Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon [ɲippoꜜɴ] (About this soundlisten) or Nihon [ɲihoꜜɴ] (About this soundlisten); officially Japanese: 日本国 (About this soundNippon-koku or Nihon-koku) is an island country located in East Asia. It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and spans from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Philippine Sea in the south. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan encompasses an archipelago of about 6,852 islands, with five main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa) comprising 97% of the country’s area.

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures and traditionally into eight regions. Approximately two-thirds of the country’s terrain is mountainous and heavily forested, and less than one-eighth of its land is suitable for agriculture. Consequently, Japan is among the most densely populated and urbanized countries in the world. The largest urban area is the metropolitan area centered on the capital city of Tokyo, which is the most populous in the world. Japan itself is the world’s eleventh most populous country.

The kanji that make up the name of Japan mean “sun origin”; in the Western world, the country is often known by the sobriquet “Land of the Rising Sun”. While archaeological evidence indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of the archipelago appears in Chinese texts from the first century AD. Between the fourth and ninth centuries, the kingdoms of Japan gradually unified under an Emperor and imperial court based in Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). However, beginning in the twelfth century, de factopolitical power came to be held by a succession of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō) and enforced by a class of warrior nobility known as samurai. After a century-long period of civil war, Japan was reunified in 1603 under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted a policy of isolationism. This period ended in 1853 when a United States fleetforced Japan to open to the West, leading to the fall of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. In the following Meiji era, Japan adopted a Western-style governmentand pursued a program of industrialization and modernization; this transformed the feudal society into a great power, with Japan establishing a colonial empire in East Asia after decisive victories in the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. In 1937, the Empire of Japan invaded China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War; in 1940, it signed the Tripartite Pact and entered World War II the following year on the side of the Axis powers. After suffering major defeats in the Pacific and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, coming under a brief occupation and adopting a new post-war constitution. Japan has since maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with the Emperor as a ceremonial head of state and an elected legislature known as the National Diet.

Today, Japan is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the G7, and the G20. Although it has officially renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military for peacekeeping and self-defense, which has been ranked as the world’s fourth most powerful. Following World War II, Japan experienced record economic growth to become the world’s second-largest economy by 1980. Today, Japan’s economy is the world’s third-largest by nominal GDP and fourth-largest by purchasing power parity; it is also the fourth-largest importerand exporter and a global leader in the automotive and electronics industries. Japan is ranked “very high” on the Human Development Index; its population enjoys high levels of educationand the second-highest life expectancy in the world, though it currently is experiencing a projected decline due to low birth rates. Culturally, Japan is renowned for its art, cuisine, literature, cinema, music, and popular culture.

Photo Credit
Photo by Agathe Marty on Unsplash
Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash
Photo by Manuel Cosentino on Unsplash

Fri April 9th

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Colin Flinn · Fast Forward · Innovation ...

This is our first cherry blossom season here at our new facility. We just moved north of Kyoto onto the shores of Lake Biwa. We opened up the new Horizon Innovation Park. And that's where myself and the Horizon International team are now located. Right now, we can do demonstrations on every Horizon system. Some people would say that the printing industry is declining. We would say that it's changing. It's undergoing an evolution. Or it's more short run, more variable, more digital. The Japanese spirit is all about going from the smallest bit to the largest finished product, all in-house. Everything from the rollers to the circuit boards are produced right here. It was in 2019 when we held the first "Think Smart Factory" in Kyoto, Japan. What we want to show, automated solutions integrated from prepress to your press to your finishing in order to optimize your workflow. And what our workers can do during assembly is they can call those little robots to go to the warehouse, bring the necessary parts that they need. Our customers want to really feel the paper for themselves. They want to see the finished product. Here, the machines operating. As manufacturers, we want to present solutions and hear from our customers. Right now that's not always an option. Since the beginning, we've been adopting the newest technologies to be able to replicate that experience. They never expected that they would get this high quality. It's also opening up new doors. Because we get to take them on tours of our facility. Which you would never get to do when you're just at a trade show. Right now, we have a new training zone. Where we can have people from all over the world come and get hands on training with the machines. But when that's not an option, we have a training team here to help them out when they're in a pinch.

Thu September 24th

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How IoT will support the Smart Factory​​...

How IoT will support the Smart Factory - Yasuo Taketsugu, Horizon International.

Fri May 1st

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Yoshihiro Oe · Over The Skype · Horizon ...

In this 'Over the Session' with Yoshihiro Oe, General Manager, Global Business, Horizon International, we get a chance to understand both how IoT and workflow/automation is a tremendously important part of Horizon, but also how the postponing of drupa influence the launch of new products. As usual, it's a pleasure talking to Yoshihiro, so please watch, like, and enjoy. As with all our ‘Over the Skype’ interviews, quality is limited to bandwidth, web-cams, and ability to literally LIVE mix the conversations. However, it works, and with Over the Skype, we will bring you more than 20 exciting people, and angles on the industry as it is right now. Enjoy!

Sat February 8th

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Sometimes so Liberating Getting Back to ...

At the Think Smart Factory Event in Kyoto, we found this presentation of a simple-to-use screen printing solution - also produced by Horizon. Everybody talks about highly technical solutions and the move to digital print. Still, for hobbyists and for small shops, the basic investment and the time to produce a garment with print isn't high or time-consuming. This film also shows the craftsmanship that is the foundation of many of the products we produce. We like this short video showing t-shirt print 100% analogue.

Mon January 20th

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Think Smart Factory · Canon to Horizon e...

In this film, Yui Kawano from Canon Marketing shows an end-to-end solution together with Yasuo Taketsugu from Horizon International. This is a brilliant example of how workflow & automation enable printers to automate the entire print and binding process. This film also shows the amazing power behind JDF, where not only files but also production data is delivered directly from an MIS system. The entire production workflow is managed in the JDF and setup printer as well as the binder.

Wed January 8th

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Building Technology on Solid Legacy · Yo...

Yoji Otsuka is the General Manager, Sales for Screen Graphic Solutions. In this conversation, he speaks over his American name "Joe" that he also uses on his business card, but more importantly how Screen has become one of the leading and most prominent suppliers of Inkjet presses. Screen Graphic Solutions was founded in 1943, but has roots back to 1868 - so what did Screen do before producing Inkjet machines? Yoji "Joe" Otsuka explains that the legacy of Screen's products and services are important elements in why Screen has become so popular. As we mentioned on numerous occasions before - we LOVE the Conversations format where editor Morten Reitoft have a longer and always very friendly conversation with a guest. We met with Yoji Otsuka at the Think Smart Factory event in Kyoto last year - enjoy it. It's a good one!

Mon March 4th

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Printers should invest now instead of wa...

At the recent Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019, we got the chance to talk to General Manager Global Business Yoshihiro Oe from Horizon about global trends, the state of the industry from a Horizon perspective and how it is to work 32 years in the same company. This conversation was, and we hope you will enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed doing it!