The 15th KOKUYO Design Award 2017 with "New Story" Theme

The 15th KOKUYO Design Award 2017 with New Story Theme

The KOKUYO Design Award exhibit at the Bunshi Messe 2017, displaying models of all entries that won the Grand Prix and Merit Awards between 2011 and 2016

The KOKUYO Design Award exhibit at the Bunshi Messe 2017, displaying models of all entries that won the Grand Prix and Merit Awards between 2011 and 2016

The KOKUYO Design Award is a design competition that aims to attract product designs for commercialization from a broad range of general users, bringing forward products that are superior from a user's perspective. The Award marked its 15th year in 2017. Examples of products commercialized based on past entries include the True Measure, winner of a Merit Award in 2014, and the Manga Packing Tape, winner of a Merit Award in 2016, both of which were launched commercially in 2017. The themes of the Design Award in recent years have included not only practicality and beauty in design, but also suggestions on ways of living and lifestyle, such as "Beautiful Living" (2015) and "How to Live" (2016). This year, moving beyond this orientation, we were hoping for fresh entries capable of establishing new genres in working, learning, and living in the age of material overabundance. This is why "New Story" was chosen as the theme. A total of 1,326 entries (880 from Japan and 446 from overseas) were received.

As an advance event, an open discussion was held on July 26, featuring KOKUYO Design Award judges Mr. Ryosuke Uehara and Ms. Yoshie Watanabe of KIGI, and Ms. Ryuko Kida of the Elle Decor magazine, as well as KOKUYO President Hidekuni Kuroda. The participants held a lively discussion about "New Story", while introducing various entries from Japan and around the world answering the question, "What is your new story?" Then, on August 8 and 9, the KOKUYO Design Award Story 2011-2016 Exhibit was held inside the Bunshi Messe, one of the largest stationery events in Japan, adding excitement to the KOKUYO Design Award 2017.

The four winning entries were selected on January 18, 2018. The Grand Prix went to Eatool (designed by Daisuke Kakinoki, Haruka Mitani, and Yuki Yawata) of nyokki.

* For details, please visit→the KOKUYO Design Award website.

KOKUYO Original Pocket Notebook Provided in Sponsorship of J. League Division 2 Soccer Team, JEF United Chiba

People from the Furniture Business Division and the JEF team. Shown on the right is the field notebook recently provided.

People from the Furniture Business Division and the JEF team. Shown on the right is the field notebook recently provided.

In order to deepen its relationship with the JR East Japan Group, the Furniture Business Division is co-sponsoring JEF United Chiba, a professional soccer team that plays in Japan's J. League Division 2. To provide KOKUYO-style sponsorship, the Furniture Business Division obtained the cooperation of the Stationery Business Division to create and provide a field notebook* engraved with the 2017 team slogan "Pasion - Fight with All Our Might." ("Pasion" means passion in Spanish.)

As a symbol for the players, fans, and team officials to work together throughout the season toward promotion to Division 1, the notebook was given out to the first 1,200 spectators arriving at the season's opening game (J. League Division 2, Section 2) played against Montedio Yamagata at JEF United Chiba's home stadium on March 4, 2017.

*A long-term favorite pocket notebook launched in 1959. Although it was originally designed for recording surveying results out in the field, it is now being used in a variety of applications, such as taking notes outdoors and in everyday life, because of its ease of use outdoors.

Lecture at the Fourth Smart Sound Design Society Symposium

Panel discussion after the lectures

Panel discussion after the lectures

On March 3, World Hearing Day, Yukinobu Iwakiri of KOKUYO Engineering & Technology Co., Ltd. (KET) gave a lecture at the Fourth SSDS Symposium hosted by the Smart Sound Design Society (SSDS)*.

Entitled, "Diversifying work styles and what future offices will require," the lecture introduced office sound environments and sound solutions KOKUYO has in mind. It provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn about the activities of KET, which utilizes sound technology to support office worker productivity improvement and contribute toward work style reform. Furthermore, the symposium resulted in networking among professionals in a variety of sound-related fields, which may lead to promising new advances in sound solutions.

