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Proposal of “Intellectual Tie (CHI-EN) ”: a new way of connection through intellectual curiosity

I wrote an article that a new kind of personal connection will increase its importance for retired people in Vol. 7 2001 issue of my newsletter, “Smart Senior Business Review”. This is the fourth tie of relationship to replace or reinforce the three ties that have dominated the older adults’ lives for many years: blood (family) tie, regional (community) tie, and company (business) tie.


The fourth tie – an intellectual tie – will help the development of the older adults’ community.

Smart Senior Business Review, Vol.7


I introduced this concept again on the evening edition of Nikkei, a quality paper in Japan on March 30th, 2002, in an article titled as “How to Live Your Life after Retirement – a New Tie Will Make Your Life Vital”. I also presented an idea of a new way of dwelling for the near future in my book, “Senior Business: Ten Successful Strategies for a Diverse Market”, specifically in Chapter 9, “Intellectual Tie: Intellectual stimulations can be the driving force to formulate the older adults’ residential community”.


The Nikkei, March 30th, 2002

How to Live Your Life after Retirement – A New Tie Will Make Your Life Vital


The English Teachers’ Magazine, March 2003

A Village Where Older Adults Gather with Intellectual Tie


In contrast with the traditional ties such as “blood tie” and “company tie”, I defined the new “intellectual tie” as a connection being based on shared intellectual curiosity.


Compared to an earlier time of large families, today’s smaller nuclear families have decreased the significance of  “blood ties”. As a child grows up to be an adult, his/her activity areas grow bigger as well, which eventually weakens his/her “regional ties”. If he/she starts working in a company, his/her “company ties” will be his/her major community until the day he/she retires. After retirement, this “company tie” will gradually disappear, while it is difficult to recover your “regional ties” all at once. On the other hand, it is easier to create a new community based on your interests or hobbies, which is what I call “intellectual ties”.


The traditional “company tie” and “regional tie” are based on a place you belong to, while this new “intellectual tie” is based on empathy and shared interests with other people. These connections are supported by personal or social media such as email, blog, and social network services. Personal messages or information that you send out through these kinds of media can bring opportunities to evoke favorable responses from unknown people.


There is a new word often heard these days in Japan: MUEN, meaning “no personal ties”. The so-called MUEN society and the CHI-EN (intellectual ties) society have both appeared due to changes in family structures and the popularity of information devices.

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