I was born in Tokyo, Japan. I majored in applied physics when I was in college and attended the master’s program at the University of Tokyo. There, I had a chance to attend a class on decision theory and gained an interest in economics. Although I decided to change my major to economics at that time, it was difficult to change majors while doing a different graduate study.
After finishing the master’s program, I got a job in the Japanese government and gained experience in creating economic policies. After spending about two years at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI, currently called the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: METI), I decided to apply to a graduate school in the U.S. to study economics and went to the University of Chicago.
While completing my dissertation with Gary Becker as my advisor, I took on a lecturing job at the University of Miami, Florida. A year later, I moved to the World Bank and worked there as a consultant economist. Since 1997, I have been teaching economics at Keio University, a private university in Tokyo. I was also a short-time visitor at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, Hitotsubashi University and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS).
I am one of the principal designers and the current principal investigator of the Japan Child Panel Survey (JCPS), the first longitudinal data of children with measures of both cognitive and non-cognitive skills in Japan, which started in 2010 at Keio. My current research areas are an evaluation of the Japanese education policy and an estimation of the dynamics of educational achievement using panel data.
In my spare time, I also serve as a founder/CEO of www.gaccom.jp, a web directory of Japanese schools similar to greatschools.org.