NEWS

The Hot Seat にて、取り上げられました。(Jan 21, 2011)

The Hot Seat: Interview of Toshiyuki Inoko

teamLab CEO, Toshiyuki Inoko. teamLab is a creative group that made the news and blog portal site “i z a” of Sankei digital, the search engine by musicians of Ticketpia and so on. This company started with five people, but it has over 150 employees now. If you read Inoko’s previous interview, you might have the image of the eloquent owner. But Inoko who showed up in front of me was thinking deeply for 20 minutes. If I thought so, he started to talk with the phrase he just came up. While he suddenly became talkative, he left the innovative word.Mr.Inoko. I heard you don’t have your home and you are living like the Nomad. What is the reason?Inoko: When I was little, I learned the world “food, clothing and shelter” from my school. I wanted to know how important it is because I heard it is the most important things in our life. I thought I would be able to know if I don’t have it. It has been about 2 years living without home.How about it? Did something change?Inoko: It doesn’t bother me at all because Tokyo is too amazing. Moreover, because I have my company, I can put some stuff in here. In the way, it doesn’t mean I just don’t have home. In that sense, if there are my company and Tokyo, I can be fine.

Tokyo is really amazing. When I go to meet someone great, I think I need to shave my bear. And there is a shaver for 100 yen and a restroom is clean too If I go to a convenience store. I can wash my face and brush my teeth because recently there is a wide restroom. Then every entertainments of my life are in my computer. If there is something else, Tokyo gives me. There is also full bath like LaQua. I can stay anywhere. I don’t have too much trouble.You don’t give up a “food” and “clothing”, don’t you?Inoko: If I give up a “food”, I will end up dying. About a “clothing”, I have thrown away all of my cloths without the one I was wearing at that time even if naked is cold. Then It was interesting. Because I threw away all, I am wearing the one l like the most everyday. After I did so, I was told, “Fashionable” more times than before. If I have lots of cloths, I may wear something that isn’t my favorite the most because I have a choice. Then I surly wear the cloths I don’t like every once two weeks. Probability is not stable. Because I wore the cloths I like the most every time, people thought I was fashionable. The people I meet everyday don’t care about such a superficial thing. If you are fashionable everyday, you will be popular. (Laugh)There is the benefit and by-product. It’s better to recommend to the world.Inoko: No. I can’t recommend. (Laugh) If I am asked which one is better between having “food, clothing, and shelter” and not having them, I will definitely say having one. I didn’t say even one word that it was good. I said I was fine unexpectedly if I didn’t have them. It’s better to have them. But there is something you can realize for the first time when you don’t have them. And its purpose was to discover.Do you plan to have your home again someday?Inoko: But I also feel that a person gets lazy if there is a house. If not, it seems imminent. The feeling of imminent may increase the power of the life. And then it probably keeps the power. It is essentially good to have the strong power of the life absolutely, isn’t it? I need to have a weapon like an imminent.What did you want to be when you are little?Inoko: I didn’t have something I want to be, but I didn’t want to be an adult.What made you think that you build your company?Inoko: it’s a kind of confusing to speak. When I was in my middle school, electromagnetic wave came and Japan needed to rebuild. (Laugh) I needed to do something at least because it was scared not to do anything toward the rebirth. I checked various. There were the former conglomerates, the former state-owned, and regulated industries of licensing system in the top 30 of market capitalization. To be among these, I thought to get married with a rich is the only way. Then a son-in-law was the president of some big general contractor company, and he graduated the University of Tokyo. That’s why I decided to go to the University of Tokyo and I did. But I got into know the Internet right before the examination of the university. So, I thought it wasn’t the time to look for a rich.
The Internet is amazing. Because it’s first in history that a person can send information freely and get information from the world freely, it’s so romantic, isn’t it? I thought to commit the area of technology or the cultural thing because surly the society turned into the way. But I didn’t know where those kinds of companies are. I didn’t know where to get a job to have those works because I just got to know about the Internet or digital. So, I build my company with the one more reason that I wanted to be with my friends. It’s good to have lots of friends. It’s hard to make conversation with male friends without a purpose not like female friends. So, I thought it was good to have the same work.
As you just told, it’s possible to send information to the world these days. In your opinion, what does Japan need to send to the world?Inoko: In Japanese culture, there are many peculiar phenomenon. I think these phenomenon, things that were created around the phenomenon, and the idea behind the phenomenon have led to will be good. For example, “the little devil ageha.” Because I like “the little devil ageha,” I have bought every magazine from a convenience store. This is interesting. Every character is a hostess.Their faces all looks same.Inoko: It’s what foreigners say when they see Japanese. For example, think about the Eskimo. There are lots of names of snow. They can figure out the details because they are interesting in the snow. For a long time ago, Japanese people had high feelings of color. That’s why we have tons of the names of colors. The reason that people think all the models have same faces is they are not really interesting in them or they have lower feelings of them, isn’t it? (Laugh)

Talking about the culture. The culture is completely different by the area. Everything like Hatsune Miku, comics, and idols is revivals and restorations. Until now, the intellectuals have been affected by the western. But most of people are not really so. The result comes up to the front side and it is winning for the first time. Japanese are originally not very interested in substance and not a real principle. It can’t be figured out which one is the real logo on the cover of “the little devil ageha.” Every time, it is used a different font, color, and even sometimes see-through.

