Journalist. Born in 1968 Tokyo, started to contribute for some magazines during Waseda university days around 1991. After graduate, belonged to a science magazine as a correspondent, published from Kodansha ltd. Then switched to a general biweekly magazine. In 1996, took a freelance way.
Ken MORI covers wide range of social issues: employment, education, economic, politic, science and technology.
In 2012, was honored with “Oya Soichi Nonfiction Award” which is the best value among nonfiction awards in Japan, for the works of “TSUNAMI”(kids’ essays) and “Children of “TSUNAMI”” published in 2011.
In 2015, was honored with “Shogakukan Nonfiction Award” for the work of “Pray and management–the biography of Ogura masao who innovated Takkyubin”. it also is the best nonfiction award by Shogakukan publisher ltd.
Usually contributes Japanese leading and quality magazines and newspapers; “monthly Bungeishunju”, “weekly Bunshun”, “weekly AERA”, “Asahi newspaper”, “Mainichi newspaper”, “Yomiuri newspaper” and many more media.
Ken MORI’s major works/ Books from 2001 to 2013
In 2001, “Century of remodeling human body”(Kodansha)
2000 was a remarkable year for human genome. Human genome project, supported by US, UK, EU and Japan revealed the draft of a whole human genome. Celera Genomics, a private company also did it by themselves. World gave both of them a big applause and anticipated the analysis of DNA would be helpful to human medical. Everybody felt that new century would be a new stage of life science.
On the other hand, some worries also were growing on ethical views. Genome research certainly could be effective against many diseases and helpful to cure them. However if we use it for some improvement beyond treatment, how much is it acceptable ?
In Vitro Fertilization was invented in UK, 1978. This technique is already mostly usual treatment in reproductive medical division. The success of mammal cloning was done in 1996. According to these step ahead, life science engineering seemed to be excess the other day. When we hold the techniques of life science, how far could we go ?
Most of text in this book was reported from April to December 2000 in “Web Gendai”. Those article had many of movie and flash animation for easily understanding, which totally directed by the author. I interviewed over 100 people as researchers, doctors, patients and so on.
1st chapter is about genome and proteome research and treatment so far and in the future.
2nd chapter is about regenerative medicine.
3rd chapter is about a clone engineering.
4th chapter is about a reproductive issues including Prenatal diagnosis.
Some sentences in this book were quoted for school textbook and examination several times.
In 2003, “What is genius?”(Suken publishing)
We often say “genius” in usual life and we can find some book like “how to bring up my child to genius”. A word of genius has basically a meaning of outstanding talents. But when it comes to the matter of function of brain, we don’t know it so much. Since 1990’s brain research has been evaluated highly because of inventions of machines like PET, MRI, fMRI, NIRS. Those results has contributed in many ways. We have much knowledge about function of brain like Broca’s area or frontal lobe.
However we can’t deny we know little about outstanding brain.Besides it, it has classic issues, which is “Nature or Nurture”. It includes more some aspects like education, genomics, (develop)mental disorder and so on.
So I tried to deal with “What is genius”.
On basis of many authentic scientific journals, I took my view to real fields. Mathematics Olympic, abacus champion, junior amateur golf top player, early educational school, MENSA, savant syndrome (developmental disorder), grade skipping boy and bipolar disorder and creativity and so on.
I have travelled from Hokkaido to Kyushu and met some unique people, researchers and doctors. During the one year days of research, I’ve set up themes by degree. I referred to authentic journals and asked questions to specialties. Although there are many issues I had to have for this work, eventually I compiled to one book on March 2003.
In 2004, “PC prince and mobile princess” (Chuo Koron)
This book was a joint work with Dr. Rica Kayama. At that time there were similar problems happening all over Japan. That was low and high teen’s addiction to mobile phone. Except sleeping time they sticked to mobile phone. They were using with eating, watching TV, bathing and so on anytime.
So in this work, I’ve entered some fields and wrote reportage. Dr. Kayama wrote analysis from her research and background psychiatry.
After published, many organization invited me to talk about it. This book also often quoted by exam.
In 2005, “Did Internet make us happy?”(Aspect)
I started series of reportage “Did IT make us happy?” April 2003 on “Web Gendai”(Kodansha). My agenda at that time was simple. Internet and information technology developing day by day. P2P, face recognition, RFID devices, Google and other advanced companies. We find some surprising in them and many anticipate them more useful. But I felt and I wonder if these convenience came to crash some important thing in society. Of course we couldn’t release new technology. Otherwise we have to release something. For example, personal data, real communication, trust for each other…
After finishing the series, I made attempts to compile it with some new researches.
It was 2005. Time of “Web2.0” has come.
As new trend coming to a big wave, blog and other web services bursted over world. Everybody digged into web2.0. Some celebrities declared no need mass media any more only to blog. Market of new industry also rised high.
I doubted such a trend.
In this book, I approached for each chapter new devices or service and problems.
1st chapter is about :mail (CC mail makes our productivity down and accustom to mail need to show who contact you)
2nd chapter is about :what Google will do .(At that time there were few doubted against Google)
3rd chapter is about :blog is journalism or not. (refer to Iraq war or 911, “EPIC 2014”)
4th chapter is about :SNS as a small world is said to expand personal world but actually it promotes polarized in web(what personalization will affect us?).
5th chapter is about :IC tag/card have much privacy (which give us only convenience ?).
6th chapter is about :personal data is what every company wants to have instead of a few of points.