* An organization established with the goal of promoting and popularizing sound design (which uses sound to aurally generate a sense of beauty or improve functioning) and building comfortable and functional sound environments.

KOKUYO-Sponsored Nishinomiya Storks Wins the B2 League Championship

Nishinomiya Storks players who came to visit the Umeda Office

Nishinomiya Storks players who came to visit the Umeda Office

KOKUYO Marketing Co., Ltd. signed an official sponsorship contract with the Nishinomiya Storks, a professional basketball team in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture, with the goal of contributing to the community and creating a local culture that enhances the ability to unite. In the first B2 League championship game held on May 20, 2017, the Nishinomiya Storks won 78-53 over the powerful team, Shimane Susanoo Magic, becoming the first champions of the B2 League.

On May 25, the Nishinomiya Storks players visited the Umeda Office to thank KOKUYO Marketing for its support and report the team's promotion to the B1 League. Through continued support of the Nishinomiya Storks, KOKUYO Marketing plans to keep making a contribution to the local community.

Presenting Improvement Activities at the All-Japan Convention for Logistics Improvement Case Studies

Presentation under the theme of We should have done that! Ways of coping with environmental change

Presentation under the theme of "We should have done that! Ways of coping with environmental change"

On May 16 and 17, 2017, the All-Japan Convention for Logistics Improvement Case Studies was held, hosted by the Japan Institute of Logistics Systems. The goal of the Convention is to broaden participants' view and promote future logistics rationalization activities by sharing excellent improvement case studies and expertise from logistics sites. From the KOKUYO Group, KOKUYO Supply Logistics Co., Ltd. (KSL) participated in the Convention as it had the previous year.

At the 2017 convention, which was the 31st, outstanding improvement cases at 30 companies selected from all over Japan were presented. KSL reported on improvement resulting from collaboration with intra-warehouse partners that went beyond company boundaries inside a warehouse. By having our company's improvement appreciated by others and having an opportunity to incorporate other companies' improvement examples, we are aiming to further improve our abilities in logistics operations.

Summer Vacation KOKUYO Logistics Center Tour for Parents and Children Held

The children experienced picking operations inside the warehouse and operations involving the inspection tablet introduced in May

The children experienced picking operations inside the warehouse and operations involving the inspection tablet introduced in May

In 2017, KOKUYO Supply Logistics Metropolitan Area IDC, repeated the popular Summer Vacation KOKUYO Logistics Center Tour for Parents and Children it had held in 2016. This year the event was hosted jointly by Okumoto Irohado K.K., a retailer, and KOKUYO Marketing with the goal of helping children learn about and feel more familiar with KOKUYO by having them tour and experience KOKUYO's logistics operations. Despite rainy weather on the day of the event, 21 people (12 elementary school students and 9 guardians) participated in the event.

Our hope is that the recent experience will help the participants become more interested in the stationery they casually use every day, and become true KOKUYO fans.

KOKUYO Supply Logistics Chubu IDC Interviewed by Local Elementary and Middle School Students

Children experiencing picking and sorting operations for KOKUYO products during a tour

Children experiencing picking and sorting operations for KOKUYO products during a tour

KOKUYO Supply Logistics Chubu IDC, which performs logistics services, was featured in the "PR Komaki," a PR brochure of its hometown, Komaki City. This was part of a project in which fifth and sixth graders and middle school students in Komaki City visit interesting places and companies, and publish articles created from interviews and photos in a PR brochure. In addition to being featured in the PR brochure, the article was also posted at elementary schools within the city. On the day of the visit, IDC personnel took some creative steps, for example incorporating a quiz into their overview explanation, to help the students understand logistics operations in a fun way.

Through these activities, we hope to not only provide children with work experience, but also convey the appeal of Chubu IDC to as many Komaki City residents as possible.

Calendar Featuring Letter-shaped Chairs and Beautiful Japanese Scenery

The HELLO Chairs were born out of the KOKUYO Design Award. By combining letter-shaped chairs to write a message in space, these chairs are designed to allow people to communicate using chairs.

