Japan : The Inside Story | The Unsung Experts of Japan | Japan in Focus | Japan Sketches | Discover Asia | New Job! New Freedom! | Young People at Work | Hello Nippon - We Are Cosmopolitans | Special Lessons | We're the Professionals! | 2000 and Beyond : Visualizing a New Century - The Earth and Our Environment : The Boundaries of Plenty - |
Tech Innovators in Japan～①Glass Artisans Reaching for New Heights ②Globalizing Traditional Japanese Interiors～
世界一の九州が始まる！ ①ガラスの業師～頂点目指す町工場～ ②和室を世界へ [RKK]
｜Length : 25 ｜Year : 2019 ｜
①Glass Artisans Reaching for New Heights
In June 2018, Germany hosted an international chemical industry trade show. There, the most attention-grabbing device was one with a 200-liter flask—the largest in the world. The company behind this large-capacity flask is Asahi Glassplant Inc. Founded as a small factory approximately 70 years ago, it’s since grown to produce various unique products. Working with heated glass, the successes or failures of their artisans are decided in one nerve-racking instant. The company continuously surmounts seemingly-impossible projects thanks to the founder’s motto: never turn down customer requests. Asahi Glassplant now uses manual manufacturing processes unique to them thanks to their highly-skilled glass artisans.
②Globalizing Traditional Japanese Interiors
A new project to export traditional Japanese interiors is underway. Targeting Asia, this project led by Teppei Yamaguchi (35) aims to increase business and expand the market for Kumamoto-grown wood and Japanese architecture. Joining them is Mitsunori Nagahama (65), a master of traditional carpentry, but opportunities to demonstrate his expertise in modern home construction grow scarce. In order to preserve traditional Japanese techniques, they concluded it was necessary to showcase its beauty overseas. While researching and exhibiting in Asia, a request to build a model room came from Thailand. But what do people in Asia look for in traditional Japanese interiors? These craftsmen take on a new challenge to show the world the appeal of Japanese interiors through timber and traditional techniques.
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.