• You are the Protagonist

    You are the Protagonist


    HONDA Hirohito / 本田博仁

    HONDA Hirohito, who made his acting debut in his teens and later transitioned to becoming a stylist. He passionately pursues a unique expression through fashion based on his extraordinary devotion to clothing and a styling philosophy derived from his experience as an actor.




    “The first drama I was in charge of costumes for was ‘BORDER: Metropolitan Police Department, Investigation Department, Homicide Investigation Section 4’ (TV Asahi, 2014). The protagonist is a dedicated detective whose life revolves around his work. He gets shot in an incident, leaving a bullet lodged in his head. This bullet gives him the ability to communicate with the dead and he proceeds to solve a series of murder cases—it’s the story.”


    「初めて衣装を担当したドラマは『BORDER 警視庁捜査一課殺人犯捜査第4係』(テレビ朝日、2014年)という作品でした。主人公は仕事一筋の刑事です。彼はある事件で銃撃を受け、頭部に銃弾が残ったままになってしまいます。その銃弾が彼に死者と対話する能力を与え、次々起こる殺人事件を解決していく——というストーリーです」。

    “I didn’t know anything about this world, but I developed an image of the main character from various words and created a suit from scratch.The suit was one size up and light gray before I took the bullet, but when I returned to work, I tightened the overall silhouette and lapel (collar) width. The ability to see and interact with the dead. And I wanted to express the tension in his life as he fulfills his mission.”




    “As the story progresses, the bullet that remains in his brain starts to affect him, and he gradually becomes more unstable. To reflect that, we gradually changed the color of the suit from gray to black. We also made the tie narrower while reducing its brightness. In the final episode, where the tension of the story reaches its peak, I wanted to dress him in a suit that symbolizes his madness, like a mourning attire.”


    Honda’s meticulous work, where he doesn’t cut corners even in the smallest details, was highly praised on the set. He is currently active in a wide range of media, including magazines, television, and advertising. In addition, he also offers a personal styling service called “MITAMENTAL” (a combination of “mitame,” which means appearance, and “mental”).



    “I believe that clothing is the outermost expression of a person’s inner self. Even in the casual clothes we choose without much thought, there is inevitably a reflection of our subconscious. For instance, I recently styled a man who had a sleek, all-black ensemble with a sense of luxury, and even his shoes had studs, creating a polished and impeccable appearance.”



    “But he is a simple, pure man. He seemed to be struggling with his relationship with his wife. As we talked, I had an idea, and I took him to UNIQLO. I chose a beige nylon set-up. Inside, I had him wear a pale blue cut and sew.”


    “He works as a financial planner and also manages an old traditional house. Because of his pure and gentle personality, I incorporated the softness of beige. Additionally, I brought in the color blue, which conveys an intellectual and sincere image, for the inner layer. I also chose a size one up for the clothes to give him some room to breathe.”




    At first, the man was perplexed, but eventually, he expressed the realization that by wearing streamlined garments without unnecessary elements, he may have been trying to exert control over himself.




    “By giving him more room in his clothes, I wanted him to have more room in his heart. And I wanted him to have more room for his wife. Eventually, he reflected on the fact that he had been ignoring his wife’s feelings and spoke of his determination to let go of his conscious control, both over himself and over her.”



    Honda never imposes his own sense of beauty. Whether it’s a fictional character or a real person, he meticulously imagines and understands the lives of those he styles. Taking into account their past and present, he expresses a future through fashion that is suitable for that individual.



    “I went from being an actor to a stylist. At the time, I thought I had become a stylist because I wanted to make a living in a profession related to clothing, but looking back now, I realize that was a setback. But because of that experience, I want to tell people to accept and love themselves as they are.”




    “If you see yourself as the main character, the way you perceive things, the way you relate to others, and even the color of your life will change. In this day and age, there are many people who live their lives being swept away by their surroundings. I believe that the way you are in your own mind is everything.”




    “I face my heart through my clothes. I believe that by getting to know yourself in this way, you can find your own personal comfort. Ultimately, I aim to create a style in which the person can be comfortable and be themselves, even in simple fashions like a white T-shirt and jeans. That is ultimately my proposal and what I want to do.”



