known as the “Shinkokai” model – was later adopted by others and become standard in the welfare industry. With the goal of making change happen in public nursing homes, Masue started Shinko-Fukushikai as a Social Welfare Corporation – a special legal form regulated and supported financially by the Government to extend welfare services. In 2001, Masue sold the private company to Benesse Corporation, now one of the leaders in the private nursing home industry in Japan.

To address the stigma attached to nursing homes, Masue decided to ensure that her nursing homes were held to standards that had never been set before. She invested in professional consulting to improve service quality and successfully certified the organisation on “ISO-9001” standards – a first in the elderly care industry in Japan. Up to date, the social welfare corporation Shinko Fukushikai has 36 elderly care and 8 child care operations. The operations are financially sustainable, with 35% of the revenue from its clients and remaining from government subsidies.

The Entrepreneurs
Masue Katayama is the founder and managing director of the social welfare corporation, Shinko Fukushikai. Masue was born in Osaka in 1940 and prior to founding her social enterprise activities, she was an active volunteer in orphanages and other social work in post- war Japan. She was nominated as an Ashoka fellow in 2012. Seiko Adachi, daughter of Masue, joined the Shinkokai Corporation in 1998 and was appointed to Executive Head as of April 1, 2010.