Press release

Mercari R4D Appoints Dr. Yoshihiro Kawahara as Head of Research

To supervise research and development planning, oversee development of new partnerships, and accelerate deployment

Mercari R4D (“R4D”), the research and development arm of Mercari, Inc. (“Mercari”), would like to announce the appointment of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawahara as Head of Research, a new position established on April 1, 2022. Dr. Kawahara currently serves as a faculty member of School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo.

Since Mercari founded R4D in 2017, the organization has conducted research and development linked to innovation and social issue resolution, aiming to deploy its findings to benefit society. The scope of their research has grown over time, however, and managing its different research domains has become an increasingly complex task. By welcoming Dr. Kawahara as R4D’s Head of Research, a position to propose and push forward R&D strategy and reach out to new collaborators, the organization aims to strengthen its ability to push R&D forward and further accelerate deployment.

Dr. Kawahara has ample experience conducting fruitful research in a wide variety of domains—including information science, electrical engineering, and manufacturing—as well as a track record of connecting that research to deployment through partnerships with startups and other companies that trace their history back to university research labs. R4D will leverage Dr. Kawahara’s experience to bolster organization management, develop junior researchers, and strengthen the organization’s ties to academia, aiming for actual deployment of R4D’s research.

Yoshihiro Kawahara – Career History
Dr. Kawahara was born in 1977. He currently serves as Professor at School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo.
Dr. Kawahara completed his doctoral thesis at the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo in 2005, earning him a Ph.D. in Information Science and Technology. After occupying the positions of assistant, adjunct professor, lecturer, and associate professor of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, he was appointed Professor of School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo in 2019. He also served as Project Director of the JST ERATO Kawahara Universal Information Network Project from 2015 to 2022. He became Director of the Research Institute for an Inclusive Society through Engineering (RIISE) in 2019. He has also served as a member of Mercari R4D’s Advisory Board since 2019.

Dr. Kawahara has dedicated himself to research and development in information and communications. He has presented more than 240 papers as part of academic journals and international forums, and he has received a number of major awards, such as the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Prize. He has also served on ACM/IEEE’s Editorial Board, as well as on the Program Committee for their international conferences. In recent years, his work has focused on giving back to society by creating innovation as a member of academic groups and public agencies.

A Comment from Dr. Yoshihiro Kawahara
Today, corporate growth and social change are driven by the birth of new technologies we see each day.
My career thus far has been within universities, working on research and development within academia. My involvement with R4D started in 2019, when I joined R4D’s Advisory Board. This experience has given me plenty of opportunities to think about the advantages and challenges of both academic and corporate research.
I have come to believe that the choice between joining the corporate world or staying in academia does not need to be a mutually exclusive one. This is true not only of the technological development required to achieve Mercari’s mission of “create value in a global marketplace where anyone can buy & sell,” but also the work done to address the most important issues facing Japanese society and humankind today.
I have been given the opportunity to act both as a university educator and the Head of Research for a corporate research lab. I want R4D to suggest a model that other organizations could adopt, incorporating a wide variety of stakeholders that can contribute to both our members’ talent development and research sharing, as we strive to achieve a more sustainable and inspiring world.

Mercari and R4D will continue to create future-facing innovation for Mercari Group’s services and businesses, aiming to deploy that innovation beyond the confines of our labs.


About Mercari R4D
Mercari R4D was established in December 2017 as a research and development organization that aims to implement its findings practically, as part of the world at large. R4D stands for Research and 4 D’s: Design, Development, Deployment, and Disruption.
R4D aims to create future innovation for the Mercari Group’s services and businesses centered on the core concept of changing value exchange through technology. It conducts research and development in such areas as AI, blockchain, HCI (human-computer interaction), quantum computing, and mobility.
Website: https://r4d.mercari.com/