Kaoru Kikuchi | International Entrepreneur

Kaoru Kikuchi


From a degree in architecture to a passion for education and social business — and now with KOZO, her new fashion line — Kaoru is making meaningful inroads in the world of fashion and life.

MN: As an international entrepreneur, you seem to do a little of everything. You run an ostrich farm in the Philippines, have a language series called Sexy Mandarin, recently performed in a video for a movie called Deep Gold, and were formerly an architect. Does this mean you know a lot of math and calculus? Is there an analytical side as well as a creative side to Kaoru Kikuchi?


I love being creative and I actually wanted to become an impressionist painter when I was young, but of course my parents forced me to concentrate on math and calculus and get a university degree first.

I was actually really good at math and science at school, though! I’ve waited long enough and I think that’s why I can afford to put all my energy toward creativity and keep producing things that I love!

MN: As for the creative, you also do photography, draw cartoons and even do some oil painting. And now you have KOZO, your own line of pearls and lingerie. You strike me a little bit as a female James Bond: international, adventurous, with a bit of a sense of humor. If there was a KOZO movie, what would it be like? Would it have a happy ending? What sorts of things would happen?

KAORU: My new goal for KOZO is to marry my collection with the sensual touch of the water so all my collection would be shot under water. Anyway, the KOZO movie would be cool and sexy but would be more like Mr. Bean’s Johnny English movie rather than the official James Bond. It would be a lot of action underwater with moments of humor.

MN: One of your first adventures was heading to Shanghai, knowing no one there. Why Shanghai, specifically?

KAORU: I actually studied Architecture in the UK, and I just had enough of it. I also didn’t want to go back to Japan after I graduated.

So I decided to apply for a scholarship to study Mandarin in a university in Shanghai and got accepted.

I had no idea what I wanted to do but I must say I had the best life making great friends, partying and shopping everyday, but most importantly, I became fluent in Chinese and that definitely opened up many exciting opportunities for me.

MN: Where were you born? What languages do you speak? Even though you call the World home, what places are dearest to you, personally (not professionally)?

KAORU: I was born in Tokyo, Japan and I speak Japanese, English and Chinese. I would say I personally call Hong Kong home. I got my favorite hole in the wall wanton noodle place next to me, and it’s such a convenient country, where if you suddenly decide you want to fly somewhere, you can hop on a plane with no plan whatsoever.

MN: Where do you want go next? What cities and countries do you want to conquer, and how?

KAORU: I’ve lived all over Asia, and went to university in Europe. U.S. won’t be much of a challenge for me, so I would say India.

I just love the vibrancy of India and also the food there. Even though I’m not Indian I always wanted to become a Bollywood star, so in my wishful thinking, I would love to conquer the city as the Bollywood actress!

MN: What do you want to do for others? Do you have any favorite charities or causes? How will you make the world a better place?

KAORU: I think education is the key to happiness, and would be the best thing you can offer to someone in need.

I believe in social business, which is basically when the people in need have to work for what they need, so you have to initially loan them money and then they have to pay back. I am trying to implement that with my ostrich farm so that parents can work with us at the farm and earn money to be able to afford education for their children.

Often times when you give the parents money, they use it up on food and other expenses and not education, as they obviously need to eat in the short run.

MN: As for KOZO, who is the KOZO girl?


We are actually going to do the big KOZO Girl search middle of this year, and I am excited to test the contestants on many levels.

Of course the KOZO girl cannot be just a pretty face, but can work with me in photo shoots and commercials on how these products can be worn and styled up! Our new collection has double meaning; “KNOT Pearl” only uses plastic pearls and lots of ribbons instead of metal clasps. In this way, people can wear a necklace as a bracelet, or even as a belt or headpiece. Lots of creativity needed here from the KOZO Girl!

MN: How do you define success? And what is the secret of success?

KAORU: I think success is not measured by how people perceive you, especially with fame or wealth, but more based on your self-satisfaction when you become proud with what you have achieved. I mean who cares what people think of you?

So the secret of success is when you find something that you are passionate about and you execute it!


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