Designer, Artist, Entrepreneur

Mieko Matsumaru Murao松丸三枝子

Graphnetwork co-founder
See Em Why K CEO/designer

Mieko Murao (Matsumaru) was born in Tokyo, Japan. She independently established a graphic design firm "Natural Graphic" at 19. The company, including her eight employees, was acquired by a web development firm "Jambase" as its design division. After serving as the Vice President and Senior Designer, she decided to leave and establish Graphnetwork, an online-contents production company focusing on user-friendly design. From ideation to system development, Graphnetwork provides everything from a website's start-up to getting it up and running and beyond. Her innovative ideas, strategies, and thoughtful designs have led the company to become one of Japan's leading web development firms, producing over 1,000 websites and Apps. After she devoted her time as the CEO and designer of Graphnetwork for a decade, she moved to Los Angeles to expand the company globally.

She obtained her investment visa by purchasing a restaurant. She established a company, produced several restaurants in Los Angeles, and sold them all for profit. Three years later, she shifted her gear towards UI/UX design for the clients she gained from the food/entertainment industry. During this time, she realized that doing business in the U.S. had its own set of rules and cultures, and having that knowledge would have complemented the lessons she learned on the front lines. This realization sets her on a journey from the University of The People to UC Berkeley to MIT. She completed her bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley while raising her son and maintaining her businesses. She completed her master's degree at MIT IDM (Integrated Design and Management) program and researched Design Thinking. In 2020, she also founded a shop called Crane and Turtle in Boston to introduce Japan-made household items that are sustainable and practical, which advocate the mitigation of waste, and the culture of cherishing things. She continues to research human-centered design and develop products and services from that standpoint.

東京都出身。19歳でグラフィックデザイン会社Natural Graphicを設立。8人の従業員を含む同社はWeb開発会社のJambaseのデザイン部門として買収され、21歳の若さでJambaseの副社長兼シニアデザイナーに就任。その後同じ職場で勤務していたプログラマーである桜田と新たに株式会社グラフネットワークを設立。少人数ながらも数多くの案件をこなし、UX/UIのスペシャリストとしてWeb制作誌等で認知されるように。
全くコネクションの無い中でアメリカに渡り、単独でビジネスをはじめ、疑問にぶち当たったらオンラインで独自に学ぶという事を繰り返す中、これはもう一度学校に行って学び直した方が良いと考え、オンラインオンリーの大学UoPeopleで単位を取得後、UC Berkeleyに編入。子育てと仕事の傍ら首席で卒業を果たし、MIT(マサチューセッツ工科大学)の大学院に通うために家族でボストンに拠点を移す。ボストンでは伝統工芸品などを扱うショップCrane&Turtleを立ち上げ、ショップの経営を行いながらMITではIntegrated Design and Management (IDM) というプログラムでデザイン思考やイマーシブエクスペリエンスに関する研究を行う。


Businesses I established

Natural Graphic、LLC

A design office that I started when I was 19 years old. Launched a free paper/magazine called Contact, a club information magazine.


Graphnetwork, Inc.

My company became a joint stock company in 2004. The company provides web design services and a wide range of online solutions for clients such as Kadokawa Film, ANAP, Universal Music, and T&G.

2004年に株式会社化。角川映画、ANAP、Universal Music, T&Gなど多方面に渡る業界のWeb制作及びオンラインソリューションを担当

Graphinetwork USA

The Los Angeles Branch Office of GNW.
Since moving to the United States in 2011, the company has provided web production, restaurant-related order systems, and employee education systems.


Shiro Kuro

A Japanese dining restaurant I opened on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. I purchased an old sushi restaurant to obtain an investor visa and redesigned and produced the restaurant from the ground up. It was my first restaurant production project in the United States.

Shiro Kuro



Fortunately, the location in Hollywood sold for five times the purchase price. So I purchased a more prominent space in Torrance. Again, I redesigned, produced, and operated a restaurant; this time, a Japanese Italian restaurant, and I sold it for double the purchase price.




While living in Los Angeles, I built and operated a Japanese-English bilingual job site and a Los Angeles information site.
Graphnetwork handled the overall system construction.



Cold Rush

I opened a gourmet shaved ice shop Cold Rush in Downtown Los Angeles. A modern take on the Japanese Kakigori.
I sold the store due to childbirth and moving north (as a result of being accepted to UC Berkeley).

Cold Rush

ダウンタウンロサンゼルスにグルメかき氷店Cold Rushを開店。出産と引っ越し(UC Berkeleyに合格した為)の為、店舗を売却。


A gift shop in Boston that sells traditional crafts with sustainable development goals in mind.
We do everything from concept formulation to operation and develop many original products.



See Em Why K

A design firm in Okinawa that does everything from designing to producing. It is also a retail store, art & design workshops, museum & art space producer, and art-related commerce.

See Em Why K


Mieko Murao or Mieko Matsumaru?

In 2013, I married in the United States, changed my last name to Murao, and completed the marriage procedures at the Japanese consulate. At this time, my husband, who had both American and Japanese nationality, had to choose between one or the other, or I would be treated as bigamy. So my husband gave up his Japanese citizenship, leaving only American citizenship.
It seems that there was a way to submit the marriage registration only in the United States, but that would mean my son would not be able to have Japanese citizenship. So after giving it serious thought, my husband gave up his Japanese citizenship and allowed my son an opportunity to acquire both American and Japanese citizenship.
And in 2022, my family moved to Japan. My husband, who has American nationality, does not have a family register in Japan, which means everything would move smoother for my family when it comes to government-related registration processes if I did things under my Japanese name. So that is why I have to use my maiden name Matsumaru.Hence, my son's name is Aiden Murao in America, but Aiden Matsumaru in Japan.
I am the youngest of three sisters, so my father might be happy that the family name Matsumaru is used.


そのため、息子の名前もアメリカではAiden Muraoで日本では松丸英伝です。

Why Okinawa?

After moving to Okinawa, the most asked question is, "Why Okinawa?" But I always wonder, is that just rhetorical? Because there are countless attractive aspects to Okinawa! First of all, the people. The vibe here is incredible. Maybe it's because the Okinawans have peace of mind that immigrants or transplants don't have. I feel a sense of peace from the people here rooted in the culture, not something quickly gained in a short amount of time. There's a sense of surplus of kindness. According to the statics (excuse me for not knowing the exact source), the Okinawans are the happiest people in Japan. It may be jarring to some because Okinawa has many problems, such as having the highest unemployment rate, the lowest rate of advancement to higher education, and the lowest average income.
While there are challenges, like anywhere else, I think it's incredible that Okinawa has the longest life expectancy in Japan (possibly the world). And the happiest people in Japan. After all, some things are unobtainable through work or money.
As I reflect on the days I lived in Roppongi Midtown, I sipped champagne every day, and there was a time I led a flashy lifestyle. I graduated from a graduate school that is said to be the best in the world. But to be honest, I feel the most comfortable I ever felt living in Okinawa now. I'm happy that I was able to come to Okinawa when my sense of values has ​​changed at this age, and I live a different life stage.