Head of Classicompany, he has been in the share house industry since 2009 and is currently handling more than 10 properties in the city.

Everyone should experience hardships while they are young


For today’s interview we had the pleasure of speaking with this gentleman about topics other than just the share house industry. Starting off talking about the share properties he currently manages, we moved onto his personal history and a frank discussion about life itself. Mr. Ohara experienced much hardship during his formative years and because of this empathizes with today’s youth, saying that the past experiences he felt were pointless at the time actually helped him become who he is today.


We sat down to talk to Mr. Ohara about the future of the share house industry, his own visions, and the possibility of share houses helping to solve Japan’s social problems with the country in a state of impending crisis.


In this interview we delve into the thoughts of Mr. Ohara, who, in his position as manager and with his extensive experience, delivers word after word of invaluable importance.


Mr. Ohara graciously agreed to an interview. Before sitting down with us he was working on the interior construction in his work gear.

Being consistent in creating places he would want to live himself

Classicompany currently manages over 10 different share house properties within the city. When inquiring as to what was the company’s concept, Mr. Ohara replied that there wasn’t any in particular. However, behind those words lay a consistent, most fundamental answer unlike those easily thrown around in advertisement and publicity. That is, providing a place for others that he would want to live in himself. We spoke to Mr. Ohara about this ideal.

---Where did this idea of creating places you yourself would want live in sprout from?
Mr. Ohara

I originally began in the share house industry around 5 years ago, and being asked to create a place for a foreign friend living in Japan was where it started. I also lived in a share house at that time, too. By living with a large group of people myself I came to understand clearly just what was necessary and what was lacking in such an environment. I thought about how I would go about creating a share house, and it occurred to me that that’s exactly what I should do.

---So your own experience living in a share house is useful in your line of work. What did you do before you started developing share houses?
Mr. Ohara

Oh, I have had so much experience it’s impossible to talk about it all, and I mean that in both a good and bad way. Growing up my family owned its own business and I was surrounded by businessmen so from a young age all I thought about was making money myself. I was already an expert at counting money when I was in elementary school (laughs). I did some work in Nagoya when I was younger and there were times when I was pulling in a ridiculous amount of cash. But of course, money attracts scammers and I was cheated out a lot of it.

---Oh, really? You don’t seem like the kind of person who could be deceived very easily.
Mr. Ohara

I was very young and I guess the good guys always get cheated, huh (laughs). I was even deceived by close friends I trusted, too. I hit rock bottom and didn’t know where I was going or what I should do.

---You could develop a serious distrust of others experiencing something like that.
Mr. Ohara

Yeah, that time in my life was really hard for me. Even so, seeing as I’ve come so far I look back on it as a good experience. Of course it would never happen now and I would never want to experience it again at my age, but I think everyone should experience some hardship when they are young. I don’t intend to force anyone to put themselves in such a position, but you really grow as a person and will look back on the time you spent fondly later on in life.

The decision to live in a share house can change who you are as a person

---Getting back on topic, what do you think is the main appeal of living in a share house?
Mr. Ohara

I think the most common answer is being able to meet a lot people with different values, but I think that from a businessman’s point of view, it’s the process of creating a house that’s really enjoyable. I may be dressed normally now but when I’m on the job I’m almost always in my work gear. I do a lot of the interior work myself, like wallpapering and putting up door frames.

---Wow, even the head of the company himself works on site!
Mr. Ohara

Yeah, I don’t think many people do (laughs). Unlike regular rental properties, one of the features of a share house is the communal space tenants can interact in and I can implement my own ideas as I see fit. One of my houses was actually inspired by a café I walked into by chance. I get a real kick out of turning my ideas into reality and I hope the tenants enjoy it, too.

---I think tenants would be really glad to know that you guys are enjoying yourselves while planning and managing the share houses. Tell me, what is the secret to enjoying a shared living lifestyle in a share house?
Mr. Ohara

I think that would depend on the house and the kind of people living there, however there is one thing I want you to bear in mind - greeting others. There are surprisingly a lot of people who don’t greet others properly despite it being a part of basic conduct. I’m sure there are people who aren’t very good at talking to other people, but just by exchanging greetings another’s impression of you changes considerably. Exchange greetings properly and you will never be disliked by others. You’re probably wondering what I’m going on about, but to build good relationships with others you need to use your greetings.

---So you’re saying that common courtesy is most important when interacting with others no matter where you go, right. I have many more questions to ask you but to end things tell us about what’s next for you?
Mr. Ohara

We’re not just renting out rooms to live in, we’re working in an industry where having heart and soul is important so the thought of contributing to society is always in my mind. I wouldn’t do this job if I was just in it for the money. I really think that Japan is in a terrible state. We have a society with a steadily increasing ageing population, and with this problem only becoming more severe, share houses are places where people can live comfortably without feeling lonely. I want to make share houses a part of the future. One interesting idea might be to hold events for finding suitable marriage partners. I also want rearrange the structure of the company itself. Particularly, creating a daycare centre within the office to provide an environment for women to continue working even after they have given birth to their children.
To put it simply, I want to develop and popularize an industry that could be the beginning to solving the problems Japan is faced with. That is my current objective.

Very much still a novice reporter, I felt a kind of exhilaration hearing Mr. Ono’s clear reply and learned a lot myself.
It goes without saying that the share houses themselves are most appealing, but so is the outlook of the staff working behind the scenes and if you live in a house while embracing these various ideals you may even grow more attached to the place.
Mr. Ono graciously spoke to us for over an hour during the interview (including off-the-record topics) and while there are a lot of things I would love to relay to our readers, Mr. Ono makes appearances at events held periodically at the house (they previously held a BBQ in a location looking out at Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay) so if you ever have the chance I recommend you speak to him in person.
I, too, would love to get the chance to speak with Mr. Ono again the next time he unveils a new share house. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us next!
Author/Shinya Kagawa
Manager and editor of Tokyo SHAREHOUSE. Currently living in a share house and is proud to have visited almost 300 other share house properties. Being a tenant himself he aims to spread the appeal of share houses to others.

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