選択されているタグ : Japan


The tales of Steve Jobs & Japan #04: Woodcut by Goyo Hashiguchi on the face of original Mac

"Woman Combing Her Hair" by Goyo Hashiguchi exhibited until May 25, 2014 at "Fascinating Japanese Woodcut Print" exhibition at Yokohama Museum of Art

Old Mac fans may recognize the picture in the middle.

It's "Woman Combing Her Hair," a woodcut print by Goyo Hashiguchi which is exhibited right now at Yokohama Museum of Art at their 25th Anniversary "Fascinating Japanese Woodcut Print" exhibition (ends May 25, 2014).

You recognize this picture because it was used as the face of the original Macintosh.

It was one of the first pictures to be shown at introduction of original Macintosh:

It was also used on the cover of the manual for MacPaint, of course.

FREER | SLACKER Gallery, the Smithonian's museum of Asian Art even has picture of Steve Jobs pausing on a Mac with this picture on it (according to the blog post on the gallery, Jobs visited the gallery each year):

Click to jump to FREER|SLACKER Gallery's article "Japan: the Apple of Steve Jobs’ Eye?"

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年03月03日 | Permalink

LINE re-invents itself at LINE 2014 Showcase

"BEYOND LINE" was they key concept for their annual press event

In a press event titled "LINE 2014 Showcase," LINE executive team announced they will redefine three of their core services.

"LINE is in good shape" said Takeshi Idezawa, COO of LINE. During a recent outage of WhatsApp, downloads of LINE has surpassed that of WhatsApp.

"As of today, 360 million users are using LINE. We are confident that we can reach 500M by the end of the year."

LINE COO, Takeshi Idezawa says, they will pass 500M within 2014

As chief strategy and marketing officer, Jun Masuda took over the stage, he said "LINE has succeeded beyond people's expectation. It has expanded beyond the expected user base, beyond the national boundary (of Japan) , etc... Just like that , we kept shifting our shape. We believed that we kept evolving. However, users and media began to form a fixed image about what we do. Today, we are changing that. And we are doing it with three new services. The keyword that bond them all is 'beyond LINE'."

1st of the three announcements was their signature "Stamp" service.
While most of the other messaging services are designed for text-based communication (with a little bit of emoticons), LINE, from the ground up, is designed to help intimate communication full of emotion, atmosphere, sense of timing with friends.
In doing so, they used what's Japanese are good at: MANGA (cartoon)-like character stamps.
Using these stamps, younger generation (and those people with younger hearts) can exchange their feeling without a single word and pass a really good time while they are distant away.

Here is a correspondent (fee inquiry) between me and a friendly editor Ms.Nanjo

There is LINE Stamp store that distributes both free and paid stamps.
LINE fans are willing to buy (or gift) stamps that his/her friends might not know; and this was creating a healthy business model for LINE.

Partner companies of LINE were selling stamps to promote new goods, new movie, soccer team (such as FC BARCELONA and REAL MADRID). Even Paul McCartney was using line to promote his live performance in Japan.

But today, LINE is going 'beyond LINE' and changing that.
Up until now, only selected few companies were able to provide original stamps; but today LINE is opening up an International "Creators Market" for their stamps.
It is just like the AppStore or GooglePlay but they will only sell stamps (i.e. graphics. minimum set of 40). LINE will charge 50% of the sales.

LINE executive believes this will create a whole new market for illustrators and cartoonists.
Jun Masuda, also believe this will help LINE's growth in countries other than Japan.
He said every country has its own culture and own way of expressing thing. LINE had worked hard to do the best in Japan and that served many international customers alike. But as of today, creators around the world can help make LINE a better communication tool for their countries via LINE CREATORS MARKET.

Registering for the creators is free and open at: creator.line.me

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年02月26日 | Permalink

The tales of Steve Jobs & Japan #03: Yukio Shakunaga, Steve Jobs' Favorite Porcelain Artist

It is well-known that Steve Jobs is a Japanophile.
It is also well-known that Steve Jobs admired great artists and craftsmen.

Among the many artists he loved was Yukio Shakunaga, a porcelain artist based in Toyama prefecture, Japan.
Jobs found the work of Shakunaga while he was having a vacation in Kyoto.

Shakunaga's atelier is in Toyama prefecture, 330Km (or 200 mi) away from Kyoto but he was having a week long exhibition in a gallery in Kyoto.
"Etchu Seto-yaki" is the kind of porcelain Shakunaga makes; Etchu is the old name of Toyama prefecture and "Seto-yaki" is the kind of porcelain he makes.

Jobs just walked in the exhibition with his wife, Laurene Powell; he liked Shakunaga's work so much and bought several Japanese tea cups and flower vases. More over, he visited the exhibition three times during the one-week exhibition.

It was still in mid-'90s. Steve Jobs still worked for NeXT, Inc. and Shakunaga had no idea who Steve Jobs was but was impressed by two things: Jobs' searching eyes and deep interest into his works.

