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The history of IBM 1620-I in KKE

At KKE Vision 2017, one of our senior executive officers gave a presentation about the early days of KKE, in which he spoke on the structural design work of Japanese castles and the background of introducing the latest model computer at that time, the IBM 1620-I. I found it extremely interesting since I was four years old when KKE introduced the IBM 1620-I, and the only memory I have is playing with the used punched tape that my father brought home. It was the founding members’ dream to break through structural calculation work by hand and increase more time for being creative, by improving calculation processing speed and utilizing information technology.

Fifty years have passed since then, and IT has become a tool not just for experts, but for everyone. Fewer people are interested in processing speed today, and their interests are now on the service that they receive and its convenience. We are, however, spending too much time interacting through IT for entertainment, when what we truly need is to invest more time on using it for creativity.

Recapping the economic history from macro-perspective, the influence of IT on society is never great in the index of productivity. As Moore’s law of semiconductors shows, the assessment of technology progress might not be measureable by economic indicators.

Then why don’t we make the assessment based on the user’s perspective and not from a monetary perspective? For instance, the technology advancement from rotary dial to individual mobile phones, the certainty of information retrieval, and simply exchanging information by SNS, etc., have changed people's everyday lives.

The factor that contributes to the degree of user satisfaction is more the benefits that users experience from using IT. Maybe now is the time to reconsider the influence of IT more seriously based on the customer satisfaction principle put forth by Herbert Simon, a Nobel prize winner of economics, and push the boundaries past the existing economics framework.

Congratulations to our team (Structural Design Department)

KKE participated in the Amanemu project by providing structural design. Amanemu, a Japanese resort villa, has won both the 2017 Commercial Category (Overseas Project) Award & the most prestigious 2017 Building of The Year Award in the 2017 Singapore Institute of Architects Design Awards.

Introduction of KKE's new academic collaboration

On July 20, 2017, KKE concluded an agreement with the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) to establish a consortium, along with three other organizations, as a founding member. This consortium cooperates with the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab (Lab) to promote innovation by fusing design, engineering, and human resource development through its activities. (The Lab was jointly established by IIS and the Royal College of Art (RCA) of England.)

On September 20, 2017, a "KKE Treasure Hunting" event was held at KKE’s central office with the participation of Lab members: designers and scientists from RCA, and professors and assistant professors from IIS. KKE was the first company to hold such an event among the four founding firms, as a trial to explore future possibilities. The Lab members look for "gems" (advance technologies) in KKE and polish the gems with an eye to the future. Many KKE members participated and gladly shared their knowledge and projects from different fields, while the Lab members enthusiastically explored our technologies.

Many creative concepts were produced, such as implanting nano NavVis, a 3D indoor mapping device, inside the human body to monitor healthcare or including human emotions as a factor in optimizing labor, and so on.

At the end of the day, the participants had grown closer, freely talking to each other about interests and upcoming possibilities at the wrap-up party, joined by our president. It is amusing to see people using Japanese and English words at the same time, but this is one of the trademarks of how diverse this event is. We hope everyone enjoyed Treasure Hunting, which sharpened their creative thinking. As the next step, we are looking forward to becoming involved in research or development of the consortium by providing support with our expertise.

Silicon Valley - New Japan Summit (Nov. 28-29, 2017 @ Stanford University)

The Silicon Valley - New Japan Summit 2017, which was an invitation only summit, was held on November 28-29, 2017, at Stanford University to connect Silicon Valley startups and Japanese companies. The summit featured lectures and panel discussions as well as a Biz-Dev booth session where Silicon Valley startups and Japanese companies were able to talk business directly.

This year, three members (KKE's staff member seconded as a researcher at Stanford university and two young members from Japan) participated in this event.

The Silicon Valley - New Japan Project (SVNJ) mainly organized this event as an approach to achieve their objective of creating a sustained platform for interactions between Silicon Valley and Japan. Since September 2015, KKE has sponsored SVNJ to expand our overseas business and implement our company philosophy, “An outstanding engineering company that bridges academia and industrial worlds”. In addition, one of our staff members from KKE has been seconded to SVNJ for two years.

The seminar featured introductions of examples of partnerships between Silicon Valley startups and Japanese companies, and of Japanese companies making use of Silicon Valley. In the Biz-Dev booth sessions, KKE talked business with seven Silicon Valley startup companies from a wide range of business fields, such as IoT, big data, machine learning, logistics and manufacturing.

The overall event enabled us to truly realize that the variety of our business fields have the potential of facilitating collaborations with many different Silicon Valley startups. At the same time, we realized the need to improve how we incorporate Silicon Valley innovation into our businesses.

