Content manufacturing hub to be constructed in Takeshiba, Tokyo

 The Takeshiba CiP project, which was conceived to create a digital/contents cluster in Takeshiba at the Tokyo Bay area, has begun

 CiP. C stands for Contents, i stands for innovation, and P stands for Program. This is an idea to revolutionize society through contents. To put it in other words, C also stands for Creative, i also stands for innovative, and P also stands for Pop. It is a plan to redevelop an area 1.5ha in size in the city of Tokyo, and should be open in 2019, right before the Tokyo Olympics.
 Contents. While anime and music already exist to support the Cool Japan image, the project is not just about that. It also involves social media, digital education, big data, and a host of other concepts. The project will expand wearable technology, IoT, and the digital world, and will create a place for the production of such services, networks, and devices for the year 2020

 Tokyo is an agglutination of many small cities. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Shiodome, and Akasaka/Roppongi all have various hubs of business, namely music, fashion, anime, television, and advertising respectively. In the midst of this, what is the role of Takeshiba? Takeshiba will be the entrance of Japan from the skies, a place to welcome overseas visitors from Haneda. It is also in a position where the sea stretches directly in front of it.
 Tokyo is a capital with a sea. America, UK, France, Germany, China, Korea, India – None of these countries’ capitals have seas. Let us capitalize on the sea in Tokyo, and in Takeshiba.

 This base will be opened in 2019 to welcome visitors for the Olympics and Paralympics, and to release information to worldwide.
 I am the overall producer of this base. I will advance the following aspects: “Research and development”, “nurturing of talent”, and “development of businesses”.
 We will provide an incubation area to nurture talent from the research and development arm of the digital and content-based world, which is advancing on an international scale, and obtain the services, business, and enterprises that it gives birth to. We will match business together and support their international expansion. We will further research on issues that arise from then on. And we will continue to produce capabilities in conjunction with industries, the government, and academia.


Japan's Internet coolness

 The NHK program "Cool Japan" has celebrated its 10th year since it started airing.
 The theme of the program that day was "Internet communication". 
◯CJ represents the discussion points made by Cool Japan, whereas ● represents the comments that I made on the program.

◯CJ: What are the special characteristics of Internet communication in Japan?

●People from all over the world are using the Internet via their smartphones now, but Japan achieved that much earlier, with connections between mobile phones and the Internet being made in Japan 15 years ago. From that point onwards, it has always been on the vanguard of the world in developing ways to use the Internet.

◯CJ: In Japan, 90% of students currently use Twitter, and 75% of the general public currently use Facebook. Although we can see that the Japanese regularly use them, foreigners find the following points strange about Japan.
Japanese people frequently post photos of food. All 3 of their meals.
They post either anonymously or under nicknames.
They are highly prolific on the Internet, although they do not speak much when they are face to face.

●According to government data, 5% of Japanese people write things online using their real name. 95% of them write either anonymously or with an on-screen name.
I believe that there are 2 factors contributing to why we love anonymity. Firstly, we are poor at asserting ourselves. After all, showing off one's knowledge and intelligence to humiliate another party by cold reasoning is contrary to what is perceived as good virtues.
Another factor is the separation of one's "public self" and "private self" in Japan. We have always been living in a world where only our "public selves" were expressed. Although we can express our "private selves" on the Internet, even then we are unable to do so without first concealing our identity.
However, the more important thing is that the Internet has finally allowed us to gain a method for us to express our "private selves", albeit on the condition of anonymity. As such, we now communicate information of the highest quality in the world. I believe that it is exactly because we formerly lived in a world of our "public selves" that there was a high incentive to communicate over the Internet in Japan.

◯CJ: Please have a look at LINE. Parents, children, and friends are communicating through stamps. Could this have been spurred by manga and anime culture, or the so-called "kanji culture"?

●Even in the age of mobile phones before the rise of smartphones, people in Japan have loved to send pictures via the mail client Deco-mail, and have always been creating smileys and emoticons not seen elsewhere in the world.
Japan is a country where the expression of data through means other than words is common. We have symbols like that on family quests, and we use onomatopoeic words as well as mimetic words in our speech, so we are experts at non-rational communication. Hence, we tend to want to use stamps and smileys as means to complement our words.


