Video message from Professor Muhammad Yunus

Congratulations, Grameen Nippon!

I am absolutely delighted and very very happy that it finally happened.
Masa Kan, you have been trying it for so many years now, you have been following me everywhere. When I was doing it in the USA, Grameen America, you were right there. You wanted to do it right away. But it took time because you were outside of Japan. Now you’re back in Japan and you want to do that. It’s a wonderful commitment that you made, and I enjoyed it because it happens and it touches people’s lives.

I keep repeating that financial service is like the financial oxygen to people. If you don’t have oxygen, we cannot breathe, we collapse, we become difunctional. That’s what happens when people have no access to financial oxygen. Once you are deprived of financial oxygen, you become disfunctional and totally disoriented, you don’t know what to do in yourself because you can’t do anything. The moment you’re connected with the financial oxygen, you’re alive and active and productive and creative. And that’s what microcredit does, and that’s what Grameen Nippon will be doing in Japan, as it has done in Bangladesh, and in the USA and all over the Europe and all over the world.

So this is something exciting. People who are staying do not know what they can do. The moment you bring some small financial resource in their disposal, suddenly their mind starts taking and they start working “yeah, I can do something”. All human beings are packed with unlimited creative power. But many do not have the capacity to use them. One reason why they cannot use their creative capacity is because they have nothing to work with.

We have created the world based on money. Money begets money. If you don’t have money, you cannot catch money. Nobody gives the first amount of money in the hands of the person who doesn’t have anything. So, he or she remains that way, because he or she cannot take the next step. The moment you give the first amount of money, they start catching the money. And they can make bigger catch and bigger catch, and continue. And they become active. They become productive citizens, dignified citizens of the country instead of being a burden on everybody else. That’s what Grameen Nippon will be doing.

In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank, the bank that we created back in 1976, today it has over 9 million borrowers, mostly women, they are 97% of the 9 million. They live all over Bangladesh in 80,000 villages. Grameen bank works in every single village of Bangladesh. The basic principle that we adopted for Grameen Bank is people should not come to the bank. Bank should go the people. You see. That’s why we go to the people. They don’t have to come to our office, they don’t even know where the office is. Because we come to them every week, do the business with them at their door step, they are comfortable, they don’t have to go round and round, they don’t come to go to some places else, awaiting line behind the counter… something like that, they don’t have to do that, their time is precious, and we respect that. That’s what happened. We consult with the poor people.

We remove the whole idea of the collateral. There’s no collateral in Grameen Bank. So it’s all based on trust, and we deal billions of dollars every year. With our money it comes back. The repayment rate is over 99%. We never had any problems since1976, the beginning of the bank. So, that’s the strength of the people’s desire to reach those financial resources so that they can transform their lives. And that’s a very important thing. Grameen Bank, since we don’t have any collateral, we don’t have any lawyers. We are the only lawyer-free bank in the whole world. But we have no problem. Our repayment rate never faltered.

And the same thing is in the United States. Grameen America, which we started ten years back. Today we have over 100,000 borrowers, all women, 100% women. We have given out over billion dollars loan through 20 branches in 12 cities in the United States. We have never had trouble problem of getting money back. No collateral, no guarantee, nothing. People pay back the money, because of the benefit from that. They transform their lives, they become dignified, confident human being. They have so many skills they could not use before. The moment they’re given the money, suddenly they become getting active. So, we can transform the society completely, bringing respect to the people at the bottom, and transform the financial system. And looking at the world completely differently, instead of becoming a burden on the society, they become productive asset of the society and dignified citizens of the country. That’s what they do.

So, I am very happy that you’re launching this. And I am looking forward to its history, how it grows, and I am very very interested to see it growing faster and faster reaching out to people who have not been reached. You’ll be needing a lot of support from everybody else, today, all your friends attending this celebration. And I am sure they are thinking about the ways to support you. And that’s a good thought it doesn’t need enormous amount of money to do that. Just finance a few loans, that’s about it. Once you finance a few loans, 50 loans, 100 loans, that’s doesn’t need huge amount of money. It’s a loan you give, you don’t have to give away the money, you can invest in there, the organization. And let them reach out to more and more people. And if you feel proud that you’ve done something. I keep saying to everybody that making money is a happiness but making other people happy is a super happiness. I am sure supporting Grameen Nippon you’ll feel the same super happiness as I feel every day. That’s a wonderful feeling.

