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Ishikawa Prefecture > Industry > Invest in Ishikawa Japan > Ishikawa through Foreign Media > Article―ANSA Itarian News Agency(Italy)

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Update:May 25, 2012

Article―ANSA Itarian News Agency(Italy)

to Japanese

Japan: A Fascinating Garden in Kanazawa Creates the Future / ANSA (Italian News Agency)

Drums, Technology and Samurai - Excellence in the Past and the Future

Robert Maggii (ANSA) -Tokyo, March 22- A family that has been producing drums for 17 generations, a former unemployed engineer who is now an entrepreneur dealing with unique IT equipment, a gardener who maintains the samurai spirit of loving nature, and the leading company in the field of liquid crystal display manufacturing with a display showing unimaginably natural colors.

All of these can be found in Kanazawa, a historical city in Ishikawa Prefecture located on the Japan Sea coast, and give an excellent representation of the Japan of the past and the Japan of the future.The country has recognized the importance of skills and expertise in restoring its technological might, and has designated the prefecture as an important area for industry and technology.

In Ishikawa, industries, academia and government have closely cooperated in innovating technologies to the limit, while maintaining a respect for the traditional cultures of the region.

"We have just planted a keyaki tree (Japanese zelkova) that we named after the person who donated it to us. In 300 years, it will have grown into a big tree that will provide wood for making drums. This is my duty as the 17th generation of a family that has been producing drums for 395 years", said Mr. Akitoshi Asano, the general manager of Asano Group, a major drum manufacturer.

Asano Group trained the members of Ondeko, a drumming group based on Sado Island, which is not very far from Ishikawa. Ondeko is famous overseas for powerful drumbeats of its concerts. Asano Group is instructing 48 craftspeople, most of whom are young people fascinated by drums and half of whom are female. "Drums are as delicate and complicated as violins. Drum makers must apprentice for five years before they can make their first drum", said Mr. Asano.

Ishikawa Science Park is located close to the drum factory. Its site, surrounded by greenery, has an area of 1,750 km2. About 2,000 researchers in science and technology are striving for technological innovation and patents in the comprehensive facility managed by private companies and the national and prefectural governments. An engineer in information technology, Mr. Minoru Yoneda, lost his job when his company went bankrupt in October 2002.

After that, he rented a small office in the Science Park and established the venture business COM-ONE Corp. with four colleagues; he is now developing software for industries. The company has 20 employees, and the estimated gross sales for fiscal 2004 are 120 million yen (900.00 euro). Mr. Yoneda confided, "This is our first year with a surplus." At present, he is planning a project related to Asano drums.

He has already succeeded in analyzing the secret of the drums, which are made of precious wood and ox skin, and in using the data to educate the younger generation. "I'm convinced that the apprenticeship period for drum makers can be shorter than the present five years. I want to avoid a future situation in which there are no experts who have preserved this tradition that is orally passed down through the generations", said Mr. Yoneda.

Ishikawa Science Park is the home of JAIST (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), a graduate university that offers only master and doctoral courses. It has a student enrollment of 1,000, including 140 foreigners. Established in 1992, it has had leading-edge basic and applied researchers since 1999, and it applies for an average of 40 patents a year.

Confidential research in nanotechnology has been carried out with the aim of synthesizing proteins contained in nano materials for bio computers of the future, which will function in the same way as the human brain.

Mr. Kazunori Miyata, who is fascinated by computer graphics and multi-media, is trying to play back three-dimensional images in moving and interactive visions with the eyes of an artist. (He is convinced that he will succeed in a few years.)

Ms. Atsuko Miyaji, a specialist in safety and protective devices for the operating systems of computers, has conducted a successful experiment involving the testing of an anti-virus system that is effective for unknown viruses, that is, a system which, unlike present systems, needs no renewal. "We hope more foreign researchers will come to our university. There are no limits to research", said Mr. Akio Makishima, the head of the Center for Nano Materials and Technology.

There is no limit to the beauty of two of Kanazawa's treasures, either. One is a spacious garden, Kenrokuen, a splendid masterpiece of art featuring natural beauty, created by Toshiie Maeda toward the beginning of the 17th century. It boasts 10,000 trees (at least 400 of which are very old), promenades and ponds.

The other is the Nagamachi district, where you can see old samurai houses that are still standing and inhabited by the descendants of the original residents. "The 400 old trees are trimmed by hand one by one to maintain their most beautiful shapes in as natural a condition as possible. We only use electric saws for very young trees", says the chief gardener, Mr. Toshio Yonebayashi.

The EIZO engineers are inspired by the natural garden and by the old samurai houses. EIZO has long been highly trusted by its customers in the field of liquid crystal displays, and it has recently launched into the area of flat digital televisions. "Look at the colors and vividness of the images. The colors are not as dark as those of similar products by Sony, Sharp or Panasonic. Our colors are very close to the natural colors and easy on the eyes", proudly said Mr. Hiroyuki Nakato, one of the managing directors of EIZO. (ANSA)

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