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kansei initiative -from Material Fulfillment to Emotional Fulfillment Kansei Japan Design Exhibition

Kansei Value Creation Museum in KOBE


"Kansei Value Reshapes Japan as a New Monodzukuri Country"

a photo of the Kobe City MuseumThe "Kansei Value Creation Museum in Kobe" is an event that is being held after two years after the establishment of the Kansei Value Creation Initiative, which was formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in FY 2007 as new guidelines for manufacturing (monodzukuri in Japanese).

Taking place in Kobe, it showcases about 60 items selected from about 700 municipalities in western Japan from the viewpoint of "kansei value", and explores what attracts people beyond functionality and price and how that attractiveness has been built. This event has allowed us to study actual cases to clarify the mechanism that connects manufacturers, who produce and offer products with specific messages, and users, who receive and resonate with those messages, through shared values beyond functionality and price. These interactive values comprise the "kansei value" that Japanese manufacturers have long been waiting for. (Chiaki Murata, Executive Committee Chair)

Title: Kansei Value Creation Museum in Kobe
Date: September 5th-13th, 2009
Venue: Former Foreign Settlement of Kobe (Kobe City Museum etc.)
Organized by: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation Japan (SMRJ), Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City

Exhibited Products

Onitsuka Tiger NIPPON MADE"MEXICO 66 DELUXE", Kobe, Hyogo

a photo of the MEXICO 66 DELUXE
These sneakers are hand-washed by Japanese craftsmen one by one to achieve a unique broken-in texture. After tannin-tanned cowhide is made into shoes, they are hand-washed in hot water at the optimal temperature determined from the long experience of craftsmen, in order to add creases and a used look that cannot be created with machines. Every part of the product represents commitment of the brand that is devoted to communicating the quality of the material, attention to detail, sophisticated techniques, and Japanese craftsmanship passed down through generations to the world. This is a kind of sneakers that can be produced only by Asics, which has been delivering high-quality shoes and which is highly are conversant on the structure of the foot.

Designer: Daisuke Kokubun (Asics Corporation)
Asics Corporation

Kokura-ori brand "SHIMA-SHIMA"(Stripe-Stripe), Kitakyushu, Fukuoka

a photo of the SHIMA-SHIMAThe Kokura-ori fabric is a traditional craft in the Kyushu region and has been revived by dyeing and weaving artist Noriko Tsuiki. Hoping to create products for diverse uses in today’s lifestyles, while preserving the techniques and features of Kokura-ori, she succeeded in hand-weaving it first and later in producing broad Kokura-ori fabric by machine, creating the SHIMA-SHIMA brand. The fabric impresses people with a shine generated by tightly woven warp, a wide variety of stripe patterns, and colors unique to Japan, letting them feel the eternal beauty that is said to have been loved by renowned Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. In the textile industry where synthetic fiber has become the mainstream, Kokura-ori is made entirely from cotton. It is attractive as an eco-friendly item as well as a reminder of the profoundness of the Japanese "furoshiki" (wrapping cloth) culture.

Designer: Noriko Tsuiki
Kokura Creation Inc.: Site Link

Medical surgical tape cutter "KIRUKIRU", Sabae, Fukushima

a photo of the KIRUKIRUThis is a medical tape cutter designed to help health care professionals offer clean and efficient treatment. Having been invented, designed and commercialized by a practicing nurse, the product meets the needs of medical facilities. By allowing tape-cutting without any scissors, KIRURU contributes to improved safety for both patients and medical staff, the prevention of hospital-acquired infection, and even cost-savings, as it reduces wasted tape (due to cutting errors or tape being dropped on the floor). Its three-fold consideration-he highly airtight container for consideration of cleanliness and hygiene, the design to allow quick, single-hand cutting for consideration of work efficiency, and the compact structure and soft color for consideration of design aspects-reates a relief from tension in medical practice.

Designer: Akio Yamamoto, Noriko Yamamoto
Medidea Inc.: Site Link (in japanese)

METAPHYS Prol (shelf system), Amagasaki, Hyogo

a photo of the METAPHYS ProlUsers can create a variety of different shelf setups based on their own free ideas. Since the pole fits every hole on the shelf board, users can enjoy the freedom to extend the shelf in any direction, whether horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Providing unlimited patterns of layout that would be impossible with traditional furniture, the prol shelf system is attractive and stimulates the creativity of users. The shelf boards are completely recycled from waste materials (consisting of 70% used paper and 30% polypropylene) that would otherwise have been disposed of. This allows the shelf to be burned as recyclable waste , making it an eco-friendly product. The idea behind this is making furniture from materials that generate CO2 when burned and using it for a long time, in an attempt to stockpile resources.