    Text: SAWAGUCHI Shota

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  • Uniqlo’s Unique Business Model Sets a New Standard

    [:ja][From August Issue 2015]

    文:伊藤公一[:en][From August Issue 2015]

    For the first time in his career, pro tennis player NISHIKORI Kei made it to the quarterfinals of this year’s French Open. During the tournament he wore the logo of the casual fashion brand “Uniqlo” affixed to his tennis wear. This is because Uniqlo began sponsoring him in 2011.
    The brand name “Uniqlo” is an abbreviation of “Unique Clothing Warehouse.” The parent company is Fast Retailing (FR). Formerly it was “Men’s Shop Ogoori Shoji” – a company founded in 1949 in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. As of the end of February 2015, the FR group had a total of 2,872 shops around the world. FR’s core business Uniqlo accounted for 1,558 of these stores; more than half.
    Uniqlo was an overnight sensation when it started selling fleece jackets in 1998. It established its reputation because of the range of colors on offer and the low price of 1,900 yen. In 2007, Heattech became a huge success. Heattech was developed in answer to a demand to “replace cotton thermal underwear with garments made from another material.”
    Heattech’s unparalleled snug fitting lightweight fabric that “feels as if you’re not wearing anything,” was much discussed. As a result, in the fall-winter season of 2007 (to 2008), production failed to keep up with demand and Heattech products sold out in one shop after the other. Now Airism – suitable wear for summer that absorbs sweat and is quick to dry – is in the spotlight.
    Uniqlo is known as an SPA (specialty store retailer of private label apparel) and offers good quality reasonably priced products to the world. SPA is a business model in which everything is done in-house; from product planning, to production, to distribution, to sales. It’s thanks to the SPA system that Uniqlo was able to create so many unique products.
    One of Uniqlo’s aims is to unite the world through fashion. President YANAI Tadashi explains the company’s philosophy: “We allow people the world over to attain the joy, happiness, and satisfaction that comes from wearing quality clothing.” In fact, Uniqlo is strengthening its ties with other countries through the procurement of materials, manufacturing, and sales. It’s fair to say that Uniqlo is an unusual company not only because it manufactures clothing, but also because of its business model.
    Uniqlo Co., Ltd.
    Text: ITO Koichi[:]

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  • Comfortable Traditional Japanese Suteteko




    文:市村雅代[:en][From July Issue 2015]

    Since the summer of 2011, more and more people have been wearing “suteteko.” They first appeared in the Meiji era (19-20th centuries) and were originally used as underwear worn beneath men’s pants. They were made from “cotton crepe,” a crimped material that effectively absorbs sweat, and were regularly used during the hottest time of the year. However, since people thought of them as being “something old men wear,” white suteteko were perceived as being uncool and gradually fewer and fewer young people wore them.
    TAKEMURA Keisuke of the underwear maker As Corporation is the person who hit upon the idea of reviving suteteko. “One day, a senior member of staff recommended that I try wearing suteteko. Although I had my doubts about wearing another item of clothing under my pants during the hot summer season, when I tried them on, I was surprised. It alleviated the sticky sensation produced by my sweat and felt smooth against my skin,” he says.
    Takemura recommended suteteko to friends of his own generation. “Although everyone was surprised at how comfortable they were, they still felt dowdy in them.” In spite of that, Takemura felt that the functional aspect of them had potential.
    In addition, Takemura was attracted by the fact that they could also double as lounge wear once pants are removed. By adding colors and patterns, he reasoned that they might even be worn as outerwear (as opposed to underwear). He established the “Steteco Research Laboratory” website in 2008 and started to sell suteteko on the web in daring colors and patterns. Suteteko was reinvented as comfortable lounge wear and purchases by women increased, too.
    As suteteko grew more popular other companies also began to sell suteteko in a variety of different designs and materials. However, Takemura thinks that the best way to feel the utility of suteteko is to wear ones made of cotton crepe.