"Strategic Shift"

  I have read "Strategic Shift" by Yoko Ishikura, a former professor at the Graduate School of Media Design of Keio University. The book explains how corporate strategies in the future will move from OR choices to the AND paradigm by means of open systems.
 The pursuit of profits or corporate responsibility, global or local, mega-hits or the long tail, masses or individuals. According to Ishikura, these contradicting ideas that once had an OR relationship will become able to coexist with each other in the AND paradigm, and ICT will play a part in increasing those possibilities. The important thing here is the importance placed on the power of ICT, and I believe that this is what Japanese business owners lack.
 Ishikura says that in the 80s, Japan took the lead in the world by marrying the mutually opposing concepts of quality and cost in an AND relationship, and even from a historical perspective, there were times when Japan had a dual nature of accepting various cultures as well, in order to make the best use of their capabilities. The strengths of Japan, she explains, are its thriving manufacturing prowess its soft assets, such as hospitality and attention to detail. In addition, she mentions that Japan has an exceptional ability to accept diversity and value an AND coexistence. I agree to all her points.

 Lego Mindstorm, which was involved with MIT in its development, makes an appearance as an example of open systems. Although I was working in the team at that point in time, I was not conscious or cognizant of that fact at the time.
 Ishikura explains that it is critical for corporations to achieve a balance between how open or closed their systems are in their strategies concerning intellectual property, and the key to that is "logic". She raises examples of corporations that did not make good use of logic, such as NTT DoCoMo, which ignored the international market while developing i-mode, and Sony, which was obsessed with protecting its own software despite seeing the possibility of digital distribution.

 The book also compares the contrast between the relatively open Silicon Valley, and the self-sufficient, closed Route 128 on the outskirts of Boston. It also makes the analysis that engineers are investing in the former area as venture capitalists, whereas investment banks make up the main bulk of investments in the latter area. As I have been involved in both Boston (MIT) and Stanford (Silicon Valley), I personally experienced the atmosphere in both vicinities.

 This book also pays attention to Kyoto as a cluster. With the presence of both technology and culture, the small size of its market, its rebellious spirit, and links with universities… Yes, even the fact that the Stanford Japan Center is based in Kyoto is because it has recognized the potential of Kyoto as a cluster. Once again, I plan on keeping my eye on Kyoto too.


Smart broadcasting in the present

 The Internet and Digital Research Institute of the Commercial Broadcasters' Association has just held an event. As the chairman of this institute, I investigated combined plans for transmission and broadcasting together with 8 commercial broadcasting companies that were part of the membership.
 3 years ago, discussions within the Research Institute were mainly about how Japan should deal with the overseas import of smart televisions from Google and Apple. The talks were about IT incorporating TV.
 2 years ago, the focus of the discussions was linking TV and smartphones together to create a second screen. The matter at hand was the method that could be used to build up Japanese IT+TV services.
 The previous year, discussions shifted to Japan's offensive. Discussions were made about how TV broadcasters could use IT to its best, and how they could provide IT services on their part.
 This time, after looking at the various initiatives implemented by the television broadcasters, I found that the respective broadcasters had diverse initiatives that did not run parallel with each other, and that they were operating based on their own strategies.
 I believe that Japan is a country suitable for smart television, with its extremely favorable environment for broadcasting and communication networks, movement towards lighter regulations, broadcasting companies with superior industrial structures, and high social media literacy among its users.

 However, 30% of local broadcasters do not currently link television to the Internet or mobile services. They claim that the reason for this is due to limitations in areas such as the cost and knowledge required. Of the local broadcasters that have Internet and mobile support, 16% have managed to recoup the costs associated with making that support available. There is still a long way to go.
 "What are your issues?" I asked the television broadcasters, and received answers ranging from production costs and budgets to a lack of human resources. The answers did not change from before. However, it appears that the attitude towards this has changed from "It's flourishing, so let's not do it." to "It's flourishing, so let's just do it now."
 Until now, the crux of the discussions has been about how to produce revenue from Internet transmissions - should they be paid with advertisements, or should they be offered as chargeable services to viewers? This time, we paid attention to 2 points that proved to be a return to the core business. The first was to expand the businesses and content areas of the broadcasting companies, specifically in terms of live broadcasting, merchandise sales, and B2B. The second was to incorporate the power of the Internet into improving television programs.
 In summary, we were able to see a new vision of smart television in Japan that did not involve just transmitting content over the Internet, but involved making television real and performing a literal version upgrade on television itself.