I make things easy to be imitated, but I think it shouldn’t be things are not imitated. “The little devil ageha” is just like so. Because the logo is cool, people want to copy it and somehow they do. But it becomes slightly uncool one. What is cool and what is not cool? You can’t figure out if you are not in their cultural area, can you?Certainly.Inoko: The things that have the cultural background are interesting as industry things. It may be fissional things or can be electronic things. It will be cool if there is a digital camera that automatically generates something like the ageha’s cover after you take a photo. Maybe it is possible to imitate the skills, but it is hard to copy the feeling of the appropriate taste. Moreover, the feeling changes every day and it’s not a weird thing. It won’t probably change tomorrow, but I think it will be a year later. That’s why being the cultural area can be the strength.

Originally, the perception and idea that Japan has should be very good match with 21st century. Japan is different from Europe and the United States. Japanese don’t have the sense for globalism and objective thought if I say in the overall framework. All phenomena are only subjective. Justice is subjective as well. The western people have the thoughts that a person can take relative things as objective things and take as objective things. That’s the different point.

For example, if you see the way to make contents, no one is justice and no one is evil in the Japanese comics and animations. Justice is only a subjective. In the animation “Princess Mononoke”, the princess Mononoke is right in her side and the people in the Tatara place are right in their side. There is a dispute because they are in the different position. If there is an objective thought like a Hollywood movie, the hero is the justice and approximately beat up the devil character in the end because it is the system to beat up the devil. The hero destroys the devil. There is no such destruction in Japanese contents. In the “Princess Mononoke”, the hero Ashitaka try to find the compromise while going back and forth between the two parties. But there is no compromise. However, they are living on. This is the ending.

One more example is the character. It’s called “font” for the western and “書(calligraphy)” for Japanese. A font is objectively beautiful. In other words, it is the shape of the beauty. If there are no feelings included, the calligraphy isn’t good one. Even if the same calligrapher writes same character, it seems different. And the differences are even better. It is sure to be different because it is subjective. In addition, let’s write with letters and emoticons, “I will be waiting.” If there are only texts saying, “I will be waiting,” Japanese can’t stand it. We put marks of heart, angry, and smile with the texts because we think it is not completed without putting in the objective emotions.

The reason that I’m saying that these thoughts should be good match with 21st century is that the objective idea and mass media happened to have very good match with the society after the industry revolution. In the information society, now every one is connected and can take communications. So it is no long cover the world with something objectively. People have become to feel uncomfortable with the contents based on the objective ideology.

One more reason is that there was no concept of the limitation in Japan. Things were infinite. But I think the western people took things were limited. I think digital things are good match with Japan because it is unlimited.What is the better way to let overseas know such phenomenon itself?Inoko: Japan has a high purity of the culture. New cool things, the way to show fashion, and so on are coming out. About these kinds of things, I think it is good that the government makes people think ‘Cool Japan’ together. But it’s going to be difficult if they tie people even while they are waiting. If we are talking about ageha, how about bring ageha’s makeup items or fashion stuff only because it is the most interesting to go with the phenomenon itself? But such phenomenon is done by personally, or the business is too small capital. How about make it big?Now there is an entertainment group called “Ayaman Japan” who acts based on parties. They perfectly make people excite and get no payment. I have no idea why they do the activity. But it is the one of the Japanese original thing, I guess. Not for money, it’s for fun. Japanese like these kinds of things.Inoko: That’s right. It’s hard to figure out what the point is, and there are a lot like this these days. They have all different phenomenon or rule. In the result, something created from that becomes global things. Japanese companies in the past said, “Employees are a family” which was a weird opinion from the world side. But they became global companies with the weird management policy. But they are no longer global companies after they were saying, “compliance.” It needs to be unique to be global in the information society.I see. Mr. Inoko. Is there a place you often go in Tokyo?Inoko: Kabuki-Cho, maybe. Kabuki-Cho was the most interesting place in 90s. If you are talking about now, it may be “Giragira Girls” and so on. Akihabara is also interesting. By the way, I like Thailand the most. I go to Bangkok several times in a year.What is the good point of Thailand?Inoko: If you have never been there, you don’t know half of the world. (Laugh) The reasons are Thailand is only country did not become colonized in Asia and not affected by the western. Japan didn’t have the experience of being colonized but have lost the war. But Thailand has not lost. In other words, it is rare to be able to find a country hasn’t gotten affected by the Jewish, Christ, and Islam in the world. Compares to other countries in Asia, you can realize that Asia was great for real.Only this lofty reason? (Laugh)Inoko: Nope. But if I speak more details, it will take 70 hours. (Laugh)

SHOTENKENCHIKU にて、取り上げられました。(Jan 1, 2011)

It is very important to have a trick to make customers “HIGH-TENSION” in this time period of that the web becomes the commercial space.

