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Date of Issue:16/June/2008

Kansei Initiative
|Proposal of a fourth value axis|

Policy Office for Design and Human Life System
Manufacturing Industries Bureau
METI


A fourth value axis is kansei, which can be loosely defined as aesthetics. Here we introduce Kansei Initiative, which proposes the addition of kansei to the three traditional product value axes of reliability, function and price in order for Japan to continue to improve its standard of living and achieve dynamic development.


Japan is currently faced with a quantitative drop in demand induced by population decline, as well as structural changes such as the intensification of industrial competition in the global community. It is therefore essential to return to the fundamental question, namely what constitutes a good product or service, to identify what is required for differentiation and innovation in order to help industries maintain and improve their competitiveness.

It is apparent that those good products and services where consumers are satisfied that they have received value for money are those that embody not only the traditional values of high performance, high reliability and reasonable price, but also a plus-extra element. This plus-extra element in value creation, or the fourth value axis, could be described as kansei1(Figure 1).

Here we are making no judgements as to the content or merits of kansei. We also believe that good products and services are not necessarily expensive.

Economic value is created where the focus and spirit derived from the kansei of the manufacturer come alive and begin to speak to consumers, or when a story is communicated and appeals to the kansei of consumers, arousing sympathetic resonance. Conversely, no matter how good the manufacturer believes his product to be, this view must be shared by the consumer in order for value to be realized. To realize kansei value, it is important for manufacturers and consumers to interact with each other and engage in a joint activity or eworking togetherf.

eKansei valuef is realized where kansei becomes visible as something with economic value and this sense is shared by consumers (users) (Figure 2).

With the socioeconomy maturing and international competition growing increasingly fierce, it will be vital to develop and supply products and services with a high kansei value and appeal to consumer kansei as a means of differentiation, while at the same time maintaining the tradition of high performance and high quality. These efforts will strengthen Japanfs industrial competitiveness, while products selected on the basis of consumer kansei should brighten peoplefs lives and enrich their spirits.

Based on the results of its considerations, METI compiled a report entitled eKansei Initiativef which was released on 22 May 2007. The three years up to FY2010 have also been designated as ekansei value creation yearsf, entailing the focused implementation of measures promoting kansei value creation. As one concrete step, a eKansei Value Creation Fairf will be held in Paris this December and another fair in Tokyo in next January in order to display to both domestic and international audiences outstanding Japanese products and services that appeal to human sensibilities.

For further details, please see the following websites:
http://www.meti.go.jp/press/20070522001/20070522001.html (Japanese)
http://www.meti.go.jp/english/information/downloadfiles/PressRelease/080620KANSEI.pdf (English)

1 Defined in eKansei Initiativef as ea high-order function of the brain, including inspiration, intuition, pleasure and pain, taste, curiosity, aesthetics, emotion, sensitivity, attachment and creativityf.


 
 
 

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Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST)
2nd Floor, Toranomon Jitsugyo Kaikan
1-1-20 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
E-mailFinfo@iist.or.jp

TEL:(81-3) 3503-6621
FAX:(81-3) 3501-0550