    Yogateko pants, modeled on suteteko, for women practicing yoga have also been created. “Most yoga wear is manufactured abroad. So, in order to make an item of clothing that would fit the Japanese figure and emphasize the beauty of a person’s legs, we decided that the entire production process down to spinning the yarn itself, would be done in Japan,” says TO Ayako, a representative of Yogateko, who also runs a yoga studio.
    Since she studied abroad in the U.S., To felt that Japanese people ought to be better informed about the quality of items on offer in their own country. So, she combined a cloth entirely made-in-Japan with traditional Japanese patterns. Though most yoga pants are black, her gorgeous yoga pants have been attracting attention. In addition, it’s just been announced that the fabric she uses is the same as that worn by the Olympic athletes representing Japan. Suteteko have become an item that combines the positive aspects of Japanese tradition with the country’s latest technology. The fixed idea of suteteko has been altered and the clothing item has proved itself to be adaptable to a variety of different purposes.

    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[:]

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  • Creating Printers with Technology Used to Manufacture Wristwatches


    社名にもなっているエプソン(EPSON)というブランドは、1969年に発売した小型軽量デジタルプリンター「EP(Electric Printer)-101」にちなんで名付けられました。この製品は1964年の東京オリンピックで使われた「プリンティングタイマー」という装置が発展したものです。この大会で、セイコーグループは公式に記録をとる仕事を任されていました。
    例えば1969年には、世界初のクオーツ腕時計「セイコー クオーツアストロン35SQ」を商品化。当時の機械式腕時計は進んだり遅れたりする誤差が一日20秒ほどありました。この製品はその差をわずか0.2秒の精度まで高めたのです。この製品で時計の世界が大きく変わりました。
    文:伊藤公一[:en][From July Issue 2015]

    Known for its home-use printers, Seiko Epson Corp. (Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture) was founded in 1985. In the beginning, the company was called Daiwa Kogyo, Ltd. The latter was founded in 1942 as a factory to manufacture components for Seiko wristwatches. This first factory was a renovated miso storehouse and had nine employees.

    The Epson name came about when the small digital “EP (Electric Printer)-101” went on sale in 1969. This product evolved from a device used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics called a “printing timer.” The Seiko group was the official timekeeper for those games.
    The EP-101 was a breakthrough in that it was only a quarter of the size and weight of other printers on the market. It was used as a printer for calculators and was so successful that at one time had more than 90% of the total market share for calculators. With the success of the EP-101, Seiko Epson began life as a manufacturer of printing devices.

    The Epson brand was established with a wish to “bring the offspring (sons) of this product (the EP) into the world.” This year is the brand’s 40th anniversary. In addition to the printers that got the company started, all kinds of offspring have been reared, and now this includes projectors, sensors, semiconductors, quartz resonators, industrial robots, and other devices.
    The characteristic hallmark of Seiko Epson is its “energy-saving, compact, and precise technology,” which is the company’s technological know-how acquired through the development of wristwatches and printing devices. The company’s culture of “creation and risk-taking” allows it to courageously pioneer new ideas and this has led to the development of numerous technologies and products that were the world’s firsts.
    For example, the world’s first quartz wristwatch, “Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ,” was sold in 1969. Mechanical wristwatches in those days could lose or gain up to 20 seconds per day. This product was more precise and reduced the difference to just 0.2 seconds. This product had a huge impact on the global watch industry.
    In 1994, the first color inkjet printer, the “MJ-700V2C,” was launched on the market. It stood out for its less than 100,000 yen price tag and photographic image quality. Today, the applications for inkjet printers have spread to commercial and industrial areas, among other things, for ad posters, product labels, textile printing, and the manufacture of electronic components.
    Seiko Epson Corp.
    Text: ITO Koichi[:]

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  • Promoting Health through “Measuring Devices”

    [From June Issue 2015]