There is a building, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, standing on the upland around the University of Tokyo, Hongo campus. The 2 floors of the building are the place that the around 200 people are full of energy. This is the office of “teamLab” strongly insisting as “the ultra technologist group” by engineers, programmers, and designers. The president is Toshiyuki Inoko who becomes an opinion leader of his generation. He is different from presidents of other venture companies as he lists “Rebirth Japan” on the purpose of establishing his corporation.
teamLab is known as not only official works that IT specialists do but activities of digital artworks. The reason that they got spotlights from the world is the installation work in “Kansei Japan Design Exhibition” for 150th anniversary of the relationship Japan and France at Museum of Decorative Art of Paris in 2008.
Inoko says, “I want to make contents that can feel thought and beauty of Japan because the purpose of the project is to inform Japanese products to the world.” What they thought for this was making the space full by putting 12 LED display monitors, 2.7m high, in row, 12 channel sound systems, and their independent films.
 
 
The films were “Flower and Corpse” which is their original video art. The stages in the screens that may make people think of picture scrolls from Heian period are created by 2D which is rebuilt from a 3D world of imagination on a computer. This is cut out by 12 points of view. The purpose of this work that looks like traditional Japanese painting is not showing Japanese traditional taste. Inoko says, “Because I want to know how ancient Japanese people catch sight of the world.”
The space expression of ancient Japanese that doesn’t constant their visual point to one, not like thinking of perspective of Western way, is “It should have good compatibility to the commercial space” as Inoko says. And he continually says, “The 20th century films are the things that force us to watch them from one visual point by sitting in front of the screen in a theater or TV. But the Japanese way is better if the space itself can be full of films because it won’t fix people’s visual point. Then you can be freely walking around in the middle of films.”
 
The instance is the video art “100 years sea”, 23m wide, at Konica Minolta Plaza in Japan and Yokohama APEC in 2010. The film, representing rising of sea level during 100 years, was projected to three side of wall. It was possible to have immersive feeling even though it didn’t give feeling of depth. The corner where the wall and wall meet was hard to see the line of the joint. It looked like a folding screen painting. When a world or story needs to be shown by a space as media, it seems to be one of the possible choices to approach.The interface: No way to feel its behavior.Inoko and core members of teamLab are the people of the generation that experiences information revolution from the late 1990s when they are students. The experiences from the time they put themselves in the world of web business for a long time by starting the business on since 2001 are related to the question like, “why a space is only designed as material itself?” Their idea that using a space as media itself making full of films may lead to the way of the value like “More mass, less cool.” (as Inoko says)
It is interesting what kinds of thought about the commercial space they have as who are looking after managing the EC (electronic commerce) site. “EC site is proceeding better way than real stores in the some ways like recommending goods from the history list the customers have been bought, showing tons of goods in the once, and so on. What if real stores and web stores are using the same platform? It is probably possible to present a space by information itself as the web sites do.”
 
At first, they exhibit “teamLabHanger” at the booth of apparel brand called “earth music & ecology” in “Tokyo designer’s week 2010.” If customers take the hanger on their hands, the sensor that is attached to the hanger starts to work with the display screen right next to the goods and a picture of a model whose holds or wears the goods and shows up with its information. “The trigger is the idea that we want to make an interface from common behavior. When people try to connect a commercial space to an information space, people need to learn new behavior or have one more step. But we want to make the conclusion as the natural behavior that people are holding a hanger on their hands to see a cloth. The reason that using the picture of coordinating clothes is from the experience of managing EC site. The sales cannot even compare to sales of when using a normal picture because they were big difference.” (as Inoko says) One more exhibition is “DIGITAL SHOW WINDOW system” of signage that is for outside of a store. It has a feature to be able to use logs from users connected to teamLabHanger. For instance, the picture of goods that is taken up a lot by customers is displayed on the monitor in 5 minutes as it is ranked. Even though it is not totalized or analyzed by POS, the history of users itself becomes other’s contents. This is the one using the way of web.The evolution of a space like a web and product do.teamLab sometimes works on artworks using films and sometimes works on the business by using technology. It seems to have no connection between them, but Inoko explains, “Our expression and system may be looked like different things, but they will be ended up with one thing. Now it is just on process.”
“Digital media has a feature of that the front side users can see and the back side that system is running are related. We have been working on those two sides on web. We think it has been separated to the shown side and technology side. If we are making a car, engineers make an engine and designers make a design. However, in the case of a cellphone, for example iPhone, it is hard to tell which parts of works are for programmers and which parts of works are for designers to make its interface. It is hard to think separately between expression and system to make a product as same as a web. And I think a space will be so in a some day.” (as Inoko says)
Not only In an information space but also in a real space, the front side work, design, and the back side work, system, will be one. When the day comes, what is possibility that the commercial space has.
“The people who purposely comes to the store want to have ‘physical feeling’ can get from only that place. It is not in a virtual world. It can be exciting entertainment. If it is hard to win from a web in logical way, we must do something to make customers ‘HIGH-TENTION.’ The way can be a cool design, interaction, or story. I think we can choose the way up to its condition or situation.”