After Steve Jobs has passed, Shakunaga's daughter, Yo Shakunaga, has posted an anecdote by an author, Shizuka Kanaki:

Yo's blog: Steve Jobs and Etchu Seto-yaki

According to that story, Shakunaga's niece was there to help the exhibition and she was the only person who recognized Steve Jobs.
She was explaining to Shakunaga that "having Steve Jobs visit the exhibition is like having John Lennon purchase a tea cup there. And uncle, you've even talked with Steve Jobs for so long. That is so amazing!"

According to that blog post, sometime, speaking and hearing didn't work for Jobs and Shakunaga, so they relied on pens and papers. But Jobs kept asking so many questions.
And most of Jobs' questions were about the clay used in Shakunaga's work.

Shakunaga explained to Jobs that he used "Hakudo (White Clay)." Jobs was so curious about this "White Clay" that he almost visited Toyama. But then, he reallized it will take three hours just to get there and gave up.
Although most porcelain artists buys clay, Shakunaga starts his work by digging his own clay. Kanaki believes that sort of craftsmanship may have impressed Steve Jobs.
And Jobs' strong interest impressed Shakunaga.

The correspondence between the two continued even after the exhibition.

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年02月11日 | Permalink

The tales of Steve Jobs & Japan #02: casual friendship with Sony

It is well-known that Steve Jobs is a Japanophile.
It is also well-known that Steve Jobs was a big fan of Sony.

In the book, "Insanely Simple" by Ken Segall, the godfather of "iMac" disclosed how Steve Jobs wanted to name that product "MacMan" mimicking "Walkman."

Akio Morita, the co-founder of Sony was not featured in the 'Think different.' ad campaign but he has always been a hero for Steve Jobs.
I remember Jobs giving condolence on his passing.

Steve Jobs giving condole sense to Morita at iMac DV introduction/Click to watch video

Steve Jobs and Akio Morita

While Jobs adored Morita, Morita also adored Steve Jobs.
"There are actually two American youngsters Morita was particularly fond of and took good care of: One was Michael Jackson, and the other was Steve Jobs" recalls Kunitake Ando, the ex-president of Sony, Inc. According to him, Morita, often invited them to Sony and gave them personal tours.

Because of this close relationship between Jobs and Morita, Apple and Sony was in a special relationship all along the way. The two companies had been very close even during Steve Jobs' absence. The two companies have worked closely on some projects. For example, Apple's QuickTime team had helped Sony develop their ATRAC audio file format. And ex-QuickTime architect directed some of Sony's Cybershot digital camera projects.

The relationship between Apple and Sony became even stronger when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and it continued on, perhaps, until iPod became such a huge success and Howard Stringer took control of SONY.

Mac-compatible VAIO

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年02月05日 | Permalink

The tales of Steve Jobs & Japan #01: Mr.Floppy disk

It is well-known that Steve Jobs was a Zen Buddhist and a Japanophile.
Although he was a well-known vegetarian, Sushi always had been the exception.
According to a tweet by Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank groups, the best meal Steve Jobs had in his life was a Sushi dinner in Kyoto.

Despite the massive number of books about Steve Jobs published in English, there are still many tales of him which isn't known to the western world.

I once wrote some of them on Nippon.com:
"Steve Jobs and Japan."

But here on my blog, I would like to give a deeper cut into some of those stories.

First in the series of all, I would like to write the tale of Mr. Floppy disk: the friendshop between Steve Jobs and Yasuyuki Hirose, an ex-engineer of floppy disk drive at ALPS Electronics.

I interviewed him for a book I supervised (+I also have written 70% of the articles on it).
The book is called "The Legacy of Steve Jobs" and it is only available in Japanese:

スティーブ・ジョブズは何を遺したのか (日経BPパソコンベストムック)

Steve & Yasu

Hirose brought a picture of him with Steve Jobs. On the back of the picture, it reads "At Rod Holts' house. June, 1977." Hirose was 32 years-old when 24 years-old Steve Jobs approached him and asked to make a floppy disk drive for Apple II.
"She is not in the picture, but Barbara Jasinski was sitting right next to me. At the time, Steve was dating her." recalls Hirose.
All Apple executive team called him "Yasu" and were so warm and friendly to him. They often invited him to home party, etc. And the picture Hirose brought was taken during on of those ocasions. Rod Holt once invited Hirose to his Yacht named "Apple I" and served a beer named after himself.

Hirose says "many people say Steve Jobs is a short-tempered charisma, but he was always kind and even shy to me." Hirose once asked Jobs, if he could give a lecture to factory workers at ALPS and Jobs warmly accepted it.
One of the factory workers asked Jobs what the 'fifth generation computer' is.
'Fifth-generation computer' was an initiative by Japanese government to create Japan-made super computers.
Steve Jobs explained "the fifth generation computers are like super-cars while personal computers are like bicycle."
Jobs also frankly asked many questions to ALPS employees. He was especially interested in their automated factory.
"Steve was particularly interested in manufacturing processes. In 1983, he made a tour of automated factory in Furukawa and asked many questions. Later, he invited me to his new factory in Fremont, California; it was then, that I realized what Steve had always wanted to do." recalls Hirose.

投稿者名 Nobuyuki Hayashi 林信行 投稿日時 2014年02月03日 | Permalink