The Furniture Business Division worked on the KOKUYO Calendar Project, which photographs HELLO Chairs in areas of beautiful Japanese scenery. The photos were taken by Mr. Makoto Hada, a photographer who shoots a wide range of objects, from celebrities to scenery. The planning for the photo shoot, its design, and location negotiations were all done by KOKUYO employees, rather than a design company. We plan to use this calendar broadly as a new tool for conveying KOKUYO's appeal to customers.



January  Mt. Fuji and the rising sun

January Mt. Fuji and the rising sun

March  Beginning of a new life

March Beginning of a new life

Helping Revitalize Shopping Districts across Japan through the Isu-1 Grand Prix

Newly established official website of KOKUYO Isu-1 Racing

Newly established official website of
KOKUYO Isu-1 Racing

The Isu-1 Grand Prix*, an office chair two-hour endurance race, was again held in shopping districts across Japan in 2017. Each year, KOKUYO teams are formed with KOKUYO product retailers and agencies in various regions, helping to revitalize shopping districts through race participation. In 2017, KOKUYO International (Malaysia) Sdn Hbd organized races in Malaysia and Singapore for the first time in the ASEAN.

In a new initiative, an official website was established offering a service to rent "Isu-1 vehicles" to high school teams to involve local young people. This service enables high school students, for whom purchasing office chairs presents a financial obstacle, to easily participate in the races, making them more exciting.

The Job Study Initiative

The Job Study is a cross-industry seminar held by a team of human resources personnel from leading companies in various industries. They meet to discuss what kind of seminar is truly useful for students and use the results to organize a seminar themselves. When it was first launched in 2005, the issue of early departure for newly hired college graduates, where 30% leave their employment within three years, was a major issue. To address this issue and to provide an opportunity for corporations and students to come together, we have brought about the realization of mutual communication where corporations and students can talk about the significance of working by planning a program on the concept of real opinions and hand-made. Since then, 13 years have passed and we have continued to face students with sincerity, and today, a total of 20 leading companies from various industries have joined the Job Study.

As of the end of 2017, the Job Study had amassed 13 years of positive results. At the 4th Career Education Awards, the Job Study received the Award for Encouragement for sharing philosophies regarding the broad range of challenges students face just prior to entering the workforce by a wide variety of companies and flexibly dealing with these challenges. However, the environment surrounding students and companies, including economic fluctuations and the graduate recruitment environment, is rapidly changing, and numerous issues still exist between job seekers and companies even in the current so-called seller's market. Against this backdrop, the Job Study is asking the representatives of the personnel departments of 20 participating companies to shun the status quo and come together and seriously consider what is required and what they would like to do as they look to the future.

The Voice of a Person in Charge

Hiroki Yamamoto KOKUYO HRBP Office

Hiroki Yamamoto

To Increase the value Job Study can provide

I have the feeling that the number of new challenges facing students, corporations and universities have increased and changed because of the rapid changes of the graduate recruitment environment in recent years.

Because it is an era when needs and difficulties have diversified, the program we hold is not standardized. We carry out programs thinking about who and what will benefit, as well as the schedule and contents.

While KOKUYO as a single company can only do so much on its own, the 20 companies that comprise this program are committed to joining forces to create new value and opportunities that others cannot provide.

Tying the Environment, Welfare, and the Community Together with Photocopier Paper: the Eco-Lab Heart Shiga Initiative

Delivery using a plastic box instead of a cardboard box

Delivery using a plastic box instead of a cardboard box

KOKUYO Marketing and KOKUYO Product Shiga are engaged in green purchasing activities and have been participating in the Shiga Green Purchasing Network (Shiga GPN), a local network program, since June 2006. The KOKUYO Group has been involved since the beginning with the Eco-Lab Heart Shiga initiative, which was developed by Shiga GPN's Research Society for Green Purchasing Evaluation Techniques and is presently operated by NPO Shiga Prefecture Social Employment Business Promotion Center.

