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  5. The Small-Scale Factories of Japan


  • High technology in Japan has its roots in small factories. This story is told based on direct interviews with 12 business people.
  • The book includes many photographs so that readers can clearly understand the amazing technology involved.
  • In a climate where the publication of electronic books is becoming popular worldwide, this book has the potential to be widely read.


An injection needle that does not hurt, the polishing technology for the iPod, the gigantic tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, special soil to turn rooftops into vegetable gardens... These, and other, innovative, original new technologies originated from small-scale factories in Japan's towns. Industrial products such as these, with their wonderful technological capabilities and the ideas behind them, have amazed the world. Despite cost barriers, tough delivery schedules, and fierce competition with large corporations and overseas factories, there are still engineers out there who wish to make good products and have proudly been making this a reality. This book introduces, with photographs, the impressive stories of 12 factories and their technologies.

(factories and technologies featured) 

  1. Okano Industrial Corporation's "painless" injection needle that is 0.2 millimeters thin. It feels as if you are being bitten by a mosquito.
  2. Kobayashi Kengyo's mirror-like finish for the iPod. A company comprised of just five polishing professionals.
  3. Hard Luck Industry's "self-locking nut." Able to endure rough environments, such as railroads and bridges.
  4. Mitaka Kohki's precision optical products, from machines to observe outer space to medical equipment for brain surgery.
  5. Micron's no-noise scaler, the high performance of which is recognized by dentists all over the world.
  6. Kikuchi Hojudo's new cast-iron creations using the traditional technique "Wazuqu." Preserving a 400-year old tradition in creating the new.
  7. Molten's competition sports balls. An established brand worldwide despite the competitive battle for market shares.
  8. Nippura's large-scale acrylic panels for aquariums create magical tanks to impress viewers. 
  9. Abi's freezing technology to preserve the flavor of food. Frozen food has become tastier.
  10. Masaki Envec's special soil for roof gardens. Growing green on rooftops.
  11. Strawberry Corporation's hinge for mobile phones. Supporting the evolution of the mobile phone.
  12. tmsuk's robots for practical application. Making robots to help people.

About the Author

Yasuo Negishi

After working as a reporter for a weekly magazine, Negishi became engaged in writing people-focused non-fiction and interviews and has, to date, written about over 3,000 people.

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