COMMERCIAL PHOTO にて、取り上げられました。(Oct, 2012)

teamLab presents 『COORDINATION』

There is a building, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, standing on the upland around the University of Tokyo, Hongo campus. The 2 floors of the building are the place that the around 200 people are full of energy. This is the office of “teamLab” strongly insisting as “the ultra technologist group” by engineers, programmers, and designers. The president is Toshiyuki Inoko who becomes an opinion leader of his generation. He is different from presidents of other venture companies as he lists “Rebirth Japan” on the purpose of establishing his corporation.
teamLab is known as not only official works that IT specialists do but activities of digital artworks. The reason that they got spotlights from the world is the installation work in “Kansei Japan Design Exhibition” for 150th anniversary of the relationship Japan and France at Museum of Decorative Art of Paris in 2008.
Inoko says, “I want to make contents that can feel thought and beauty of Japan because the purpose of the project is to inform Japanese products to the world.” What they thought for this was making the space full by putting 12 LED display monitors, 2.7m high, in row, 12 channel sound systems, and their independent films.
 
 
The films were “Flower and Corpse” which is their original video art. The stages in the screens that may make people think of picture scrolls from Heian period are created by 2D which is rebuilt from a 3D world of imagination on a computer. This is cut out by 12 points of view. The purpose of this work that looks like traditional Japanese painting is not showing Japanese traditional taste. Inoko says, “Because I want to know how ancient Japanese people catch sight of the world.”
The space expression of ancient Japanese that doesn’t constant their visual point to one, not like thinking of perspective of Western way, is “It should have good compatibility to the commercial space” as Inoko says. And he continually says, “The 20th century films are the things that force us to watch them from one visual point by sitting in front of the screen in a theater or TV. But the Japanese way is better if the space itself can be full of films because it won’t fix people’s visual point. Then you can be freely walking around in the middle of films.”
 
The instance is the video art “100 years sea”, 23m wide, at Konica Minolta Plaza in Japan and Yokohama APEC in 2010. The film, representing rising of sea level during 100 years, was projected to three side of wall. It was possible to have immersive feeling even though it didn’t give feeling of depth. The corner where the wall and wall meet was hard to see the line of the joint. It looked like a folding screen painting. When a world or story needs to be shown by a space as media, it seems to be one of the possible choices to approach.The interface: No way to feel its behavior.Inoko and core members of teamLab are the people of the generation that experiences information revolution from the late 1990s when they are students. The experiences from the time they put themselves in the world of web business for a long time by starting the business on since 2001 are related to the question like, “why a space is only designed as material itself?” Their idea that using a space as media itself making full of films may lead to the way of the value like “More mass, less cool.” (as Inoko says)
It is interesting what kinds of thought about the commercial space they have as who are looking after managing the EC (electronic commerce) site. “EC site is proceeding better way than real stores in the some ways like recommending goods from the history list the customers have been bought, showing tons of goods in the once, and so on. What if real stores and web stores are using the same platform? It is probably possible to present a space by information itself as the web sites do.”
 