This initiative constitutes a system for requesting the use of plastic boxes in place of cardboard boxes to deliver photocopier paper for daily use to approximately 150 cooperative workshops within Shiga Prefecture where disabled persons are employed. It was begun in 2007 with two aims: environmental (reducing unnecessary packaging) and welfare (promoting and employing disabled persons). By using photocopier paper manufactured at KOKUYO Product Shiga, a model consisting of elements based entirely in the local community is in place.

The Eco-Lab Heart Shiga initiative is highly regarded in terms of uniqueness, sustainability and development, and it won the grand prize of the "13th Green Purchasing Award" in 2011. With the increase in participating corporations and organizations, not only is there a reduction in rubbish, but also the income of the disabled people working in the workshops can be improved through delivery of photocopier paper, other eco products and products made in the workshops.

To companies and organizations with offices in Shiga Prefecture, would you like to participate in the original CSR activities of Shiga Prefecture, the advanced prefecture in terms of environment and welfare?

Local Cleanup Activities and Blood Donation

The KOKUYO Group collaborates with local communities through cleanup activities carried out at office buildings, plants, Distribution Centers, and overseas business offices. Cleanup activities are performed once a year around the head office building in Osaka with the cooperation of the local government.

Through a tie-up with the organizers of the Osaka Marathon, Operation Osaka Marathon Cleanup has been organized since 2011 as a cleanup activity for all areas of Osaka so as to present a clean city to visitors to Osaka. The company participated in this activity in collaboration with the local government.

At various sites around the country, our employees have participated in blood donation drives since 1980. In 2017, 33 employees donated blood on an occasion when the Japanese Red Cross Osaka Blood Center visited the company.

Initiatives of KOKUYO Tohoku Sales

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, we have continued reconstruction support activities, mainly concentrating on activities that support children.

Providing Support for the Michinoku Future Fund

Gathering of the sixth graduating class of students held in March 2017

Gathering of the sixth graduating class of students held in March 2017

KOKUYO Tohoku Sales provides support for the MICHINOKU Future Fund Charitable Foundation as a corporate supporter. This fund provides tuition fees (maximum 3 million yen annually) which are not required to be repaid when high school students orphaned by the Great East Japan Earthquake pursue higher education such as university, college, and vocational schooling with the purpose of helping children who will build the future of Tohoku, which is the real basis of recovery, to grow up without abandoning their dreams and hopes. Agreeing to that purpose, KOKUYO Tohoku Sales has been supporting the fund since 2012.

This fund does not stop at simply providing scholarships. Periodic events, annual interviews, and interactions with corporate supporters are also sponsored with the heartwarming intention that children who have endured painful experiences will not be left alone. In March of every year, events to celebrate new students' entrance to schools of higher learning and enrolled students' graduation are held with supporters and others involved, in which the students have an opportunity to passionately discuss their future dreams and goals.

KOKUYO Tohoku Sales, along with the MICHINOKU Future Fund Charitable Foundation, will continue to support these young people's dreams of higher education.

Campus Art Award 2017, a Painting Competition for Junior High and High School Students

Campus Notebook with the Grand Prix-winning work The Best of Koshigaya on its cover was sold as a limited edition item on KOKUYO's official online shop.

Campus Notebook with the Grand Prix-winning work "The Best of Koshigaya" on its cover was sold as a limited edition item on KOKUYO's official online shop.

Since 2015, KOKUYO has held the Campus Art Award for junior high and high school students jointly with the Yomiuri Teens Newspaper (issued by the publishing company The Yomiuri Shimbun).

The contest theme was "My Sweet Home Town - a Great Favorite of Mine." The aim is to create opportunities for the youth of Japan's future to turn their attention to their local areas, to notice their attractiveness and to share that with others by taking up the theme of local landscape, customs, traditions, events, food, confectionery, etc.

The winners for the Grand Prix, the Yomiuri Teens Newspaper Award, the KOKUYO Award, and the District Merit Awards were selected from 1,393 entries. The Grand Prix went to "The Best of Koshigaya" by Anna Gotoh.