I participated in the Silicon Valley - New Japan Summit as a young member from Japan, and again realized that KKE has a wide variety of business fields, including some new ones. I also joined a tour of Stanford University and interacted with MBA students who are seeking to start their own businesses. These experiences at the forefront of Silicon Valley greatly inspired and motivated me to foster open innovation in KKE.

To realize our Thought (motto), “Innovating for a Wise Future”, KKE will continue to seek new businesses and technologies, and to network in Silicon Valley.

Arata Tanaka
Business Development Department

Events and News

Featured Event

KKE Vision 2017
"KKE Vision", our annual symposium for exploring emerging technologies and innovations, took place on Oct. 24 at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, with over 1000 guests in attendance.

The keynote speech was given by Soichiro Tahara, a distinguished journalist, and Rie Uozumi, an experienced announcer. They shared with the audience the history of developing digital computers in the US and in Japan, featuring not only the leaders/pioneers of the era, but also the social situations, including politics. The entire crowd was captivated by the fast yet highly substantive discussion by the speakers.

In other rooms, our solutions were introduced using interactive exhibits.
To name a few…

Jishin The Vuton, a portable earthquake simulator, was coupled with our simulation technology, enabling the tester to physically experience the shock of an earthquake while watching virtual furniture moving around a virtual room through a head-mounted display.

RemoteLock Quiz! Guests are thrown four questions about our exhibits to collect four specific numbers, which allow guests to open up the smart Wi-Fi lock, RemoteLock.

Our novelty this year was a package of rice, printed with the Kumamoto castle. The foundation structure depicts the foresight of the engineers who devoted themselves in designing it to withstand earthquakes, and also to cheer and support victims of the Kumamoto earthquake.

Eiko Kawamura
Corporate Communications Section

Upcoming Events


Report from Tokyo #4: Kumade, lucky charms

A festive atmosphere is here! The year-end is drawing near and during this month, Tokyo is sparkling with magnificent illuminations for Christmas and the New Year. People are busy with preparations for parties, planning for the holiday and making preparations for New Year’s traditional customs.

Speaking of New Year’s preparations, one Japanese New Year tradition is to buy a lucky charm called a Kumade. I saw a large Kumade in one of the departments, but didn’t know what it was. Kumade are placed not only in companies, but also in homes. Another KKE staff member and I went to the “Tori-no-ichi” festival (Rooster festival) at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku on November 17, to buy Kumade for the Business Development Department.

Close up of one Kumade

The Kumade we bought
It is written Kozo Keikaku Engineering

The festival was held over three days, and Kumade were sold there. There were about 40 Kumade shops on one side and the other side had food stalls. Kumade basically look like bamboo rakes, and mean to “rake in wealth and good fortune”. They are decorated with many auspicious ornaments. The price can range from 1,000 yen to 50,000 yen or more, depending on the size and the ornaments. Unlike other charms, it has a special rule: You must buy a larger one each year. The old one can be brought to the shrine to be burned.

After visiting several Kumade shops, I began to grasp the meaning behind the ornaments on the Kumade. A turtle symbolizes longevity, a mallet is for granting wishes, an otafuku (a smiling white face) and red snapper are for good fortune, and so on. I finally understood that Kumade are not only for companies, but also for other purposes. We decided to buy one tied with many kago (replicas of Japanese gold coins), which of course stand for money and prosperity.

After all the fun and observations, we went back to KKE office on the metro, carrying the newly purchased Kumade. It was not a great idea to bring a Kumade on board, especially on a Friday night in Tokyo, as it was really crowded. There are many traditional festivals in Japan but most of them happen only once a year, so I recommend that you note down the “Tori-no-ichi” festival if you are happen to be in Tokyo or the Kanto region around November.

Rows of shops

Tori-no-ichi festival

Thee Thet Zun
Corporate Communications Section

Editor's Note

Most Japanese business people are too busy to attend or hold “Bonenkai” in December. Bonenkai literally means “forget-the-past-year party” and such parties are held among groups of co-workers, customers, partners or friends. The word implies forgetting the woes and troubles of the past year and committing to making a fresh start in the New Year by drinking a lot of alcohol. One article mentioned that the budget of Japanese companies for the expenses of entertaining customers or partners is equal to the budget of US companies' legal fees.

Usually, higher ranked business people must attend more Bonenkai. I myself have purchased hangover medicine to brace myself for this season.

Seiji Sawatari
Senior Executive Officer

About KKE

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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