A column "Let's Go to a Factory!!" for Dezain No Gemba magazine (2000~2004)

Client: Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, Co., Ltd.

A series of magazine columns that Takahashi penned for Dezain No Gemba magazine. The series continued for five years.

The objective of this series was to present the technical capabilities of Japanese factories and their potential, when combined with Takahashi's creative ideas, to be the country's drivers of monozukuri (the craft of making things). Many of her ideas were shared in the series, resulting in various forms of cross-industry ties, increased interest in/expectations for Japanese factories and industrial expertise, as well as formation of a new business sector, "specialized printing/processing," and popularization of its methods and concepts among designers (what Takahashi dreamed of in those days). Notable changes were seen on the factory side, opening up more to interacting with the outside world, as well as in society where more attention was given to monozukuri and the capabilities of factories as drivers of the manufacturing sector in Japan. The book of these collected columns remains influential, and we are seeing drastic and progressive changes in the way factories and designers relate to each other.

The interviewees were mainly people whom Takahashi had met in her teens and early 20's and with whom she built trust relationships. They responded favorably to her requests for interviews when informed that the goal of the series was to "root for Japan and revitalize the country," which Takahashi advocated strongly at that time. This was when people who operated these factories were more reluctant to open up to outsiders.

New technologies and techniques that resulted from the factories' interactions with Takahashi were also featured in the series.

Takahashi had been active, from her teens through her years at Kuwasawa Design School, in visiting many factories across Japan. This experience formed a conviction in her, while she was at the school, that she must "root for small- and medium-sized factories and industries in Japan through the power of design!!" Through the series she was able to revisit the owners of the factories with whom, after heated discussions, she had formulated concepts for various printing and processing technologies and methods, and for new materials. These years of interactions, which deepened her trust relationships with the owners and expanded the scope of her knowledge of manufacturing, became MASAMI DESIGN's "treasures."

The series began after Takahashi founded MASAMI DESIGN, following her graduation from design school. Around that time, Takahashi had a strong desire to be a bridge between factories and designers, and to tell the world that there were so many brilliant technologies, factories, and craftspeople in Japan. She also wished to provide a breakthrough for the people engaged in monozukuri who were so skilled but short of ideas, and help them recognize their growth potential in various fields. Another group of people she wanted to motivate was designers and others who tend to think within the box. Her strategy was to create a small opportunity for these two groups to be connected and facilitate a link to be formed so that it prompts society to be more versatile, fosters ideas for the future, and provides rewarding revitalization. That was what she dreamed of when she took up the series, and she went on exploring the possibility of Japanese monozukuri and demonstrated it through each column in which she shared new ideas and innovative ways of thinking. (To fulfill her dream, she used a previously untried approach ― presenting the factories to the readers through a medium like this column, "Let's Go to a Factory!!" ― and kept her creative imagination running to foster future visions for a variety of people she encountered.

Takahashi structured the column such that the readers would feel they were visiting the factory for the first time with her. The column was possible because the interviewees at the factories were mainly people Takahashi knew very well.)

Even before the series, Takahashi was already recognized as a driver of change and revitalization of factories. They told her, "Because Masami-chan made a tour of factories many years ago, the factory community has really changed." It is not an overstatement to say that the column was one of Takahashi's "full-time jobs" starting in her late teens.

"Let's Go to a Factory!!" (Topics covered over five years and two months)
No. 1 September 2000
Long-table printing and braille printing
Sanichi Kogeisha KK
No. 2 October 2000
Edible printing
Top Foods Corporation
No. 3 December 2000
DIFFRA specialized foil stamping/printing
DIFFRA Co., Ltd.
No. 4 February 2001
Hand-bound books
Misuzudo Bindery
No. 5 April 2001
Machine embroidery
Konishi Mark Co., Ltd.
No. 6 June 2001
Wood-grain printing
Yoshida Seisakusho KK
No. 7 August 2001
Electroluminescence (EL) printing
Midori Mark Co., Ltd.
No. 8 October 2001
Blister pack molding
Japan Plus
No. 9 December 2001
Letterpress printing (Part 1)
The Kazui Press
No. 10 February 2002
Letterpress printing (Part 2)
The Kazui Press
No. 11 April 2002
"Miracle Vision Print"
Naito Process Screen Printing Inc.
No. 12 June 2002
High-grade art dyeing system
Kowa Ltd.
No. 13 August 2002
Katayama Steel Rule Die Inc.
No. 14 October 2002
Daito Industrial Printing Co., Ltd.
No. 15 November 2002
Packaging production
Eiwa Packaging Industry Co., Ltd.
No. 16 February 2003
Fukuju Sangyo Co., Ltd.
No. 17 April 2003
Plastic molding
Ryoke Co., Ltd.
No. 18 June 2003
Kowa Jushi Kogyo Co., Ltd
No. 19 August 2003
Corrugated cardboard printing/processing
KYOWA Corrugated Cardboard Co., Ltd.
No. 20 October 2003
Knitting technology
Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute
No. 21 Stickers
Hokushinsha KK
No. 22 Signboard printing and molding
Koba Pro KK
No. 23 "Magical Vision" stereo printing
Champion Kikaku KK
No. 24 Dyeing
Kawai Dyeing Works Co., Ltd.
No. 25 Paper manufacturing
Tokushu Paper Mfg. Co., Ltd.
No. 26 Color matching of printing inks
No. 27 Printing and embossing processes for various materials
Yoshioka Co., Ltd.

Note: The collected magazine columns of "Let's Go to a Factory!!" have been published as a book with the same title by Bijutsu Shuppan-sha (2,980 yen + tax). This series aimed at shedding light on the Japanese factories' capabilities, in a fun and forward-thinking way. Now in book format, it is a delightful reading experience not only for designers and people associated with factories, but also for anyone who seeks inspiration for changes in his/her outlook for the future. In the introduction and the epilogue, as well as in every chapter of the book, Takahashi shares her vision for the future, and reading these collected stories will provide much inspiration. Please pick up a copy at the bookstore!