World’s largest digital children’s book award

Digital Ehon Award (digital childrens book award) defines any digital expressions for children on terminals other than TV and computer as Digital Ehon,including smartphone, tablet, signage, and electronic blackboard, and selects the superior works from the submissions for awards.
  It is cosponsored by the NPO CANVASthat I am involved with and Digital Ehon corporation.
 The grand prize in production section went to Nott Wont Sleep by Developlay of Netherlands, and the second prize went to Kiri Ehon (Cutout childrens book) by Ms. Sansankan, a student from Womens College of Fine Arts.

 We received 300 submissions from 19 countries for this year. It is the largest digital childrens book award in the world that surpasses the digital section of Bologna Children's Book Fair.
 The International Digital Childrens Book Fair,which was held at the same time received 200 submissions from 40 countries; this is also the largest digital childrens book exhibit in the world.

 We received comments from the judges.

Mr. Yuichi Kimura, childrens book writer
 I have written 600 childrens books, but I feel that digital childrens books go beyond the limits of existing childrens books. Childrens books until now had a protagonist, and the story went along with the protagonists thoughts. Digital childrens books are completed by the participation of each reader. I hope the fun of everyones participation spreads.

Mr. Koji Ishikawa, childrens book writer
 The point of digital childrens picture book is Feel good. I visited this years Bologna Children's Book Fair, looked around, and heard from people that they wanted to publish works from Japan. Digital technology is helping to bring the feelings of the world closer. Japanese childrens books are no longer ethnic. I want to present digital childrens books to the world.

Mr. Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, Chairman of KADOKAWA
 There has been a drastic change. Technology and contents are improving. Based on a digital invention such as tablet, creativity became rich. In addition, it is also important that creators of the works become happy economically. I want to create a distribution system to achieve that.

Ms. Rika Kayama, Psychiatrist
 As a psychiatrist, I thought creations were something that enticed the good things, which exist in the mind, brain, and the body. However, as I interacted with digital childrens books, I felt that I could perceive like this, or find the sprout of the story and spin it. It makes me feel the thoughts and emotions inside of me expanding. Creation expands the mind and the body. That is happiness, and I get worried how much it will expand. I want to serve as the judge for the rest of my life.

 Thank you for your participation. We look forward to seeing you next time.


Intermittent excitement

 It was 16 years ago. Sydney Olympics. Even though the signal gun went off for womens marathon, there was no TV broadcast in the United States where I was living at the time. There was no Internet broadcasting, either. My last resort was the Japanese newspaper website. They had text live broadcast. The on-the-spot broadcasting was updated every five minutes.

 I was reading the computer text at my house in Boston. Japanese women were leading the world. Ms. Naoko Takahashi may win. I was overwhelmed. I was going to cry. Then I made an international call to my relative, and asked them to place the receiver in front of the TV.

 The live TV broadcasting in Japan came through by sound. The sound was broken, maybe because of the phone line. I learned at that time people get overly excited when they hear important things intermittently. GO TAKAHASHI! I screamed from Boston to Sydney.

 Four years later, Athens Olympics. Ms. Mizuki Noguchi ran. I was watching TV in Tokyo. According to the reporting later, Ms. Naoko Takahashi was training in Colorado in the United States. Since there was no TV broadcast, she listened to the developments on the phone and cheered on. She did the same exact thing that I did. She said she got really excited.

 In 1936, Berlin Olympics was called the Nazi festival. That was 80 years ago. Womens 200m breaststroke final. My grandfathers generation devoured the shouting GO, GO MAEHATA, GO as the NHK broadcaster Mr. Kawanishi delivered it from Berlin to Japan. I heard that the crystal set radio was intermittent. They must have been excited.

 Crystal set radio progressed to transistor radio, then to TV. International phone calls got connected. The Internet appeared, and we were able to read text on the computer. We can get the sound and video from around the world on our smartphones today. Technology and machine keep progressing.

 However, when it is just the sound with no video and it is intermittent, we get very excited. We shout. The relationship between humans and information, and the connection between the eyes, ears, and emotions do not change in the mere 80 years.

 On the contrary, when you can get any events of the world on your smartphone in the bathroom or on the train as you please, you may not get that excited anymore.

 What will happen for the next Tokyo Olympics? Will people gather in front of a large screen in the city, shout, and check the athletes data on their smartphones? Will they send their cheers as they shout? Will the runners read the messages from everyone on eyeglass display as they run?

 Will there be a new way to enjoy, and will a new excitement be born in 2020?


Three questions regarding copyright

 At the symposium hosted by Copyright Research and Information Center (CRIC). Here are the three points that I discussed.

Countermeasures for pirated versions?
 What to do about the overseas deployment of contents is an important issue at the Intellectual Property Headquarters and in the strategy of Cool Japan.
 Countermeasures for pirated versions as a defensive is also a government theme, and the countermeasures of CODA are also becoming tough. However, the question of Are they on the offensive? is more important. The export from contents industry is on the decline. From 2006 to 2011, there was a 10% reduction in movies, 20% in games, and 30% in broadcasting.
 Enforcement is important in the countermeasures for pirated versions. Hollywood develops and sells official versions with Chinese companies, so the Chinese government tries to abide by that. It is the defensive attitude by attacking. In this point, how much are the Japanese companies on the offensive?