Designer: Chiaki Murata
Cube Egg Co., Ltd.: Site Link (in japanese)


This event was held at four places as the following at the same time.

Kobe City Museum

Products exhibition lecture
Products exhibition lecture

Kobe Asahi Building

Products exhibition, talk session, presentation by the exhibited products makers, fashion show of Banshu textile, Ceremony for the design of Kobe sweets award

fashion show

Café de Kobe Kyukyoryuchi Jugobankan

Sales of design cakes, demonstration of making cakes and talk show by famous patissiers in Kobe

fashion show

Kobe Pearl Museum

Pearl products exhibition, workshop on pearl accessories, sales of pearl accessories

Event Program

Saturday, September 5

Lecture: Kobe City Museum
13:00-14:00 Theme: Love and Hate: Isn’t It All Right If Not Everyone Accepts Your Idea?
Speaker: Gwenael Nicolas, designer
16:30-17:30 Theme: Correlation between Perception and the Environment:: Toward Modal Design Theory
Speaker: Tatsuya Matsui, robot designer
Talk session: Kobe Asahi Building
14:30-15:30 Theme: Suggestions of Japanese Designs that Make Families Happy
Kansei Value-Based Manufacturing by Local Industries
Coordinator: Kazuya Shimokawa, Chief Editor of Nikkei Design
Guests: Keiichiro Yuri, designer / Niime Tamaki, designer

Sunday, September 6

Talk session: Kobe Asahi Building
15:00-16:30 Theme: Kansei Value Creator: Working as a Designer
Coordinator: Mika Takagi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Guests: Shigeki Hattori, designer / Hisae Igarashi, interior designer

Friday, September 11

Lecture: Kobe City Museum
17:30-18:30 Theme: Emptiness - The Original Form of Japanese Kansei
Speaker: Kenya Hara, graphic designer

Saturday, September 12

Lecture: Kobe City Museum
13:00-14:00 Theme: Kobe, City of Design - Design Capacity as a Source of Future Monodzukuri and Kansei Value
Speaker: Toshiyuki Kita, industrial designer
16:30-17:30 Theme: Kansei Value Reshapes Japan as a New Monodzukuri Country
Speaker: Chiaki Murata, designer

Comments of Visitors

  1. Number of Visitors: 13,983 (including attendees at the opening ceremony)
    Participants in the lectures concerning Kansei Value 584
  2. Questionnaire Results
    Visitors: 2,500 questionnaires (collection rate : 17.9%)
  3. Feedback from Visitors
    • I hope that this kind of exhibition will be held in Kobe more often
    • Excellent! I can understand the high standard of products design by the companies in west Japan from this analysis and exhibition of these Kansei products.
    • I’m surprised to know how seriously the products makers make products, how great their skills are, and how high their technologies are, when I see this exhibition. I’d like to train my sense of Kansei to use Kansei products in daily life.
    • This exhibition was a good opportunity to get to know about Kansei Value.
    • I became more interested in manufacturing by seeing this exhibition with the analysis of Kansei products.
    • Thanks to this exhibition, I re-evaluated the products which are familiar with me in terms of creativity, Kansei Value and passion from designers.

Concept of Kansei Value Elements

What makes kansei value products different from ordinary products?
By analyzing the messages that manufacturers try to send through their products, we identified six elements of kansei value. Two of them have an external influence on people and society (perception kansei value and awareness kansei value), three constitute the essence of products (thought kansei value, creation kansei value, and technology kansei value), and one represents the stories behind products (background kansei value). Combined, these six elements determine the nature of the product. It is believed that by centering on any of these elements, kansei value products appeal to specific users and send messages suited to them. Kansei value products are different from ordinary products in that they communicate messages more perceptibly to users, creating a situation where users can easily notice and resonate with them. (Chiaki Murata, Executive Committee Chair)

Hexagonal graph

The message suggested in a kansei-value product is measured by six axes that respectively represent the six elements of kansei value. By connecting the six points on these axes, a deformation hexagon can be formed. This hexagonal graph is designed to allow for an intuitive understanding of which kansei element(s) the product stresses. From the graph, users can obtain clues to better understand the product, such as that they should examine what is behind the product or that they can anticipate some technical inventions in it. When users try to find the six kansei elements in a product, they may often find it difficult to identify which element the product emphasizes due to the perception of a strong message in more than one element. In such a case, it is essential to receive the message from the product in its entirety rather than try to categorize the product. Using the hexagonal graph to decide which product is superior is also wrong, because the attractiveness of a product cannot be measured by the proportional size or area of the hexagon. (Chiaki Murata, Executive Committee Chair)

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Creative Industries Promotion Office
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) JAPAN
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