7th chapter is about :surveillance system constructed by millions of private organization.
8th chapter is about :expanding biometrics and other technology which recognize who they are.
9th chapter is about :IT produced secure and objective evidences in every aspects but because of it people and society exclude vague trust or obscure relationship.
In 2006, “Google-Amazonized society”(Kobunsha)
One year passed after shipping “Did Internet make us happy?”, I focused into relation between some huge companies and our society. Google and Amazon. They are nothing but biggest companies in web. Google is not only just search engine but also varieties of amazing new web services. Of course, also is Amazon, which is not only just shopping site but also one of big community and first biggest cloud business player.
As I’ve seen two big players, I have to admit a trend to concentration in web. It is called “Power Law”. This concept was produced in science of complex system or network physics. This theory is highly linked to Google, Amazon and other web services. So this time I intended to write about concentration phenomenon related to Power Law and two big players.
Of course, I had to mention merits and demerits on small world, polarization, personalization or some changes in society.
I dare to say, probably this book must be the first one clearly indicate the problems and doubts against Google and Amazon at least in Japan (may be earlier one in the world).
In 2009, “Entry to Big company”(Bungeishunju)
2008 was a black year. The crash of subprime loan in US affected global economy. Japanese global companies also were damaged strongly. The big shrinkage of US consumers market demanded to downsizing Japanese productions. The bad influence hitted employment market for new graduates directly. The market for new graduates shrinked to 72 % compared to the previous year. It means that about 1/3 of new graduates would not be hired. Most of undergraduates was shocked and at lost.
However the books for them was extremely miserable. Certainly there were many books for them, but most of them were general guidance or manual books for job hunting. There were no books which tell story what kind of persons the company needs.
So I made up my mind to make interview to persons of human resources division in famous companies.
On the other hand, I got a reason, too, to set about this plan.
From 2006 to 2008, I’ve worked on the matter of labor. Owing to law changed in 1999, temporary workers were increasing rapidly. Everybody call them “Working Poor”. I travelled everywhere they worked and took many long interviews. Not only to research poor people but also to interview and research new rich people like IPO millionaires. During the activity, I realized it is not due to change the law, it is involved with many social factors. Unfortunately but frankly speaking, poors were also to be blame.
More to say, at that time the stock market in the US kept on rising. I doubted it would not live longer but I was not able to prove this phenomenon was bubble. I’ve written over 500 pages for that project and revised some times but failed to finish ending up writing the scripts.
I got stuck. And I quitted revising. After that, global economical crisis has come.
So dawn of 2009 was also black to me. I gave up my book and its looser’s feeling ruined me.
The time one fine editor called me up was during grey days. “Do you have interest about changing against employment?”
I abandoned my (thick) book and switched to simple plan. That’s why I began with this book.
The companies accepted were like these: JR-central, MUFG, Tokyo-marines insurance, Mitsui, Bandai, Benesse, Meiji, Fuji-televison, Takeda pharmaceutical,
After publishing many media talked about this book.
In 2010, “Read the Brain book and you’ll feel your brain good”(Kobunsha)
In 2000’s there were 3 booms in Japanese book. one is about self development. one is about making money. The rest one is about brain. Should I say brain book is similar with or a kind of self development. Anyway in the middle of 2000’s, many publishers throwed up brain books. The book title was the easiest way to approach readers. “**** improving your brain”, “**** activity to be good to your brain”. One book written by a famous scientist were sold for over million copies.
I agree with book could be loved or sold, even if it is comic. Any kinds of book give us some intelligence (I hope or I wish).
However as possible as I know, most of them were not “brain” book. Besides, some books related totally fake beyond science. Some authors labelled themselves specialists of brain or psychology but they have written nonsense far from scientific facts.
I was astonished.
So I attempted to survey hundreds of brain books and research the reason brain book became popular. The factors that brain book got familiar has some famous scientists like Dr. Mogi, Dr.Kawashima and the others. Mogi became famous due to his blog and appearance on TV. Kawashima became famous due to videogame he joined development.
If scientists talk scientific thing by specialty words, most of readers might not understand it. Therefore even specialties talk by usual words in popular book. But sometimes it is getting closer to just self development.
At the same time, needs of readers existed. The boom of brain began with 2004 which is the year of stock market rising and second job market on high trend. The gap between winner and loser expanded at that time. People who want to go to upper stage chose brain book as well as self development book. So as market falling, the boom also blasted off.
In 2010, “How did I get Big company’s desk”(Bungeishunju)
After hit of “Entry to Big company”, many readers talked they need to know stories of winners in job hunting. So I tried.
This time I compiled many interviews of rookies in famous companies.
The companies accepted were like these: JR-central, MUFG, Tokyo-marines insurance, Benesse, Meiji, Dentsu, Sony, Suzuki, Toray, Goldman Sachs, Itochu, JTB….
It also includes interviews for persons of human resources division.
In 2011, “People who don’t belong to company”(Kadokawa)
After Lehman brothers shock, I’ve written 2 books about job hunting. Those are, however, about how to get a job in a big company. It doesn’t mean to be independent worker.
So I thought I should show another way to work. I felt that
, “TSUNAMI— kids in disaster area wrote over 80 essays”(Bungeishunju)
, “Children of “TSUNAMI””(Bungeishunju)
In 2012, “TSUNAMI— kids in disaster area wrote over 120 essays”(Bungeishunju)
, “Hope and worry for Big data world”(Kawade shobo)
In 2013, “Reactionary generation”(Kodansha)