At first, they exhibit “teamLabHanger” at the booth of apparel brand called “earth music & ecology” in “Tokyo designer’s week 2010.” If customers take the hanger on their hands, the sensor that is attached to the hanger starts to work with the display screen right next to the goods and a picture of a model whose holds or wears the goods and shows up with its information. “The trigger is the idea that we want to make an interface from common behavior. When people try to connect a commercial space to an information space, people need to learn new behavior or have one more step. But we want to make the conclusion as the natural behavior that people are holding a hanger on their hands to see a cloth. The reason that using the picture of coordinating clothes is from the experience of managing EC site. The sales cannot even compare to sales of when using a normal picture because they were big difference.” (as Inoko says) One more exhibition is “DIGITAL SHOW WINDOW system” of signage that is for outside of a store. It has a feature to be able to use logs from users connected to teamLabHanger. For instance, the picture of goods that is taken up a lot by customers is displayed on the monitor in 5 minutes as it is ranked. Even though it is not totalized or analyzed by POS, the history of users itself becomes other’s contents. This is the one using the way of web.The evolution of a space like a web and product do.teamLab sometimes works on artworks using films and sometimes works on the business by using technology. It seems to have no connection between them, but Inoko explains, “Our expression and system may be looked like different things, but they will be ended up with one thing. Now it is just on process.”
“Digital media has a feature of that the front side users can see and the back side that system is running are related. We have been working on those two sides on web. We think it has been separated to the shown side and technology side. If we are making a car, engineers make an engine and designers make a design. However, in the case of a cellphone, for example iPhone, it is hard to tell which parts of works are for programmers and which parts of works are for designers to make its interface. It is hard to think separately between expression and system to make a product as same as a web. And I think a space will be so in a some day.” (as Inoko says)
Not only In an information space but also in a real space, the front side work, design, and the back side work, system, will be one. When the day comes, what is possibility that the commercial space has.
“The people who purposely comes to the store want to have ‘physical feeling’ can get from only that place. It is not in a virtual world. It can be exciting entertainment. If it is hard to win from a web in logical way, we must do something to make customers ‘HIGH-TENTION.’ The way can be a cool design, interaction, or story. I think we can choose the way up to its condition or situation.”

BRUTUS にて、取り上げられました。(Aug 1, 2010)

What is “teamLab Hanger” that might change the way of shopping in future?


What is “teamLab Hanger” that might change the way of shopping in future?
teamLab Co. produced a new media which makes merchandise more exciting. Currently, less people are reluctant doing online shopping, because it provides us enough information, pictures, and comparable products that we don’t need to visit the store in real world. Of course there must be some limited information that real shop can provide, but don’t you think that’s not really a matter? In respect of such reversal idea, teamLab Co., the group that is committed to bring new excitement tools to the world trough cutting edge technology and creativity, created new media which makes the shopping experience more exciting and enjoyable. It is a hanger that follows extra information of the clothes. When you pick up clothes with teamLab hanger, a computer screen above the item displays relevant pictures, like the image of clothes that is coordinated. The idea sounds very simple that anyone could hit upon. However, this “discovery” of idea has great number of possibilities.
  “In the real store, the clothes which is displayed or wore by shop staff seems more attractive. Same in ecommerce, the clothes which is shown with a coordinated image sells better than just the clothing product itself,” Said Inoko Toshiyuki, the CEO of teamLabCo. The point is information volume. Then how about adding mass information that accumulated in ecommerce to the medium of real store? Products become more attractive when they are coordinated with images, the stories behind the design, and the knowledge of the materials. Also it is expectable that such hanger helps the sales growth. With teamLab hanger, the shop walls can be used to display images on monitors or using projectors instead of placing the mannequin in valuable space, and increasing the potential for expressive power. TeamlabHanger provides previously unavailable data such as “2 people pick up the hanger (clothes) but neither customer bought it.” All the more, an ordinary shopping in town turns into an overwhelming new experience. Inoko says, “In former time, internet has tried to approach the real world, but with the flow of information new strengths have emerged, and we discover the potential possibility to reconstruct the real world from the perspective of the internet or digital age. In the real world there are interests outside of the material. For example, action; an interface is not only limited to a keyboard or touch panel, but also the action itself.” Only for the real store, it is able to convey mass amount of information through an ordinary action like picking up hanger, which is different from the act with intention like clicking and searching. And it goes without saying that there’s countless number of ‘action’ in real world like the hanger. Those things will bring a rich experience to the real world in near future. Inoko emphasized, ”In future, I want people around the world to feel the shopping in Tokyo as a special experience. I want make them saying, ‘Wow! Japan is incredibly cool!’”
A sensor inside the hanger sends a signal to the customer’s computer. The photo is a prototype for teamLab Hanger.

Toyokezai にて、取り上げられました。(April 16, 2010)

Toshiyuki Inoko, the presedent of teamLab, screams, “Japan is in danger.”