    In Japan, every household has a bathroom scale (health meter), and most nowadays keep track of your body composition. Besides your weight, these scales can also measure, body fat percentage, muscle mass, metabolic rate, visceral fat, and more. The history of body composition monitors dates back to the days of bathroom scales and body fat meters. After putting bathroom scales on the market, Tanita Corporation (Itabashi City, Tokyo Prefecture) launched the world’s first scale to measure body fat percentage by simply standing on it.The compan
    y was founded in 1944. In those days, rather than producing health monitoring devices, it manufactured metallic products, such as cigarette cases. Before long the company was producing gadgets that were ahead of their time, such as electric kettles, and electric lighters. Then the scales department was founded, and Tanita began selling measuring devices.
    Since Tanita was established, the company has capitalized on its technological expertise to launch technology, products, and services that were unprecedented, either in Japan or worldwide. These products included sleep meters to measure quality of sleep and electronic meters to measure urine sugar levels – which are closely related to blood glucose levels. These were all created out of the company’s desire to “promote people’s health by monitoring it.”
    The Tanita name has become better known since the publication in 2010 of “The Staff Cafeteria of Tanita, Body Fat Scale Maker” (published by Yamato Shobo). The book contains recipes for meals served at the head office’s staff cafeteria. Comprising of a soup with three side dishes, these set meals contain approximately 500 kilo calories and three grams of salt. Positive feedback from readers can be summarized as follows: “After sticking with this diet, I have a healthier body.”
    In 2012, the “Marunouchi Tanita Cafeteria” opened its doors in the Marunouchi business district in Tokyo. The restaurant was created because so many readers had commented that they’d like to eat at the staff cafeteria. A professional spec body composition monitor is installed in the restaurant and a registered dietitian gives health and diet advice based on the measurement results in a consultation room.
    Two kinds of meals are available – daily specials or meals that are served according to the day of the week – and just like the staff cafeteria, it’s self-service. The recommended serving of rice is 100 grams. By the effective use of dashi stock and spices and by not over boiling the vegetables, care is taken to ensure that the low calorie count and low salt content does not adversely impact on the taste of the meal.
    Fureai Hiroba Plaza within the grounds of Tanita’s head office is open to the public. It has a 150-meter walking and running track and a “Health Trail” with stones of difference shapes that stimulate pressure points on the sole. The space is also used for the benefit of the local community.
    Tanita Corporation
    Text: ITO Koichi[2015年6月号掲載記事]



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  • Food Manufacturer Popularized Snack Gashi in Japan

    [From May Issue 2015]

    In Japan, fried carbohydrate snacks of corn, potatoes, or beans, are called “snack gashi.” CALBEE, Inc. products account for a 50% share of this market. The word Calbee is neither Japanese nor English. It conveys the sentiments of the company’s founder who was thinking of the nation’s good health when he coined the word.
    Founded in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1949, the company was formerly known as Matsuo Food Industries. MATSUO Takashi, then president, was concerned about malnutrition among post-war Japanese people and aimed to create products that would improve the health of consumers. The company name was changed in 1955 to Calbee Foods and Confectionery Co., Ltd.; a name that combines calcium, “cal,” and vitamin B1, “bee.”
    In that same year, the company succeeded in making arare (roasted mochi pieces) from wheat rather than rice – the main ingredient up until then – and marketed it as “Kappa Arare.” In 1964, “Kappa Ebisen,” a snack made from mixing ground raw shrimp into wheat dough, was developed. It became a big hit and the jingle “I can’t stop, I won’t stop, Calbee, Kappa Ebisen” made the Calbee name popular throughout the nation.
    The year 1972 saw the launch of the potato based snack, “Sapporo Potato.” The company’s name was shortened to CALBEE, Inc. when its head office moved from Hiroshima to Tokyo in 1973. In 1975, “Potato Chips” was launched, a snack which later became one of the company’s core products. In 1985, the material used in the packaging of all products was switched from vinyl to aluminum film. This prevented any loss of flavor caused by oxidation.
    Calbee takes great care in its control of raw ingredients. For example, shrimps – one of the ingredients in Kappa Ebisen – are carefully selected, flash-frozen while fresh to a temperature lower than -30 °C and transported to the factory. In the factory, the entire shrimp, including shell, is ground up and used. Red particles on the exterior of Kappa Ebisen are proof that the whole of the shrimp is used.
    Approximately 330 thousand tons of potatoes are procured yearly to make potato chips and other products. From breeding potato varieties to cultivation, to storage, to transportation, to sales, an agreement has been made with other manufacturers to work in cooperation with each other to ensure the entire process goes smoothly. Currently more than 1,000 producers in the Hokkaido area alone have entered into this contract. The so-called field men of Calbee Potato, Inc. (an affiliated company in charge of potato procurement, storage, etc.) support the producers with surveys, advice and an exchange of information concerning cultivation.
    Calbee products are consumed in ten other countries. For example, “Harvest Snaps” made from beans are popular in the US, Canada, and the UK. In Singapore, “Hot & Spicy” potato chips are a hit and in Thailand, “Kappa Ebisen Original” – developed locally for the Thai palate – is selling well.
    The total number of products produced by Calbee in Japan in the financial year of 2013 was 1.8 billion. The company organizes “Calbee Snack Schools” to teach children how to have a healthy enjoyable diet. In 2013 62,251 children in 787 schools across the nation attended the course. This project not only increases the number of Calbee fans, but is also the company’s way of contributing to regional development.
    CALBEE, Inc.
    Text: ITO Koichi[2015年5月号掲載記事]


