Due to the global concern regarding the new coronavirus outbreak and the international travel restrictions, we have taken the decision to cancel the conference. We are currently working to secure a new date and this will be advised in due course. Our thoughts are with all those affected, around the world. We thank you all for your understanding.

Whole Earth 2020@Tokyo

Half Century since Whole Earth Catalog
Shaping the Future with Technology


March 13th 2020 13:00 START | SHIBUYA PARCO DG BLDG, 18F Dragon Gate



Half Century since Whole Earth Catalog

~Shaping the Future with Technology~

THE NEW CONTEXT CONFERENCE (NCC),  an annual conference hosted by Digital Garage co-founder Kaoru Hayashi and Joichi Ito, is held since 2005. The conference is aimed at those interested Internet technology and the businesses which emerges from it.

As this year marks DG’s 25th anniversary, we will be hosting the conference at a new conference hall, “Dragon Gate”, which can hold a capacity of about 1,000 people, on the 18th floor of our new office – Shibuya PARCO DG Building –. On March 13 (Friday), we will host 21st NCC as the very first event at this new conference hall.

To celebrate the anniversary, the theme of this year’s conference is “Whole Earth 2020 @Tokyo”. The main speaker is Stewart Brand, a founder of the “Whole Earth Catalog (WEC)”. WEC is a legendary publication that significantly impacted the hippie culture 50 years ago, and also became a philosophical foundation for the Internet Revolution. It is well known that Steve Jobs referred to the phrase from the back cover of the catalog’s final issue: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” during a commencement speech at Stanford University. In our 21st conference, we will discuss the future of technology, the global environment, and smart cities in the next 25 years. 


<Digital Garage's 25th Anniversary Event>

Date:March 13 (Friday), 2020, 1:00p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 12:30 p.m.)
Location:Dragon Gate (DG’s conference hall) 18F Shibuya PARCO DG Building, 15-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 

Co-hosts:Digital Garage, Inc.;, Inc.; Credit Saison Co., Ltd.; KDDI CORPORATION
Hosts:Kaoru Hayashi (Group CEO at Digital Garage), Joichi Ito (Board of Directors Member and Co-Founder at Digital Garage)



Joichi Ito

 Board of Directors Member and 


 Digital Garage 

Stewart Brand

 “Whole Earth Catalog” Founder/Editor  

Ryan Phelan

 Co-founder & Executive Director, 

 Revive & Restore 

Jun Murai


 Faculty of Environment and 

 Information Studies, Keio University 

Lisa Katayama​

 Creative Director, 


Koizumi Hideki


 Future Design Shibuya 

And More...

※Speakers are subject to change without notice.

※John Markoff's talk has been canceled.





  What's WEC  

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

The catalog was hugely popular among young Americans in the 1960s to 1970s and also impacted the Japanese publishing industry. On the theme of “Access to Tools,” the WEC was published in 1968 to showcase useful products and information as wisdom for living on the Earth.

Stewart Brand, the catalog’s editor, asked NASA in the late 1960s to release a photograph of the Earth taken from space, which was treated as a military secret at that time. This photo was printed on the cover of the WEC, and afterwards it became a standard for the catalog to feature photos of the Earth from space on the cover.

It is well known that Steve Jobs referred to the WEC in his commencement speech at Stanford 2005: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”—a phrase from the back cover of Whole Earth Epilog issued in 1974. He praised the WEC as “Google in paperback form,” which got people interested in the publication once again.

Many Japanese catalog mooks and magazines drew influence from the WEC in the 1970s, including the “Made in U.S.A. Catalog” (1975), “First Whole City Catalog” (1976), “Yu”, and “POPEYE”. It is not an exaggeration to say they were the main roots of the major Japanese subculture magazines that came afterwards. We are once again called to think about the effects of countercultures from the 1960s to 1970s, as well as the great presence of the WEC.



 Opening Remarks  

13:00 - 13:10

 Kaoru Hayashi


13:10 - 13:30

Stewart Brand

How culture and technology created the Internet revolution and it will guide our way forward

  Session 1  

13:30 - 14:10

How culture and technology created the Internet revolution and it will guide our way forward

Panel: Joichi Ito (Moderator), Stewart Brand, Jun Murai,TBD

In the 1960s, people had limited access to computer and it was perceived as a symbol of centralized and bureaucratic institutions. Meanwhile, Stewart Brand advocated  "Information wants to be free," and published the legendary publication "Whole Earth Catalog" to lead counterculture to become the philosophical basis of the Internet Revolution. We will look back on those days and imagine the future.

  Session 2  

14:10 - 15:10

The future of the blue marble - a complex self-adaptive system - and our role in its future

Talk:Ryan Phelan
Panel:Joichi Ito (Moderator), Stewart Brand, Ryan Phelan, TBD

The world is now intricately structured with economies, social relations and environmental issues. It has become a standard to continuously seek for greater efficiency and optimization. Although it is impossible to control all of these distributed complex systems, we should take an agilely pivoting approach to further shape the future. In this session, we will think of the future of the Earth, the mission and fate of humankind.


15:10 - 15:30

  Session 3  

15:30 - 16:30

The rise of Asia and Global Incubation

Talk:Teruhide Sato
Panel:Teruhide Sato (Moderator), Joichi Ito, Ying Lee, Sandeep Aggarwal

Asia is undergoing rapid economic growth in recent years. Particularly in the three regions of China, India, and Southeast Asia that are greatly impacting the global economy, and becoming sources of innovation with many rising, prominent startups. We will explore innovations produced in these regions and figure out the essence of globally scaling businesses.

  Session 4  

16:30 - 17:30

Designing Creative Smart City 〜Beyond Tokyo 2020〜

Talk:Ken Hasebe
Panel:Ken Hasebe, Lisa Katayama, Hideki Koizumi

Tokyo is drawing attention from across the world as the Olympics approach. Yet, how should we design future Tokyo into a world-renowned, environmentally friendly, diverse, advanced city where people are comfortable living and working, even after the Olympics? We will depict future images of Shibuya and Tokyo together with people active on the front lines of the creative and technology industries.

  Closing Remarks  

17:30 - 17:45

Joichi Ito

*Simultaneous interpretation will be provide.

*Please note that conference agenda and speakers are subject to change.


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Come Join Us

START: 1PM March 13, 2020 

18F Shibuya PARCO DG Building, 15-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

© 2020 Digital Garage, Inc. All rights reserved

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