The reason I was surprised is the charge of PR team who I met had beautiful pigtail hairstyle just like Na’vi in the movie called “Avatar.” He used to work as an editor in charge of a game magazine in Sweden. He couldn’t speak Swedish well. (Of course, he is Japanese.) He has worked there for 3 and half years and then moved to teamLab 2 months ago. Oh my… Is this company putting the new man who just came in 2months ago the position of the chief of PR team?Then here comes the main person, Toshiyuki Inoko, who showed up a little bit late. He was a big man who was about 190cm. While I was thinking he had power in his eyes like a worrier of Na’vi, he said, “Did you have lunch?” I said, “Of course.” He said, “Can I have lunch during the interview?” I said, “Sure. Go ahead.” Then his lunch box from a convenience store was opened. Unordinary “softy” aura was flowing out and immediately I became relaxed.Revolution Sankei “i z a” vie with GoogleTannawa Keizo who is the Legal representative of Japan of Towers Watson, merged of Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin, which is the worldwide consulting company told about Inoko, “Hentai from the beginning.”Tannawa has held “Hentai meeting” to study and drink with young CEOs of ventures. If the owner is said to be a Hentai enough, he or she cannot bring an impact on the world. That’s the origin of the name of meeting. Ryosei Wakabayashi, the vice president of beBit and Kyoto University lecturer, who was the one of the first member said one day, “I will bring the super Hentai next time.” Then the one who was showed up was Inoko.Inoko and teamLab are not usual. First,on 2006, they created the search engine “SAGOOL” vie with Google. Google already has established an absolute advantage and search engine development companies were disappeared from Japan. However, the search engine is the engine of the information society as what the letter says.“That’s same to that you cannot make the internal combustion engine when the country decide to have the automotive industry to live. The country like this is so in danger, isn’t it? Whatever the reason is let’s just do it. This is Byakkotai. (a name of a group of samurai) ”We want original one if we make it. It is designed that the page that is liked in order which is pulled to Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google comes to top ranking.“Doesn’t it feel bad that the world is covered in the values of one? Isn’t it better to have a different algorithm?” SAGOOL puts something interesting things to the top.So, the SAGOOL became a business? “Not at all.” It is fine as long as we remained the technology of the search engine in this country. That’s why this is Byakkotai.Second was the news and blog portal “i z a” of the Sankei newspaper. This one became a big hit. He straightly said when consulted, “I think the form of newspaper is a kind of over.” Then Sankei side said, “Then, it’s all up to you.” On January 2006, He became the director of digital Sankei that was a spin-off digital department.Inoko denied the elitist. Newspaper is made by a few of elite reporters and editors. But, “‘collective intelligence’ in the information society is overwhelmingly win. Information society is too diverse, a few elites cannot catch up.” ‘i za’ made bi-directional relationship between newspapers and readers in the first time of history.Reporters sharedall reviews of readers for the each articles (traditionally assessment is exclusively the domain of the desk),the readers also can write something. There was no edition to reporters’ reply for readers’.Masami Abe who was the president of Sankei digital at that time was fearful. “It was the reporter blog without the prior preview. If it was possible, it would be interesting but it was evolutional thing at that time. Mr.Inoko calmly suggest it. I also desperately persuaded the company. ”‘i z a’ became the top national popular newspaper portal site while the time of blinking of eyes, and Abe from Sankei digial became “web person of the year” on 2006.Third one was the digital media artwork “Flower and Corpse” displayed in the middle of the SAGOOL palace. teamLab that has been produced as part of the 150th anniversary of France and Japan business created it. When the video processed by a computer displayed the 12 display monitors seems like hanging scrolls, the hall turned into the space of scroll paintings of “Death and rebirth” of the Heian period.The “Le Monde,” a luxury magazine, praised and Tannawa of Towers Watson visited Paris by chance and was overwhelmed by looking at the real thing. “Inoko is a genius. There is a possibility of the brains of the world’s top class.” At the same time, hewas really worried about. “Because he is a genius, he catches people’s eyes too much. I want him to be hidden. I don’t know it is good or bad to expose him to the world.”“Construction” that has nothing and nothing. Free research on summer vacationWhat parts of him is awesome? Inoko said, “To be honest with you, I haven’t thought of a management or business.” It is like a humble, but it is not.As what Inoko said, the strategy theory and all the business administration were the concepts that were built before the information society. And somehow the expiration date has expired.Before the information society, it was important that the goods need to be well known by customers, and there was a highest priority to put the goods to big stores in order to sell it.So, companies planned the marketing strategy andused the mass media promotions. However, the Internet changed everything. “Now everyone can get information at the moment. If we make something cool, we win. If we make the awesome one, it will be distributed by itself.”There was no need of McKinsay or Dentsu. Also there was no need of a salesman or white-collar. “CEO means nothing. Management and strategy also don’t matter.” The only important thing is making the very awesome stuff. Who can make it possible are the specialists of the technology (= the information skill) and creativity (= the cultural creativity).”“The awesome thing depends on the details. The rough story like CEO or strategy can’t make the parts of details.”20 billion dollars in sales. The balance of the incoming is similar, but teamLab, employees more than 200 peopl, has no salesman. There are no sales plan or profit plan. The board members haven’t asked about them even once.

