“Most solemn is the judgement of the force of nature.”
When welcoming new colleagues aboard on the first day of April every year, we also commend those who have worked for some twenty years or thirty years with a commendation certificate, travel voucher, and/or special paid leave. I, myself, was unexpectedly commended for my thirty years’ anniversary with a nicely-prepared certificate this year. Celebrating this special anniversary with my colleagues, I reminisced about the days I started working at KKE, and I was struggling to win my very first customer.
It was just eleven years after WWII, when KKE was formed as a small, structural design firm in 1956. At that time, the founder (also my father), the late Makoto Hattori, was lucky enough to obtain service contracts for the reconstruction of old Japanese castles. (As the Japanese economy picked up after the war, the whole nation was keen on reconstructing old Japanese castles, as if people wanted to regain their pride in that way.) KKE performed the structural design work for many of the keep towers in major castles across Japan. Since most of the stone walls of these castles had been designated a cultural heritage, it was strictly prohibited to damage, or even move, any piece of the stone walls, which made reconstructing the structural design of keep towers extremely challenging.
One of those castles was Kumamoto Castle, which was seriously damaged by the earthquake last year. Although the stone walls crumbled, the keep tower withstood two consecutive mega-earthquakes and aftershocks. “Most solemn is the judgement of the force of nature”, Hattori said as he wrote in the structural specifications of Kumamoto Castle. He and his team members took special consideration and applied a 25% increase in seismic force to be on the safe side. They also went down to the bottom of the foundation borings to check their condition, and disagreed with the pre-surveyed result, telling the site workers to dig deeper and deeper until they agreed on the condition of the bearing ground.
I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if they hadn’t increased the seismic force at all. And what if the borings were as shallow as the pre-surveyed depth suggested? Though the answer will be never known, it is clear that we owe a lot to our founder and the team’s dedication, with myself and all of my colleagues inheriting the above philosophy, engraving it in our hearts.
KKE publicity, describing:
“The supporting piles stretch down some 47m.
Designed based on the assumption of a 25% increase in seismic force.
Through the structural design of Kumamoto Castle’s reconstruction in 1960,
the founder, Dr. Makoto Hattori, made clear his philosophy.
‘When conducting business,
don’t be bound by common practice,
but pursue the social importance’.
This philosophy penetrates every single KKE member, and their work throughout generations.
For the valiant future.”
Actions for Kumamoto Recovery
In April 2016, Kumamoto Prefecture (in the southern part of Japan) was struck by series of tremendous quakes, afterwards collectively labeled the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. The magnitude of the main quake was M7.3, which is equivalent to the main quake of the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Even though more than a year has passed since the earthquakes occurred, there are still many buildings and facilities that need to be repaired or demolished. KKE is doing its best to help the affected area by all means. Recorded below are just a few of those ways.
- Damage Investigation
Right after the quake, a team of our engineers flew to Kumamoto and made sure that all of the buildings we had structurally designed were sound.
- Kumamoto Castle
Originally built around the early 17th century, this historic Japanese castle has been an iconic landmark and a spiritual support for the locals. Having burned down during the civil war in 1877, it was reconstructed in 1960 and affected by the Kumamoto earthquakes in 2016.
-The Keep Tower
Having performed the structural design of the keep tower in the 1960’s, KKE undertook a thorough damage investigation of the castle and reported a recommended retrofit plan to the municipality of Kumamoto city. Various kinds of simulation approaches, such as a vibration analysis, specific seismic-wave value calculations, assessment of supporting piles, etc., were carried out in order to assess the structural health of the castle.
- Stone Walls
The stone walls of Kumamoto Castle had crumbled in many locations. In order to understand the strength of the walls, which depended on the way they were piled up, KKE conducted an FEM analysis and obtained static, non-linear deformation results.
- Digital Indoor Mapping
Using “NavVis,” a 3D indoor-navigation mapping system, KKE captured the damaged keep tower inside, as well as the stone walls, and was able to make a digital indoor map. Members involved in the reconstruction project can access the indoor map at any time, check the conditions, measure the size of columns, etc.