Good luck, congratulations again!

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace Laureate 2006
Founder, Grameen Bank
Chairman, Yunus Centre




私は、いつも金融サービスは人間にとって「金融の酸素」のようなものだと言っています。 酸素がなければ、呼吸できず、衰弱し、機能不全に陥ってしまいます。 金融の酸素にアクセスできなくとも、同じことが起こります。 金融の酸素が奪われると、私たちは機能不全に陥り朦朧となって何もできなくなり、何をしたらよいのか分からなくなってしまいます。金融の酸素を得られると、私たちは息を吹き返し、生産的に活動し創造的になります。 それがマイクロクレジットの力であり、これからグラミン日本がやろうとしていることです。そしてバングラデッシュ、アメリカ、ヨーロッパなど世界各地で行われてきたことです。

自分には何もできないと、たたずんでいた人がわずかながらも自由に使えるお金を手にした瞬間、突然、心と体が動き出して「そうだ、私も何かできるはず」と考え始め行動に移すのです。これは、とてもワクワクすることです。 すべての人間は、無限の創造力を持っています。しかし、その力を使える人は多くありません。創造力を発揮できない理由の1つは、力を発揮するすべがないからです。

私たちはお金がベースとなる世界を作りました。お金はお金を生みます。お金を持っていないと、お金を得ることはできません。持たざる者に、最初にお金を与える人はいません。そのため、貧しい人は次のステップに進むことができず、いつまでも貧しいままなのです。貧しい人でも最初のお金さえ与えられれば、お金を得ることができるようになります。得られるお金はどんどん増え続けるようになります。そして活動的で生産的になり、誰かのお荷物ではない、立派な市民になるのです。 そういうことを、グラミン日本はやろうとしているのです。

バングラデッシュのグラミン銀行は、1976年に創設され、現在は900万人以上の借り手がいます。900万人の借り手の97%は女性です。彼らの住まいはバングラデッシュ全体で8万もの村々に及びます。 グラミン銀行は、バングラデッシュのすべての村で稼働しています。グラミン銀行では、借り手は銀行に来店しなくてよいという基本原則が採用されています。 銀行が、借り手のところに行かなくてはなりません。だから私たちが借り手の方に行くのです。借り手は、私たちのオフィスに来る必要はありませんし、オフィスがどこにあるのかも知りません。私たちは毎週借り手のところに行き、彼女たちの玄関先で業務を行います。その方が借り手は快適です。借り手がわざわざ銀行にやってきたり、カウンター越しに順番待ちをさせられたりする必要もありません。彼女たちの時間は貴重で、私たちはそれを尊重しています。それがグラミン銀行で起きていることです。私たちは貧しい人々と相談します。





グラミン日本は、今日、この設立記念パーティに出席している友人のみなさんから多くの支援をしてもらうことが必要でしょう。ご出席の皆さんもグラミン日本を支援する方法をいろいろ考えていることと思います。しかし、莫大な金額が必要な訳ではないということをぜひ知っておいてください。融資数軒分の支援をしていただくだけでよいのです。50でも100でも、そのぐらいの件数分であれば決して大きな額にはなりません。そしてそのお金は形を変えてあなたの下に残ります。皆さまのお金はグラミン日本への投資となるのです。そしてグラミン日本がさらに多くの人に手を差し伸べことができるようにさせてください。きっと、皆さんはグラミン日本に支援したことを誇りに思うでしょう。私はいつも皆に言っているのですが、お金を稼ぐことは幸せですが、他人を幸せにすることはさらに大きな幸せ(super happiness)です。グラミン日本を支援することで、支援者の皆さんも、きっと私が毎日感じているのと同じ最高の幸せを感じられることと確信しています。本当に素晴らしい気分ですよ。