12 Teams Proclaim Their Visions For Opening Roads to Overseas Sales Expansion - "MORE THAN Project Matching Festival - PROJECT COMPASS" Report
"MORE THAN Project" is a subsidized project held by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for the purpose of supporting the spread of uniquely Japanese products to the world. This year, among several hundred applicants, 12 teams were selected to present their products and vision for overseas expansion at the "MORE THAN Project Matching Festival - PROJECT COMPASS" on June 30, 2016, at the Shibuya Hikarie 8/COURT. It was a place where we could survey the future of these high-quality products and share our opinions on the market.
Acquiring an Outlet for Japanese Products in the World Market
The event began with an opening talk from Loftwork Inc.'s Chiaki Hayashi. She spoke on the significance of this event. "This is the third year for the MORE THAN Project. This year's lineup showed not only productivity but passion, technique, and emotion in each creation. Even in a country with an economy as developed as ours, these creators spent quite a bit of time on their creations. With the know-how to properly convey the worth of their products which all of these creators share, I think it would be great if they could go on to show the value of culture to the world as well."
The deputy director of METI's Creative Industry Division, Shigeru Furuichi, had this to say about the projects. "This is a great opportunity for small and medium businesses to get together with producers to create better products and aim for a greater market acquisition for TPP members. All 12 of the projects selected this year are excellent and I would like for each to exhibit their strong points in aiming to achieve their business goals."
Project Team Session (1)
The explanation of each product and plans for overseas market acquisition were presented by each of the twelve teams in an open session style. We began with six teams for the first half of the event.
01 "360°BOOK Cityscape"
An art book created with the precise incisions of a laser cutter. This book has been created in such a way that a three-dimensional diorama appears when it is opened. "We wish to create a 360° book series with cities from around the world as motif and, in so doing, create topics for discussion and thus market expansion." (Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc. - Taishi Sonoda)
02 "NEW "SAKE" TO THE WORLD from Yosano, Kyoto"
We're in the process of creating a new Japanese sake with the umami of sake and the acidity of wine. With rice and water from Yosano, Kyoto as base ingredients, we add wine yeast and create the sake with traditional brewing methods. "We would like to make "sake" the next big thing from Japan along with Fujiyama, samurai, sushi and geisha." (Project Manager - Ryota Sako)
03 "TSUMIKI Project"
Using Japanese cedar from the "Machu Picchu of Kyushu," Morotsukamura, Miyazaki, this project creates high quality "building blocks" from uncoated, natural wood. "Because these are high-quality products made by local artisans, we also have the aim of making them available for use as childrens' toys." (Project Manager - Ken Ninagawa)
During the lightning talks, city partner and sponsor of our assembly hall, Kose Kaba from Tokyu Railways, took the stage. He spoke of future prospects. "I want to make Shibuya a place where new beginnings are always taking place. In 10 years, when Shibuya's redevelopment is complete, I hope that all of your products are out and well known in the world and that we can all meet here again."
Project Team Session (2)
After a short break, the final six teams began their presentations.
07 “Cul de Sac-JAPON AOMORI HIBA PROJECT”
Sprays and essential oils made mainly from the mill ends and scrap wood of 200-year-old Aomori Hiba trees. These products have antibacterial, deodorizing and odor-resistant properties as well as a pleasant fragrance. “We’re aiming for an organic product where our customers can feel closer to nature.” (Cul de Sac LLC. - Mineko Muraguchi)
08 “Cha no ma”
Cha no ma, a tea space that anyone can easily create. The Japanese style space can be assembled in just 30 minutes and includes related utensils such as a ryurei shelf, tea utensils, flower vases and letter box. “We worked with a business established in the 1600s.” (Project Manager - Junzo Yamashita)
09 “MARUNAO, to the world”
Tableware made from the rare but solid lumbers ebony, rosewood and the like. We aim to become established as a superbrand who focuses on wooden products made with a high degree of skill. “75% of the work on these products is done by hand. We hope that this subtlety can be appreciated in overseas markets as well.” (Project Manager - Yoshihito Katata)