Although two bridges had collapsed due to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, most of the bridges in the affected area could still be used, thanks to countermeasures taken after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Today, KKE has sensors installed on the slightly damaged, still in use bridges in Kumamoto cities, and is currently collecting data. By comparing the data of healthy bridges to that of damaged ones, we expect to identify specific properties that differentiate between healthy bridges and unhealthy (aged/damaged) bridges, allowing us the ability to detect bridges that need to be repaired in the future.
Financial Results Issued for the First Half of FY2016
With our 2016 fiscal year getting close to its end (June 30, 2017), here is our report for the first half-year (February 21, 2017).
One of the new topics introduced is our wind power generation business. We have been collaborating with the industry, academia, and the Japanese government to solve issues regarding power generation.
KKE has been providing solutions, such as structural designs for windmill and consulting services, for over ten years and today, we account for nearly 45% of the domestic share. Details are on Page 34 and 38 in the PDF below.
Financial Results for the First Half of FY2016
The Future with Smart Lock
Hi, I’m Takayuki Seto from Sumai IoT department. Since last September, I‘ve been going back and forth between KKE and LockState, an American company located in Denver, Colorado. For the last nine months, I have been spending half of my time here in Colorado.
Please allow me to introduce LockState, its business, and what KKE is trying to do in Japan with its products.
Mr. Nolan Mondrow, who is the current CEO of the company, founded LockState in 2004. The relationship between KKE and Mr. Mondrow has lasted for about 20 years now, and the two companies are still very close today.
LockState originally provided door keys and safes. Since 2013 however, it has shifted to offer smart locks controlled through Wi-Fi (called “RemoteLock”) and a cloud-based management system (called “LockStateConnect”).
Founder & CEO of LockState Mr. Nolan Mondrow
Office members in Colorado, Denver
Its main consumer target ranges from vacation rental owners to apartment management companies, and even small office owners. The vacation rental owners are the biggest targets. They have a common problem in that it takes time and labor to hand over a key to guests or house cleaners. LockState solves this problem by allowing the owner to give access to anyone from anywhere. As a result of having many vacation rental owners as customers, LockState became an official Airbnb Host Assist partner. As you may know, Airbnb is one of biggest companies not only in the vacation rental industry, but also in the sharing economy field. The Remotelock is integrated with the Airbnb booking system, so when a guest makes a booking, the data is sent to LockState. Then, an access code is automatically generated and sent to the guest, all without the owners having to do anything.
Today, there are only about 30 employees in LockState, but with business growing rapidly, about every month a new colleague is hired.
In Japan, KKE launched its RemoteLock business this January. Though the current Japanese market on smart home and vacation rental is immature compared to the U.S., I believe it will grow rapidly by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. Along with that, it is my hope to contribute to both companies, KKE and LockState, by making a better, safer, and easier life for people through smart locks.
Finally, if you have the opportunity to visit Denver, please let me know. Colorado is very beautiful, and there are many places to enjoy outdoors!
Sumai IoT Department
Events and News
The 50th ADB Annual Meeting, Yokohama 2017
From May 4 to 7, 2017, ADB's 50th annual gathering was held in the city of Yokohama. Invited by the JBP (Japan Bosai Platform) to the meeting as an exhibitor, KKE cooperated with the HAKUSAN Corporation (Hakusan), showcasing “Jishin The Vuton” (a portable earthquake simulator developed by the Hakusan) and HTCVive (a VR device) during the conference.
The system received a lot of attention during the four days, and we had a total of 259 people experience a realistic earthquake simulation. Visitors from earthquake-prone countries, like the Philippines, Nepal, and Taiwan, said the system was very real because it re-enacted the earthquakes that they had experienced in their countries, dredging up memories from those times. Furthermore, visitors from countries that are less earthquake-prone, such as India and Bangladesh, also showed interest in the system. NDTV, a television broadcaster from India, interviewed KKE’s booth.
KKE and Hakusan developed this system to create an opportunity for the people who went through the simulator, allowing them to experience and comprehend the difference of behaviors between structures with seismic reinforcements and seismic isolators during an earthquake. They can then think more about preparations: what might be necessary to do before, during, and after an earthquake.
