Documentary : Science and Technology
Tech Innovators in Japan～①Evolving Traditional Japanese Crafts ②Tackling Poverty Through Mom’s Herb Tea～
世界一の九州が始まる！ ①暮らしを“結ぶ”！進化する博多水引 ②貧困を救う！ママのハーブティ [RKB]
｜Length : 25 ｜Year : 2019 ｜
①Evolving Traditional Japanese Crafts
Mizuhiki are bands of cord used for example to wrap around gifts and envelopes, essential as decorative ties used on celebratory occasions in Japan. Also used on paper fortunes and protective charms sold at shrines, since ancient times mizuhiki have been considered as sacred ties that relay feelings and connect people. These mizuhiki are now acquiring forms that take them beyond their original use and are blending into everyday life. Continuing a challenge to bring these items into every part of our lives, including food, clothing and housing, are a father and daughter who run a long-established mizuhiki shop in Hakata. Father Hiroaki Nagasawa maintains the mizuhiki tradition, while daughter Hiromi works on the design and production of items with new styles for use on apparel or for daily living which respect that tradition. Hiromi says, “By incorporating design into traditional crafts, tradition becomes a much more familiar presence.”
②Tackling Poverty Through Mom’s Herb Tea
There is an organic herb tea in Japan which realizes annual sales of US$8 million. This herb tea is treasured by mothers who are raising their infants on breast milk. It first went on sale 10 years ago, and is now a popular product at 15% of maternity hospitals in Japan, which sell it or give it as a present to mothers when they leave the hospital. However, the story does not end there. Behind these herb tea sales is a substantial project which is resolving the problems of poverty where the herbs are produced in the village of Linlae, Myanmar. For many years the village has been growing tobacco, but this brought the hardships of poverty which resulted from factors such as the harmful effects of agrichemicals and unstable yield. With this, a proposal was made to villagers that they switch from tobacco to herb cultivation. Through guaranteed purchase of herb production, there has been a great improvement in their lives.
Delving into the Mysteries of the Universe～ The Forefront of Japanese Craftsmanship and Technology～
｜Length : 48 ｜Year : 2019 ｜
Sixty-six parabolic antennas at an altitude of 5,000 meter in Atacama Desert in Chile—ALMA is an international project among 22 countries and regions. It is a radio telescope with an outstanding sight that it has achieved observation 13.28 billion light-year away. In fact, some parts were made in Okayama.
The cutting-edge technology of Okayama's small factories is utilized in ALMA: processing aluminum into slightly curved panels to make a perfect parabolic dish shape, and grinding the surface into one-hundredth of a millimeter or less precise. Their efforts and passions contribute to the advanced research of the universe. Dr. Masaaki Hiramatsu, an astronomer born in Okayama, is a member of ALMA project, promoting the accomplishments through it to the world.
In this program, we visited ALMA and covered a story of the technology and the craftsmanship of Okayama that makes it possible to explore the universe even further.
”YURU“Revolution～Creating Sports for Every One～
｜Length : 44 ｜Year : 2019 ｜
Imagine playing table tennis with a hole in your racquet, or basketball where the ball cries like a baby unless you treat it gently.
Yuru Sports are a new genre of sports with unique rules that can be played by anyone, regardless of age, sporting ability, or even disability.
This documentary follows the man behind the Yuru Sports revolution, and how these imaginative sports are actually ‘game changers’ that tackle numerous societal issues.
Tech Innovators in Japan～①Making Papers from Waste Materials ②Packing Revolution Using Unique Scales～
世界一の九州が始まる！ ① 棄てられるものの輝き ②小分け革命！～はかり知れない計量器～ [RKK]
｜Length : 24 ｜Year : 2018 ｜
① The "Haguregumo Workshop” in Minamata City, Kumamoto Prefecture, is a paper-making workshop started by Junpei Kanazashi thirty years ago. They use traditional materials like mulberry bark as well as banana leaves, onion skin, even worn-out jeans to make paper. Junpei’s wife Hiroko raises her own cotton and flowers to make colored cloth. According to Junpei, Japan is unique in how its art was developed through things to use in one’s life, as opposed to things to view and appreciate like in Europe. Japan was once a society of recycling, living in harmony with nature. Junpei seeks to keep that wisdom alive through his work, and to show it to the world.
② A new measuring scale is revolutionizing Japan’s vegetable sorting industry. The “Table Combi” developed by OK Planning (based in Kumamoto City) is a measuring device that notifies workers of an appropriate produce combination the moment its scales have found one. Company president Mitsuru Hatae departed his desk job in his forties and started a company with the goal of making produce packaging as easy on the workers as he could. To make measuring scales makers of produce really need, he spends his days bouncing back and forth between his office and farmer worksites. It’s been three years since they started development, and now this venture business of five employees is aiming for national and international business with their unique strategies.
SPIRIT OF JAPAN Giving Hope to Breast Cancer Patients ～The Challenge of Japanese Craftsmen～
日本のチカラ 人工乳房で微笑みを ～常滑焼「型」職人の挑戦～ [NBN]
｜Length : 26 ｜Year : 2018 ｜
Tokoname City is located in the center of the Chita Peninsula West Coast in Aichi Prefecture. It is also home to the Chubu Centrair International Airport – the entrance to Japan’s central region. Tokoname is known for its traditional ceramics industry and rows of shops selling pottery and earthenware.
The Maeda Mold introduced in this episode is made by a small business that has been creating plaster molds for ceramic ware for over half a century.
Cheap foreign-made ceramics and other earthenware have driven many of Tokoname’s potters out of business; however, Maeda Mold has been seeking new avenues of revenue to keep the business alive.
One of these new ventures is artificial breasts made of silicon.
Driving this successful business are the skills of the artisans who create the pottery molds used by Maeda Mold. The company has taken the bold step of applying these techniques to create artificial breasts.
These artisans had a strong desire to utilize the traditional techniques of their craft to make breast cancer patients smile by creating artificial breasts. They hoped these women can enjoy soaking in a hot spring with their friends or taking a bath with their young children, which are common in Japan, and doing other everyday things that women with natural breasts can easily do. After a series of trial and error, the artisans have successfully created a completely natural looking breast.
Maeda Mold’s artificial breast business has developed into a key revenue source that currently accounts for about a quarter of all of its sales. This story illustrates the dedicated efforts of these Tokoname ware artisans, who have found a way to use the techniques that have supported the traditional ceramics industry to bring joy to breast cancer patients.