Do you remember the movie Captain Philip which starred Tom Hanks. It was based on a true story, of pirates, kidnapping, ransoms in the seas off Somalia. Lately though, there has been almost zero news about oil tankers and cargo ships being hijacked; no more millions dollar negotiations and ransoms. The movie was nominated for a few Oscars in 2014. Kiyoshi Kimora however won an award the year prior.
So who is Kiyoshi Kimura then?
Well Kiyoshi Kimura is the president of Sushi Zanmai, a famous Sushi restaurant chain in Japan. He is also famous for paying US$1.76 million for ONE Bluefin Tuna and causing an uproar among wildlife conservationist – the Bluefin is an endangered species.
“So why did he win an award,” you ask?
Believe it or not Kiyoshi Kimura almost single handedly put an end to piracy in the waters off the Somalian coast. How?
Traditionally the waters off the coast of Somalia were famous for its Yellowfin (Ahi) tuna. But because of the years of civil wars there, and an almost non-existent economy and infrastructure, a high number of farmers and fisherman took to the seas and became pirates, hijacking mostly oil tankers and bulk carriers.
Kimura, an opportunist perhaps, negotiated with the pirates to catch some tuna for him while on their way to attack ships; he’d buy it off them for his restaurants in Japan.
He also went out of his way to provide ships and skills required for tuna fishing and assisted in the process of them joining the IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission).
Pretty soon the pirates discovered that it was far less stressful and risky, and more meaningful and rewarding to catch fish for a living, then as pirates.
For his efforts in helping to reduce piracy, Kimura was awarded a medal by the government of Djibouti in 2013.
The lesson here however is how problems can be solved with a change of perspectives – that it always doesn’t have to involve force or coercion – and in employing a win-win approach. In this case it was a win for Kimura, for the people who felt they had no choice but to become pirates, for restoring peace in the ocean, for the tuna fishing industry, for the crew and owners of shipping companies.
Start the Domino effect by seeing someone or something with new eyes or a new perspective and then see what happens.