NIKKEI DESIGN にて、取り上げられました。(Apr, 2010)

Nintendo Game is Official Successor of Japanese Culture

 Among the home video game industry, SONY and Microsoft sought for a high visionary definition. However, Nintendo sets apart drastically from hostile companies and they succeeded by creating the real world performances as a new interface. Why Nintendo was capable to be at the forefront of the technology? Even they did sort of the flipside to the general trend. Inoko Toshiyuki (CEO of teamLab co.: Creating unique interface on websites, and recording good rate of traffic to the website they designed such as TOYOTA and Suntory) and Sakai Naoki (The representative of Water Design Scope: a conceptor from Kyoto) will discuss about the strength of Nintendo design. SAKAI(S): Mr.Inoko, what do youthink about design of Nentendo’s game console?INOKO(I): I think they are literally cool and stylish.S: Generally, SONY’s playstation3 and PSP, Microsoft’s Xbox are accepted by people as “cool” designs. For Nintendo, on the contrary, Wii and DS are seems to be not very famous for their designs. But you think that’s wrong?I: First I want to say that their graphics are incredibly cool. For example, in “Super Mario World,” the very first game of super family computer, they used layers for drawing all the background graphics including trees. And it moves sideways. They are cool not only for its graphic but also for its design, which is similar to those of classical Japanese garden.S: The backgrounds remind me of the stage design of Kabuki as well.I: I especially love their Map screen of Super Mario World that they have both bridge and ladder icons on it. Bridge is depicted as we see them from above, and ladder is portrayed as we see them from side. They combine the pictures of both views, from above and side. Players distinguish the bridge and ladder by the pictures. Originally, in real world, people recognize the world by combining of the bodily sensations. The same experiences are provided in the Mario’s map screen. Therefore I think it’s very natural technique of expression. However, it is uncomfortable for people who used to the perspective drawings or Western designs.S: Is it hard for people who graduated from art school to understand the value of Nintendo design?I: I think they are very Japanese way of drawing. YAMATOE also combines the both scenery that view from above and side. Draw things in point of view from above, when people recognize the things from above, draw things in point of view from side, when people recognize the things from side. Mario’s Map screen and YAMATOE are using the same technique of spatial expression. Therefore I thought Nintendo is the official successor of Japanese culture. Let me change a topic, do you know why ink-art (SUIBOKUGA) was drawn? It is said that they are minimalism, but I think there’s another answer. First of all, there were basically no specialists for ink-painting. Japanese artists were drawing both YAMATOE and ink-painting. So the painters choose the technique of expression in each time. When they draw something that reflects the power of life, they choose ink-painting. Painters choose to draw YAMATOE when they are drawing the whole world. Ink-painting as monochrome (single color) would better convey a personalized feeling or atmosphere. Painters, in ink-painting, abbreviate the things they feel no vitality. Japanese people believed that every creation has life energy and humanity is just a part of big nature. This way of thought reflected in drawings. Nintendo also succeed this traditional thought, that they make a cartoons for everything which they felt life energy. Therefore, in the map screen, tree has eyes and dancing around.S: It’s similar to the conception of Hyakkiyagyou (situation that many monsters, spirits, etc. forming a line and walking through the night) and YAOROZU NO KAMI (a large number of deities), right?I: Yes, they succeed the fundamental point. Colors that excites playersI: Including the title logos, Nintendo uses a lot of colors for the games, aren’t they? Super Mario Galaxy has sparkle stars, and it floating around the screen. People naturally feel so excited when they saw such colorful and sparkle things. However, other game publishers tend to use sober colors to make the game more realistic. If that’s the mainstream of game industry, Nintendo is doing what they want to do and they don’t care what other companies are doing. The reason why the other game publishers avoid using bright colors is, I think there must be some influence of the Western culture. In the Western society, they suppress the expression of people’s feelings and desire, because they think taking precedence over such instinct means becoming the same with savage wild animals. In respect of design derived from such deliberation thoughts, Nintendo designs are different.S: Nintendo did a great job on creating a new interface which works with actual actions, such as Wii. What do you think about this kind of design?I: From the very first, I love the way we can control the Nintendo games, they are simply enjoyable and feels good when you are playing them. In Super Mario world, all kids were just in love to see Mario running faster, so that they kept pushing B dash buttons. B dash doesn’t mean giving them extra points, but they just kept pushing it. They just felt good by seeing Mario running so fast. Similar thing is happening in Super Mario 46. The game officially starts only when the player get set in the Peach’s castle, but no one enters the castle and just hangs around in the garden for an hour. It’s all because it was just fun to have an operation. When we play video games, originally the purpose is to get some score, and the results in the competition. In case of Nintendo’s games, they design the games to made process as the purpose of playing games. Moving your body makes you feel good, and that’s kind of the same feeling you get when you taking a bath. I consider that Wii controls made those feelings materialized by extend of technology.S: We can say the same thing in cars. Originally, we just felt good to drive cars, so we get into them without particular reasons. However, car industries started to decide emphasized interior comfort and usability to sell more cars. Such strategies brought consumers to stop demanding the pleasures in handling (driving) cars, and let them start leaving away from cars.I: Even so, “what feels good” is hard to put into words and difficult to explain theoretically. We are just able to say, ”Just use it, and you’ll know it.” However, explanation in theory places greater importance in today’s business, and under such circumstances, we can’t create the products like Wii.