From the reactions to this exhibition, we felt that there is a potential demand in the future Asian market, not only for the seismic system but also for KKE’s other disaster risk reduction solutions such as for tsunamis, floods, fires, and liquefactions.
Engineering Consulting Dept. –Ⅱ
Academic Papers Issued
- A Note on Truss Topology Optimization under Self-Weight Load: Mixed-Integer Second-Order Cone Programming Approach
- Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
- Development of a Distributed Hybrid Experimental System Coupling 1G-40G Fields for Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction
- 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering
- A Study on Response Control Efficacy by Using a Rotary Inertia Mass Damper Filled with Magneto-Rheological Fluid
- 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering
- Demo: Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over NDN Using Explicit Congestion Feedback
- IEEE LANMAN 2017 Demo Session
Report from Tokyo #3: The Good Old Tokyo Area, Asakusa
When naming a few places for sightseeing in Tokyo, Asakusa is definitely one that comes up. The ancient Buddhist temple Sensoji is by far the most famous. Kaminarimon gate, which leads you to the temple, and Nakamisedori street, with its small gift and food shops on the way to Sensoji, are well known, too. If you go a little west, you’ll find Kappabashi street, where dozens of stores are lined up, selling everything necessary for restaurant operators. In addition, you literally cannot miss Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower as it stands out among the other buildings.
I recently learned that a former KKE member runs a shop on Nakamisedori street, called Masamoto Shouten. The store has been there for more than fifty years, watching the people in Asakusa along with the rise and fall of the area. The current shop-owner, and the former KKE member, kindly shared the history of the area with me. More than fifty years ago, Asakusa used to be a place for entertainment, having plays and theaters for locals more than the tourism it is known for today. Rokku, meaning the sixth ward, was especially active as an entertainment district until the 1950’s. As other areas such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro grew more popular, the liveliness of Asakusa petered out. It was only a decade ago that the place was rediscovered as a tourism spot by people from other countries who appreciated the historical sights and festivals.
As we talked about the 2020 Olympics ahead of us, he told me that he is excited to have more people visit Asakusa and enjoy the good old Japanese atmosphere. I’m sure he would welcome you with you a big smile, and greetings in either English or Chinese, if you met him.
The subway trains in Tokyo can be quite complex, but for Asakusa, there is a train from Haneda International Airport and Narita Airport that takes you directly to Asakusa station, without having to transfer. It’s a good place to have a peek at the old Tokyo, even if you are only in Tokyo for a short time.
Masamoto Shouten - Gift and souvenir shop
1-37-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo Japan
Hours: 7 days a week
Corporate Communications Section
The numbers of foreign colleagues in KKE is increasing year after year, and has now reached 6% of our company. As most of KKE’s customers are in Japan however, the official language is Japanese.
To support communication between all KKE members, including foreign colleagues, we hold a casual get-together twice a year named “KKE English Night”. The only rule for this event is to communicate in English. It’s a chance to get closer to members in different departments and become more comfortable speaking in English.
We held our KKE English Night last May, and participants seemed to enjoy talking, regardless of their English level.
As a matter of fact, I myself am a beginner who started practicing English four months ago. I was worried that the free conversation would be difficult for some beginners (like myself), so I prepared a few small games that might help. Fortunately, the participants started enjoying their conversation on the day of the event, before I needed to bring out my icebreakers.
I deeply feel that the best and simplest way to get closer to someone is by talking face to face, without hesitating to make mistakes.
Corporate Communications Section
Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. (Head Office: Nakano-ku, Tokyo, President: Shota Hattori, “KKE” for short) is a professional design & engineering firm established in 1959. Starting its business as a structural firm, KKE has developed the line of business in structural design and analysis, engineering consulting and system development for construction, tele-com, and manufacturing industries. The business pillars also include simulation and analysis of human decision making, quantitative measurement of human/commodity flow, and disaster readiness services including quake-resistant engineering, risk assessment, analyses on facility damage and business continuity, etc. Details: www.kke.co.jp/en/
Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.
Corporate Communications Section
TEL:+81-(0)3-5342-1040 / FAX:+81-(0)3-5342-1042
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