What do you think about the change of copyright offense not requiring complaint for prosecution?
 Hatsune Miku won the first place in an international poll for the artist that people want as the singer at the London Olympics opening ceremony. This is because everyone on Niconico nurtured her. This is the strength of Japan. Japans strategy is to grow UGC (User Generated Contents) and derivative work.
 In 2013, the Japanese government made an important decision. It placed UGC as one of the top items of Intellectual Property Vision. They shifted the focus from developing the contents industry to user creation. One more thing, at the beginning of Pop Culture Group Discussion proposal, they set With everyone as the core of Cool Japan policy. It means they recognize the importance of the power of fans and users as well as creators and businesses.
 When copyright offense does not require a complaint for prosecution, it is in conflict with the above. It is an important arguing point in TPP. (After the TPP agreement, Japan decided to introduce copyright offense that does not require a complaint. The issue becomes what to do with the domestic system.)

What to do with archives?
 The discussion progressed in the government as well. We need an infrastructure that demonstrates soft power toward Tokyo Olympics. We need a knowledge infrastructure for digital education. The target year is 2020 in each case.
 We want to archive various genres of data. However, the challenge is that the genres are in gradations. Cultural assets, publishing, and broadcasting have the challenge of promoting the use of archive, and a connected search system is necessary for those. The archive needs to be created for movies, manga, anime, and games first.
 On the system side, orphan work is the important theme. The other is creating the business model. How can we supply people and money for a sustainable operation? However, the bigger issue is whether we tackle this seriously as a nation, and if we can endure it for 10-20 years. The decision is being called into question.


I listed the amazing points about Tokyo

  Japan is over-concentrated in Tokyo, and it has been a long-term issue to correct this and decentralize. However, I think Tokyo needs to be competitive with cities around the world. I think Tokyo is amazing. Here are the random things that I think Tokyo can beat cities around the world.

Within the 100m perimeter of my office, there are Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, American, English, French, Italian, German, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Nigerian, and Togolese restaurants.
Within the 100m perimeter of my office, there are places that serve Sapporo lamb, Sendai beef tongue, Niigata soba, Toyama fish, Kyoto omelette, Osaka kushi-katsu (pork skewer), Takamatsu udon, Kochi bonito, Miyazaki chicken, and Okinawa pork.
Compared to 64 in Paris, there are 266 Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo (there are 243 in Kyoto and Osaka).
You can get spaghetti aglio olio e pepperoncino and a glass of wine for less than ¥400 at the Italian restaurant chain Saizeriya.
There are realistic 3D food models and pictures in front of restaurants, providing perfect visuals.
You can make photocopies, pay your bills, mail parcels, drop off laundry, and use the restroom at a convenience store.
Bidets are installed in public toilets.
On the streets, there is little trash, it does not smell, and only a few people spit.
8 years before smartphones, 16 years ago from today, you could use the Internet on your mobile phone.
LTE is the norm.
Vending machines on the streets are not broken, and you can buy anything from beer, sake, cup noodles, oden, banana, and underwear.
When the train is late in a rare occasion, the station and the train will apologize to passengers.
Even if you leave your phone in a cab, the driver will bring it to you for free later.
When you ask a question on a product at a home electronics store, the staff will give you the specs of Company A and Company B on the spot.
When you ask for directions to a stranger, they will draw you a map.
Almost anyone can play the recorder (vertical flute).
Housewives can cook various dishes from different cuisines other than their native country, and they often have their own recipes.
There is not too much honking noise, but vending machines and elevators will talk to you.
When you are driving on a one-way street and a car is coming from the wrong direction, they will not get mad at you.
Nobody will shine your shoes without permission and demand five dollars when you are walking down the street.
High school girls are always wearing school uniforms that are cosplay items, and nobody will yell at you for wearing a Nazi uniform.
Middle-aged men can purchase boysmanga magazines without shame.
Many people snooze on the train in peace with their mouths open.
People will not rob and clean you out, even if you are passed out drunk on the street.
Cops will not point a gun at you.

There are many other things. It is a strange place.


Human resource development in manga and international collaboration

  The control committee of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Anime/Manga Industry/Academic/Government Collaboration Consortium was held recently. The policy handles curriculum development, digital production support, and career advancement support for human resource development in anime and manga. I serve as the chairperson of the committee.

 We are especially rushing the digital compatibility.
 Digital books and magazines sales were ¥10.13 billion in 2013. Among those, comics were ¥7.31 billion. 70% of digital books are manga. This is the transition period for professional artists to move to digital. Countermeasures and support are necessary. We want to make a structure with a place for educating digital animation, production, and editing that connects to business. Takeshiba CiP would also like to help.

 “Digital Manga Campus Match is also in progress. It is a plan to produce everything between new talent scouting, nurturing, and commercialization with the participation of manga artists including Ms. Machiko Satonaka, comic editorial departments from 10 companies including Kodansha, Shueisha, and Shogakukan, and 70 vocational schools and universities. I serve as the executive committee chairperson.