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  • Manufacturer of Ready-made Foods Invented “Ochazuke Nori”

    [From April Issue 2015]

    Tea in its many forms is deeply connected to Japanese history and culture. One of the most popular teas consumed today is sencha; a green tea invented by NAGATANI Soshichiro – founder of what was to become Nagatanien Co., Ltd. – in the Edo era (17-19th centuries). That is to say that originally the Nagatani family ran a tea production business. Sencha was eventually exported to Western countries and, along with raw silk thread, became one of Japan’s major exports.
    In 1952, NAGATANI Yoshio, the tenth Nagatani to run the family business, developed “Ochazuke Nori” with his father Takezo so that people could easily consume delicious ochazuke (a dish of rice and tea) at home. At that time ochazuke nori was powdered shredded seaweed, seasoning, and arare (rice crackers) mixed together by hand. As neither aluminum foil nor polyethylene was available in those days, to prevent humidity from spoiling the seaweed, 100 bags of double the usual thickness were stored in a bottle that had a layer of lime placed inside its base.
    Sales of Ochazuke Nori steadily increased and it eventually became a hit product nationwide. In 1953, a year after the product was launched, Yoshio established Nagatanien Honpo Co., Ltd. He subsequently created a series of long selling products such as “Matsutake no Aji Osuimono,” “Sake Chazuke,” “Asage” and “Sushi Taro,” all of which can still be found in stores today.
    In 1979, a man, who was in charge of the production department, was chosen to be the company’s first “idle employee.” Yoshio told him, “You don’t have to come to work. You can spend as much as you want. You don’t need to report back. Eat whatever you want and come up with something in two years.” Having created a series of hit products, Yoshio knew that “good ideas don’t only surface when you’re sitting at a desk.”
    The man from the production department followed his orders and, searching for ideas for new products, traveled extensively sampling food both in and outside of Japan. Two years later, he ended up launching “Mabo Harusame,” a combination of “Chinese soup” and “harusame” (thin noodles). Mabo Harusame, the world’s first instant Chinese food, was a big hit. Along with this product, the dish itself became popular nationwide.
    In 2003, the A-Label range for people with food allergies was created. During the developmental stage, some employees voiced concerns that it would be hard to maintain quality without eggs, milk and flour, but these difficulties were overcome with the launch of a curry in a sealed plastic pouch and furikake (dried seasoning for rice). In response to an unexpected influx of positive comments from mothers – such as “I’ve been waiting for a product like this” and “Please create more products like this in the future” – more resources are being allocated to product development and the marketing of this range.
    At the time of writing, the “What are you going to put on Japan?” project, to get consumers to suggest new ways of eating Ochazuke Nori, is underway. Ochazuke, made of typical ingredients used in Japanese cuisine such as rice, tea and seaweed, is likened to Japan itself. “Ochazuke cars” are now traveling around Japan showcasing recipes that incorporate local delicacies.
    Nagatanien Co., Ltd.
    Text: ITO Koichi[2015年4月号掲載記事]


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  • New Uses for Japanese Staple Ingredient Katsuobushi


    文:市村雅代[:en][From March Issue 2015]

