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Michele Guarnieri

Co-founder, CEO

Date of birth: Oct. 11, 1973

Hometown: Mantua, Italy

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 19 (as of February 2020)

Michele Guarnieri
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

It was definitely through the first animations coming from Japan in the ‘80s in Italy. Since then I was literally in love with whatever was related to robots. Later on, with my university studies in computer science, I decided to concentrate my efforts on robotics and applied for a scholarship to continue my studies in Japan.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

I don’t have a motto but I have two main principles that guide me through my everyday life. The first one is to not give up; when I want to obtain and believe in something I do not stop trying. The second one is based on the fact that I work because I have a family and not the opposite; it is extremely important to take work-life balance, which sometimes could be hard to do here in Japan.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

The first one is having established a venture company in Japan — HiBot. HiBot was the first company established by foreigners at the university (I went to). Another is having contributed to the assessment of Fukushima Prefecture’s nuclear power plant. When I saw our snake-like robot in action inside the crippled power plant from the control room, it was definitely an important moment, despite the dramatic situation.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

To make history, and to leave something future generations. If I had to put so much at stake, by moving from my own country and getting used to living in Japan, I wouldn’t settle for any smaller goal. We are on our way to obtain those goals with HiBot, as we are making the jobs of many people involved in the inspection and maintenance of aging infrastructure safer.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

My advice would be to try to integrate as much as possible — from day zero — into Japanese culture and learn the language. By doing so, we can understand many aspects of this country; aspects that normally are wrongly perceived as “problems” or “items” that make Japanese people different from us. Obviously, every country has its own pros and cons. However, since we are here as guests, just like when we enter the house of someone else, we must respect the environment. Try to absorb Japanese culture as much as possible, while enjoying the process! Do so, whatever the reason you are here for.

Last updated: Feb 3, 2020