 Japan is an advanced region of manga, but raising the standard globally by international collaboration is also important. We hosted the symposium of Tokyo International Comic Festival on the day of the committee. In addition to the participants from France, Italy, Spain, and Russia, Mr. Tetsuya Chiba and Ms. Machiko Satonaka attended. They discussed the globalization and digitization of manga.

 40% of all manga in France is Japanese manga. 20% of imported manga in Spain is from Japan. There is a report on the increase in number of people who learn Japanese in Italy, due to the impact of manga. Russia is a little late to the game, since overseas culture started flowing in after the system changed from Soviet Union to Russia.
 However, paper culture is strong in all cases, and there are only few e-books and digital manga, which are yet to be spread. Japan is leading in this area.

 Mr. Tetsuya Chiba pointed out that we are at the major turning point for digitization. Ms. Machiko Satonaka also recognized that the transition to digital is essential because of the issues with paper resources and distribution, and she pointed out the pros of digitization, such as the availability of rich tools that make it easier to become a professional manga artist. However, both expressed their concerns about copyright and piracy issues.

 Issues are common around this area, but there was little international exchange. It left a strong impression on me when Mr. Tetsuya Chiba focused on the global nature of manga, citing the quote of Mr. Takashi Yanase Countries in which people read manga are peaceful, and promoted the international discussion in manga area.

Why did Japanese mobile phone manufactures lose?

 I had a discussion with major players of communication companies and government OBs on Why Japanese mobile phone manufactures lost.
 For the second-generation mobile phone = 2G, Europe spread GSM to their former colonies, and Japan lost in the global competition. This is a well-known fact. This affected the atmosphere between countries. Which technology standard to choose was largely dependent on their policies and strategies as well.
 However, why did Japanese manufacturers lose against Samsung and Apple, even though Japan lead the transition in the market and infrastructure in the third-generation = 3G, which was freed from such restrictions?

 Japan moved to 3G in 2001. There was a 2-3 years advantage compared to overseas. At the time, European communication carriers did not have the funds to move to 3G due to the introduction of radio wave auction.
 On the other hand, Japanese carriers such as DoCoMo and au had money, since Japan did not introduce the auction and they built the 3G market first. One of the reasons why Japan did not introduce the auction was their dependency on the power of carriers. However, why didnt the manufacturers utilize that superiority in overseas market?
 OBs and major players of manufacturers list various reasons. The closed nature of European communication carriers, high cost condition coming from the high specs of Japan, and the lack of experience and know-how. However, at that time, those circumstances were not so different than Samsung in South Korea. Rather, Japanese mobile phone companies dominated over Samsung. However, they did not move. Samsung did.

 Then iPhone was released and the market was turned upside down again. At that time, Japanese communication carriers and mobile phone manufacturers disregarded smartphones. The failures of not selling 3G to the world and not making smartphones lead to the current situation.
 Even if they knew, they could have bitten into it if they relied on communication carriers, since the Japanese market is big. There is criticism over the propriety of the policy. However, I do not think the situation and chances were that much different for Samsung and Apple.

 Then why did this happen? I do not know.
 Is it the problem with the management in the end?
 If so, the issue becomes how we develop executives. There are few professional executives in Japan. People climb up the career ladder to get to the top, so they lack the natural features of advising the management. However, there are family managed companies like Toyota that rank in the top around the world. And there are companies such as Sony, Honda, and Uniqlo, which the founders grew into global companies.
 Of course, I do not have the answer to that question. So, I ponder what Learning should work on.


Cork’s strategy on reforming manga

 Mr. Yohei Sadoshima founded Cork after leaving the editorial department of the manga magazine Morning. I think the editorial system of publishers is responsible for the development of Japans manga to this magnitude. Can the agent be modeled that made the system independent? Cork shows an innovative challenge.

 Cork produces and distributes paper manga, digital manga, and animations simultaneously. It breaks the existing model that is based on paper. Manga is animated from the volume one of the book. It shatters the business order of Magazine à Book à Video. And it distributes the contents in Japan and overseas at the same time. It breaks the existing model that is based on domestic distribution.

 Mr. Sadoshima says he will create a structure that decides the value of contents by its details in order to charge a fee, instead of the material of the packaging or the type of media. This is an important point.

 For example, a music CD was priced the same regardless of the artist. The prices of one CD for Yo-Yo Ma and Shonen Knife are about the same. The price was decided by the packaging and distribution cost. The Internet caused a price destruction, and the business model is migrating to live and sale of goods.

 Will the model shift in manga as well? Artworks such as paintings differ in price, depending on the quality of contents. It would be interesting if such a model can be done.

 Corks system that connects manga artists and publishers to create and edit original works is similar to the model that is being promoted in South Korea by Mr. Youn In-wan, who is a graduate student at our lab. He is distributing paper manga in Japan and digital manga in South Korea simultaneously. It is energizing when a challenger like him pushes a structural reform.

 According to Mr. Sadoshima, manga industry is not large enough. It is smaller in scale than the communication industry by two digits. The Japanese government calls the overseas deployment and industrialization by collaborating with other industries as Cool Japan. We need to create case examples first. Lets create a successful example.