    Ninben Co., Ltd.
    Used in dishes such as miso soup, “dashi” stock is a basic ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Dashi is not used for its flavor, but is added to enhance other flavors. There are many kinds of dashi stock including dried fermented fish and dried seaweed. The most commonly used ingredient is katsuobushi, which is made from boiled bonito which is dried and fermented. Ninben Co., Ltd. has been selling katsuobushi since 1699.
    In the past, home cooking in Japan used to begin with making dashi. To make a dashi stock, katsuobushi or some other ingredient was placed in hot water and removed once the umami (savory) flavor had been extracted. To save time, in recent years dashi powder and miso that contains dashi has been put on the market.
    Rather than simply selling katsuobushi on its own, Ninben is selling more products containing katsuobushi. “All our products contain katsuobashi as a basic ingredient, but liquid seasoning such as “Tsuyu-no-Moto” accounts for 60% of our sales these days,” says ENDO Haruhiko of the corporate planning department.
    In line with this trend, in 2010 Ninben opened the “Nihonbashi Dashi Bar” inside its Nihonbashi flagship store at COREDO Muromachi 1 (Tokyo). The aim was to allow customers to experience for themselves the umami flavor of dashi extracted from freshly shaved katsuobushi. “Before opening, we thought take-out soups and “katsubushi rice” – a lunch dish topped with fresh katsuobushi shavings – would be our main best-sellers,” Endo says.
    But unexpectedly, the most popular product turned out to be the simple “katsuobushi dashi.” The most sold in one day was 1,800 servings. By January this year the total servings reached 550,000. Given this success, a second store was opened last year at the International Terminal of Haneda Airport. Endo feels that Nihonbashi Dashibar is attracting more attention now Japanese cuisine is on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.
    Endo says “katsuobushi dashi has a relaxing effect on those who drink it.” Although it’s not common to drink dashi on its own, “it’s so gentle on the stomach that we recommend it as a substitute for drinks like coffee.” At the Nihonbashi Dashi Bar, like sugar and milk in a coffee stand, salt and soy sauce are available for seasoning.
    Until recently, many people thought katsuobushi was exclusively for Japanese food. Yet, Endo says “it can also be used in Western and Chinese dishes.” Katsuobushi is now making waves as an ingredient that is high in protein and gentle on the body. As our dietary habits evolve, it’s possible there will be more opportunities to use katsuobushi in the future.
    Ninben Co., Ltd.
    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[:]

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  • Pioneer in Optical Devices Soon to Celebrate its Centenary

    [From March Issue 2015]

    Founded in 1917, Nikon Corporation (Minato City, Tokyo Prefecture) is a world-class manufacturer of optical devices. It was founded to manufacture optical products which could not be imported due to the ramifications of World War I and an investment by IWASAKI Koyata, President of Mitsubishi Limited Partnership made it possible to merge three companies that respectively made gauges, glass, and lenses. When it was established, the company name was Nippon Kogaku K.K.
    Nikon was originally the name of a small camera Nippon Kogaku K.K. launched in 1948. In the planning stages the camera had initially been called the Nikolette, a name derived from Nikko, an abbreviation of Nippon Kogaku. The idea was revisited, however, because many in the company felt that “Nikolette would be too weak a name for a future core product.” Then, to make the name sound stronger, ‘n’ was attached to the end of Nikko and thus Nikon was used.
    There is an anecdote concerning the company name. At a ceremony to mark the twinning of Tokyo and Paris, then president FUKUOKA Shigetada introduced himself to the mayor of Paris as “Fukuoka from Nippon Kogaku K.K.,” but the mayor looked baffled. When his secretary informed him that the company made Nikon cameras the mayor answered in a friendly tone, “I know Nikon very well.”
    The product name had become more famous than the company name. The company name was changed to Nikon in 1988 at the suggestion of insiders who believed Nikon was already an internationally well-known brand with a reputation for reliability.
    Nikon cameras and “NIKKOR” interchangeable lenses are so reliable that they are used by the majority of media companies in and outside Japan. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, photojournalist David Douglas DUNCAN took pictures with NIKKOR lenses. Those pictures were featured in the American photo magazine “Life.” The sharpness of these pictures created quite a stir in the magazine’s editorial department in New York. At the same time the New York Times wrote about Nikon’s high quality.
    Nikon products are also used in space. Designed to NASA specifications, in 1971, the “Nikon Photomic FTN” was used on the Apollo 15 mission. Since then, Nikon has long been supplying cameras and interchangeable lenses to NASA. WAKATA Koichi, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station (ISS) who returned to Earth in May 2014, used a “D4” to take pictures of space and the Earth.
    Today, with an emphasis on precision equipment, imaging and instruments, the company has diversified. Its focus is not only on cameras, but also on the development of industrial products such as semiconductor/FPD (flat panel display) lithography systems, microscopes, and measuring instruments. Considered the most precise machines in history, semiconductor lithography systems make IC (integrated circuits) which are an integral part in all electronic devices. Nikon is beginning to apply its core technologies – namely optics and precision engineering – in the fields of health and medicine.
    Nikon Corporation
    Text: ITO Koichi[2015年3月号掲載記事]