 Up till now, technology means physical technology based on natural science. Natural science is to take an objective view to anything and generalize them. However, the subject of technology has changed to digital, which means all technologies are based on humanity itself. In natural science, the solution finally settled to nature For example, in case of manufacturing the steam locomotive, people generalize natural phenomenon and take it down into the piston action. In respect of the engine, we can judge it objectively based on speed. In case of technology targeting digital domain, they are clearly separated from the nature, in a word, they can’t be judged objectively because the subject is humanity, and they finally settled to humanity. Which means a center element for assessment becomes subjective and based on real feelings. These kinds of changes are actually happening.S: Evaluation criteria for Hollywood movies are subjective, whether it makes you feel good or not.I: Among the content business including movie and music, people evaluate them subjectively all along. As you said, judging the products based on one’s feelings and one’s taste. Thank to digital appearance, technology become separate from natural science. From now on, technology also be evaluated subjectively, which means users judge the technology whether they are interesting, enjoyable. And Nintendo was head of others that they are already practicing.S: Huge hit of iPhone is the same thing. In iPhone, we can directly touch the content, such as extending pictures by fingers. A child of Ogata Hisato, the design enginner, is just a year and half and is perfect for using iPhone. They are instinctively fun and easy. Before the release, some people said that it won’t sell well, because no one knows how it feels like “touching informational contents directly”.I: I agree. In the latest Nintendo video game called “New Super Mario Brothers Wii”, users are able to play the game with other users that are in different levels. They created a new excitement of game by providing different team game system from those of conventional video games. This is a solution. They solve the issue which stays in the conventional games that users in different levels can’t play together. Nintendo is capable to offer these kinds of solutions because their management is well organized. Strong management system is the most essential point.S: In Nintendo, Mr.Yamauch withdraw from the president in 2002 and name Mr.Iwata as next chairman.I: After that, the management is organized by 3 people; Mr. Iwata, the programmer and be specialized in software, Mr.Takeda, the hardware engineer, and Mr.Miyamoto, the creator. They all capable in making products and understand what feels good and exciting is above the explanation. They can make and consider things at the same time. I’ve heard that when they are developing Wii system, they have tested like 30-40 controllers, and create games that go well with those controllers over and over. As a consequence, the Wii remote controllers and Wii sports were commercialized.S: Mr.Yamanaka had the same experience when he was creating Suica. He couldn’t derive solution of the best angle for touching card by logic, so that he experiment several angle by himself. Then he decided to fix it with 13 degree.I: For Nintendo, it was the milestone that 3 blue-collar workers, who can make things and think things at the same time, became the top of the company.
 What is great about Mr.Yamauchi is that he has chosen a programmer as successor, even thought the traditionally trained MBA people were famous in that time. MBA people prefer logical explanation and tend to refuse matters that go above the theory, which means they can’t fully understand the domain of creation.S: It would be very interesting if Nintendo produced a mobile phone. I want to see what kind of product they would offer, although I know they won’t do such business. Mr.Inoko and I have announced the prototype of mobile phone which changes its interface by the act of using.I: Interface of the mobile is design as a town, that when you often talk about works, the town becomes an office town. When you talk a lot with your friends, the town becomes like a tropical resort area. When you get some lovely texts from your girlfriend, the whole town is filled with lovely heart, and if you missed incoming call too much, terrorists are start to destroy the town. I decided to produce such prototype because I wanted to demonstrate that the shape of mobile phone is not a big deal anymore. Now we are live in time that people choose their mobiles by its interface.S: The issue of Nintendo, if we are allowed mentioning it, is the using the potential of the internet.I: I think so too. They are not doing the best job with internet. Also, their current competitive is iPhone, not Play Station or Xbox. The age of hardware ends and the software age had begun, and this can be said to all other Japanese manufacturing industry. There are less Japanese workers who understand the change. Most of people still believe that manufacturing mean making actual products. What determines the winner is the element that is beyond the physical products. System with connecting with internet becomes extra values. It was significant case for the transformation that iPod beats SONY’s walkman.S: Sony has less traffic attraction then.I: From now on, we need to be able making software, designing interface, and architecting the system connected with internet. An American urban studies theorist, Richard Florida suggests the similar opinion in his book, The Flight of the Creative Class. The New Global Competition for Talent (HarperBusiness,2005). I expect that Japanese manufacturing company will suffer if they miss to bring thoughtful creators up to the top of their company.
teamLab’s design for a cell phone, presented for the 2007au design project. The interface is a town with streets that change depending on the usage of the device.