<Partner Interview> Kokuyo Co., Ltd. Opening a New Page for Tokyo: Creating New Values with Notebooks

Under the corporate philosophy of enriching the world with their products, which has been at the core of the company since it was founded, Kokuyo have devoted all its efforts to support the changes and growth in people's “work, learn, live” environment with ingenuity. Kokuyo will provide The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) with notebooks, which will be distributed to approximately 80,000 Field Cast members (Games volunteers) as a “Field Cast Notebook”. We asked Kokuyo about the thoughts that went into the design of the “Field Cast Notebook”, and their goal and vision after the Tokyo 2020 Games.


“Field Cast Notebook” for 80,000 Games Volunteers

What was the intention of Kokuyo when they created the “Field Cast Notebook” for Tokyo 2020 Games?

Toshimitsu Sugawara, Tokyo 2020 Task Force General Manager

Kokuyo's message “Opening a new page for Tokyo” contains our wish to support the people who are taking on new challenges through our stationery and tools. Participating in the Tokyo 2020 Games as a Field Cast member will bring change and a new challenge to each individual volunteer. We thought it would be wonderful if we could support them when they “open a new page” in a way only Kokuyo can. That is how it all started, and we talked about providing a portable transit book or other items, but we settled on using our standard “Campus Notebook”, which we were considering as an official licensing product of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The notebook is a familiar and long-selling item that has been used by many people over the years, and we are confident that the “Field Cast Notebook” will be a useful tool for all Games volunteers.

Mr Sugawara explains their approach to the “Field Cast Notebook”.

The Tokyo 2020 Games will be staged with the support and contribution of many people. Everyone at Kokuyo wants to support the Games through the “Field Cast Notebook” project, and our planning, production, logistics and various other departments worked as one team to make it happen. Working closely with Tokyo 2020 ­it was equally a brand-new initiative for Tokyo 2020.

The notebook is carefully produced at Kokuyo's Shiga factory.

The notebook is distributed to the Field Cast members with care.

The “Field Cast Notebook” being made at the factory.(video)

What are the values Kokuyo wish to provide to the 80,000 Field Cast members through the “Field Cast Notebook”?

Shinsuke Kawahito, Promotion Planning Department Senior Manager

When people open the first page of the notebook, we want them to feel the same excitement as they feel when they are about to start something new. What's interesting about notebooks is that, compared to other items that have the highest value when it is brand new, the more you write your thoughts or feelings in the notebook, the more its value increases. We offer value through the notebook. As the Games volunteers use the notebook and its value increases.

Mr Kawahito talks about the value of the notebook.

How do you want the “Field Cast Notebook” to be used?


When the Games volunteers open the notebook with the Tokyo 2020 Games emblem printed on the cover, the first page will start with a section, “How to Use the Field Cast Notebook”. The section offers tips on how to record their thoughts and feelings when they receive the notebook at their first training session, during the Games, and after the Games. We hope the notebook will help them retain fond memories of the Games. During the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Field Cast volunteers will interact with many people for ten days or more. We would be happy if they record their interactions on their “Field Cast Notebook”. There will be one big community of people from different backgrounds and cultures. It would be great if they write down some of the fun times they spend together or even exchange messages on the final day. People who write the message and those who receive the message alike would feel good.

“How to Use the Field Cast Notebook”

Supporting people who use the notebook to imagine and create

We heard that the visual image of the message, “Opening a new page for Tokyo”, was created by Mr Sasaki. (URL: https://www.kokuyo-co.jp(Open in a new window))

Taku Sasaki, D2C Task Force Unit 2

When Kokuyo became a marketing partner of the Games and the message “Opening a new page for Tokyo” was selected, I started thinking about the visual. I thought it was a challenge to link the image of Kokuyo with the Tokyo 2020 Games. Kokuyo don't make sport equipment, and our stationery and office furniture have little to do with sport. But I decided to focus on what would happen when Kokuyo becomes a sponsor and what it would mean to be involved in the creative process. Kokuyo's signature product is the “Campus” notebook, and I wanted to make tools like notebooks that support people's creativity. An image gradually developed in my mind. I envisioned the notebook transforming into a sports playing field, and I imagined the city of Tokyo in 2020 full of sports field and courts everywhere. I combined the two and tried to abstractly express the city becoming vibrant through sport.

Mr Sasaki was the design lead of the “Field Cast Notebook”

Video “Opening a New Page for Tokyo”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWn0zB5Q6zc&feature=youtu.be(Open in a new window)

Are all the sports included in this video?

Some sports do not use a sports field/court, but we tried to include as many types as possible. Our visual concept developed from a notebook, but we incorporated our vision of “supporting people who create” into the video. The video starts with a notebook opening and a sports field/court drawn on the opened page. I'm sure there are sports that existed before the notebook was invented, but someone must have drawn it and created a sport, which was brushed up over time and perfected to the form we now know today. So, sport is not totally unrelated with the action of writing in a notebook.

An exhibition in the office entrance area that recreates the video. People enjoy playing sport on the sports field or court drawn in about 200 notebooks.

It would be nice if it could be a chance for people who do not know sport so well to become more interested.

Apart from enjoying sport during the Games, I hope that through the Tokyo 2020 Games we can provide an opportunity for people to take on the challenge of trying something new or to help generate a new creative drive that will shape the future of Tokyo.

Going beyond the norm to create the extraordinary

What opportunities will the Tokyo 2020 Games present to Kokuyo?

Kokuyo values creativity. There is always some resistance to change. I think creativity is the process of “change, challenge and create”. There is a need to change, we take on the challenge to change, and ultimately create something new. Having the courage to change, instead of just going with the flow. It's having the will to overcome difficulties in order to change. I hope we can learn from athletes, who often perform beyond the imaginable, and continue to use our creativity after the Tokyo 2020 Games to go beyond the norm to create something extraordinary.

I want people to know that Kokuyo is “a company that supports people who are not afraid of challenges and people who create innovation”, which is important as we see our society going through major changes. We have gathered many ideas from our employees, and are constantly thinking how to generate new connections through our products. After the Games, diversity will be a major focus which must be incorporated into the recent government initiative of “Work Style Reform”. Our goal is to have increasingly diverse values and to become a company that initiates challenges and change.

What is the future vision of Kokuyo?

What do you expect of the Tokyo 2020 Games?

I like rugby and I sometimes watch the video of the Japan vs. South Africa match from the World Cup four years ago. It encourages me to continuously “face the challenge”. I hope there are scenes or matches during the Tokyo 2020 Games that are so inspiring that people want to watch it over and over again for the next four years until the next Games.

As Tokyo changes and evolves toward the Games, I want to see more than just new commercial facilities and buildings all over the city. I would like Tokyo to develop into a more creative and beautiful city than today, a city that people want to live in for the rest of their lives.

Generally, nobody can clearly say what the state of the post-Games economy will be, but I hope we can all be optimistic after the Tokyo 2020 Games and I'm determined to take some kind of action. Japan will host the Expo 2025, so it would be nice if people feel, “The Tokyo 2020 Games brought change to Japan so the Expo 2025 can enjoy these benefits.” That would be a legacy of the Games, and whenever there is an international event in Japan, I want people to feel that Japan changed after the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The message is: “Opening a new page for Tokyo”

The notebook that will be distributed to the Field Cast members.

It's true that “the more you write your thoughts or feelings in the notebook, the more its value increases.” What will the Field Cast members write in their notebook? Hopefully, their experiences and impressions recorded in the notebook will help shape their future.