    ニコン製品は宇宙でも活躍しています。1971年にはアポロ15号でNASA仕様の「Nikon Photomic FTN」が使われました。これを皮切りに、ニコンは長年にわたってNASAにカメラと交換レンズを納入しています。日本人初の宇宙ステーション(ISS)船長を務め、2014年5月に地球に帰還した若田光一さんが、「D4」を使って宇宙空間や地球を撮影しました。

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  • Spreading the Word About the Delicious Taste of Craft Beer

    [From February Issue 2015]

    President of Minoh Brewery
    OSHITA Kaori
    Craft beer is attracting attention these days. The popular “Minoh Beer” was created in the pastoral city of Minoh, Osaka Prefecture. OSHITA Kaori is both company president and factory manager. “My mother and two younger sisters work with me. When I first helped out with the business, it felt like a part-time job as I was a student,” says Kaori. She was later drawn into the fun of beer making.
    Minoh Brewery has won many major awards in Japan. Since 2009, it’s won awards six years in a row at international beer competitions. The success of this family run craft beer has been much discussed. Its international reputation has made this beer popular nationwide. “I could never have predicted that our Minoh Beer Stout would be chosen in the UK, the land of stout. It was quite a surprise. I was glad our longtime fans were also delighted,” says Kaori.
    As the factory is small in size, it can only produce limited quantities, but great care is taken to brew the beer. Although beer production processes usually include filtration and heat treatment, Minoh Brewery does without them. “Bottling is done without filtering out the yeast. Freshness is the key, so we ship it cold and our customers also keep and sell it cold. Our beer is rich in vitamins and minerals, so it’s also beneficial for health and beauty,” says Kaori.
    Minoh Brewery was founded in 1996 by Kaori’s father, OSHITA Masaji. It’s been 18 years since the company was established, and its owners have been through the ups and downs of the craft beer boom even to the extent that they had considered shutting down the business. Prominent in Japan’s craft beer industry, he sadly passed away two years ago.
    Last year, a special beer to pay homage to Masaji’s memory was put on the market at the suggestion of a friend in the industry. This year, to mark the third anniversary of Masaji’s death, several companies produced beers bearing an image of him on them. Minoh Brewery itself released GOD FATHER3. “My father was a lively active man, everyone loved him. I’m glad he’s still remembered through beer.”
    On the first floor of the factory cum head offices, there’s a tasting bar that can be visited for a fee. Neighbors can casually pop in here while taking a walk. Sometimes foreign tourists who have heard about the reputation of Minoh Beer also pay a visit. “We’ve been running this place since the company was established, because we’d like people to drink the beer as soon as it’s been made. Apart from our fixed holidays, we are open every day and at times it’s packed out,” says Kaori.
    The company has been running a pub in Osaka City since 2004. “We aim to make Minho Beer something that can be easily enjoyed every day. It’s more fun if you think about which beer goes well with what kind of dishes,” says Kaori. “Real ale” matured in a barrel is served with a hand pump just like in a British pub.
    They develop new products once every two months. “We have a wide range of some 120 types of beer. Some taste better if they aren’t too cold. I was inspired by foreign beers that used orange peel for our beer containing yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) from Minoh. I’d like to let more people know about the delicious taste of our different beers.” Kaori’s mission will continue into the future.
    Minoh Beer Co., Ltd.
    Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko[2015年2月号掲載記事]

    箕面ビール 代表取締役
    昨年、同業者の発案で正司さんを追悼するビールが発売されました。今年も三回忌に合わせて、正司さんをイメージしたビールが各社でつくられました。箕面ビールもGOD FATHER3を販売しました。「元気で働き者だった父は、皆からとても愛されていました。今でもビールを通して思い出してもらえるのはうれしいですね」。

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