Japanese electronics firms look to re-engineer their design mojo

By Makiko Yamazaki

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Kinda stupid to me, but very Japanese.

Why don’t you just say to the ladies or make some friends, or better yet, learn to be comfortable without hiding?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Yeah.... kinda agree. Further reducing your interaction with society even MORE?! It already feels like I am alone and on a zombie train.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Kinda stupid to me, but very Japanese.

Remember, it was the Sony Walkman that helped usher in the I'm-plugged-out-of-your-world era.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They had these decades ago,,,for horses.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Here is on full display the problem with a once innovative in technology industry in full demise. Innovation in DESIGN is not equal to innovation in TECHNOLOGY.

Here is the second problem: The Japanese government is promoting the efforts. Bilking tax money for useless blinders and robo doggies is going to go nowhere after the unveilings. These serve no purpose. And they are not meant to. It is a tax free ride for all in Japan Inc. Gotta get those budgets to zero no matter the money toilet the yen get flushed down.

A final problem. I was in Mexico last week on a business expo for tool and die companies. Everywhere I went in Monterrey there was FREE wifi. Even in the mountains on a tour there was wifi. How many dead spots are in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Yokohama? That's right too many. And forget free outside of the cafe chains where you have sign up for THEIR service which moves at a pace so slow it is useless due to the limited gig allocation of their 2008 era Softbank series 1 router.

The mobile carriers here monopolize the internet service AND mobile phones. In Japan we pay 3 to 6 times for crappy service the rest of Asia does. Think again about this MEXICO has better service, coverage, and allows use of devices from ANY country. In Japan ONLY Japanese devices. I can use my Iphone from Japan in any country BUT devices from outside Japan can't be used here. The reason, and this is what all carriers told me, "The Japanese market is not competitive enough so we have to be restrictive." Yeah, that is REAL 21st CENTURY THINKING - NOT.

Either Japan gets innovative in technology or China, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan will keep kicking Japan to the curb.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Just watched one of South Park's latest episode last night, Season 22 Episode 8: Buddha Box, where Cartman wears a box on his head so no-one can bother him while he's glued to his phone. Now reading this article and OMG! Turns out they were not just kidding.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

South Park's latest episode last night, Season 22 ...

Season 22.

Man, I feel old.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How is it attached to his head?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Panasonic and Sony have lost their creativity. It's gone and it's not coming back. The Japanese economy is still suffering from what they did to get to the top. While the USA was suffering through Carter administration the Japanese were lending money and buying everything they could "reverse engineer". They cant do that any more and they will be destroyed not by a lack creativity, but by being unable to make decisions. Apple nuked Japanese tech companies.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It also called for... new laws to better protect intellectual property. The government is set to revise such laws next year.

Ironic, after years of copying themselves. But already S. Korea has copied most of the J-tech, and in turn China has copied from SK. Too late I fear.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan is trapped in the kawaii whirlpool. They keep getting sucked deeper and deeper into the meaningless and pointless aspects of kawaii.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

'Wear Space' is just plastic covering your head and headphones, no screen, no cpu nothing just plastic and headphones, no pc nor VR

Ikea looking plastic utensil to be antisocial basically

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think it is a brilliant design! You won't be able to see or hear the people laughing at you while wearing it!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Classic Japanese head-in-the-sand approach to 'serenity'...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wouldn't it make more sense to make something that connects to your laptop. A little parasol or folding fan that prevents people from reading what you type? The thing on his head was designed by someone who wants to be looked at while pretending to be unaware of the attention he is getting.

These "designers" should watch the Flintstones cartoon for ideas. Wouldn't you rather have a toilet that asks you about your day or tells you that your favorite team will lose to irritate you and engage you in meaningful conversation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do we need the Japanese government to tell multinational corporations what to do? Who’s on the front Line? Who’s learning from their mistakes? Why isn’t there an example of individual thinking to lead the way? As long as the government continues to butt in Japanese business will not use their ingenuity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile, although not so cute, Japanese companies slog on providing production machinery and engineering systems around the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I doubt I'll ever see the day when Japanese companies update their Showa-era designs and silly animal faces on products meant for grown women.

After years of losing ground to design-first rivals such as Apple and Dyson, Japanese companies are now trying to recover the processes and creative flair that produced iconic products such as the Walkman.

I'm not an Apple user, but I've had several vacuum cleaners including a Hitachi one recently, and I can tell you its not just the design they are losing out to. The Dyson I replaced it with blows it out of the water in performance. But design should also be important as many Japanese houses don't have a spot to hide the vacuum cleaner when not in use (although many houses have problems beyond a vacuum cleaner).

"Designers at home electronics companies have little say compared to engineers," he said. "When engineers dismiss design proposals as too costly or difficult from an engineering point of view, designers easily succumb."

This sounds so familiar. I had similar experiences in software design when translating UX proposals from an American customer to our Japanese engineering team. The Japanese side would just say "no, that can't be done" to everything even when a simple tweak or change in mindset would make it work. It was very annoying to be in the middle of that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm reading all your comments here but i still don't get why you seem so happy that Japan is losing Leading???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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