Alumni Stories

TITLE The strength to live as an artist
Minori Nagashima
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
I am active in the world of art and music. In addition to composition and arrangement, I take part in many concerts as a keyboardist. Recently, I also produced music for a show at Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo. Drawing on my experiences of producing various artworks including “teamLab Island – Learn and Play! Future Park -,” I also direct artworks and exhibitions as a freelance director.
I majored in music as an undergraduate and enrolled at KMD in order to learn how to make a living using my skills. At KMD, one can learn hands-on not only about making things, but also about how to put these to use in society. The experiences I gained at KMD feed into my ability to conceive, create, and disseminate artworks in the real world. As an independent artist, not only do I create art, but I oversee everything from contracts to management by myself. If one has the ability to grasp things from multiple angles, one has the strength to live freely without being constrained by anything.

(This article was written in March 2018.)
TITLE Implementing one’s ideas in society through research and entrepreneurship
Erika Okude
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
Before entering KMD, I majored in interactive design at the Keio University Faculty of Environment and Information Studies. For my graduation project, I created an installation artwork that projected ripples by sensing where raindrops fell on the surface of water. My motivation for progressing to KMD was wanting, based on this experience, to learn skills for tackling everyday problems from a broader perspective and for launching my ideas in the real world. My research project at KMD was themed on taking pictures and creating a visual experience of parenting in the digital age. I feel I gained the ability to design concepts aligned with my project subjects based on in-depth ethnographies.
After graduating, I started a design company with a friend from an art university, launching the character brand “Tetra Style” and holding workshops as part of an activity called “otomedengei-bu” (girl’s electronic accessory club). We also have a smart crime-prevention buzzer for women called “shippo kōru” (tail call) for a project we started recently. We engage in product development while following the “design thinking” process to develop original and attractive products which leverage digital technology to ensure safety.

(This article was written in March 2018.)
TITLE Aiming for next-generation innovations through the implementation of industry-academia partnerships
Naoya Takei
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed doctoral degree in March 2017
I entered KMD with questions on how mature companies should approach triggering next-level innovations. Having been involved in product development at a manufacturer, I became more aware of this problem and grew interested in the method of design thinking at KMD. After entering KMD, I was involved from the inception of a project for promoting next-level innovation at NKC (Nakanishi Metal Works Co., Ltd.), a corporation with stable technical capacities. While this took four years, in 2018 we finally reached the point of commercializing a service called “agbee” that benefits farmers in the outskirts of urban areas through the use of partner robots. When commercializing a product, one encounters very different problems when thinking about what first needs to be done, in other words the issue of creating 1 from 0, to the subsequent issues involved in making 1 into 10 or 10 into 100. I specifically attribute my ability to engage with these real-world problems to KMD and the support I got from professors.
Drawing on this experience, I am currently supporting the development of innovative solutions at various companies. I spend each day productively engaged with finding practical solutions to the questions that first prompted me to attend KMD.

(This article was written in March 2018.)
TITLE A place of co-creation
Yuko Kawano
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
I currently work in the product development at the marketing headquarters of Haagen-Dazs Japan.Incorporated. KMD promotes the co-creativity of the distinct domains of the arts and sciences, and I am keenly reminded of the importance of this at work. It takes around two years to create one product. Even if a good concept and prototype has been developed, it would be meaningless without actual production in the factory. The co-creativity and balance of artistic elements and scientific aspects are indispensable to the process of tying the idea together with the fact toward the real production.
I wanted to study again about corporate branding and marketing, so I decided to enroll at KMD after two years of working. I carried out research focused on creating shared value (strategic CSR directly related to business operations) while attending KMD. It was a big sensation for me to enter the academic environment which is the complete opposite from the domestic environment of a Japanese corporation which I used to be, and there were also chances to encounter with many unique and inspiring people with unique habits that I had never before encountered. Even though there was some initial travail, this experience has now become an invaluable asset. There is an expression “to be the best, one must learn from the best.” I think KMD is the best place to learn directly from the leading figures of various fields.

(This article was written in March 2018.)
TITLE Bridging the gap between Research and Product Design for helping mankind
Charith Fernando
Sri Lanka
CAREER Enrolled in September 2008; Completed master’s degree in September 2010 / Enrolled in September 2010; Completed doctoral degree in September 2013
I entered KMD at the first fall batch intake in 2008. Before Joining KMD, I majored in Electronic Engineering, Computer Science Enginering, and Robotics Engineering. During my KMD life, I belonged to Reality Media Project (Masters) and Embodied Media Project (PhD.). During KMD life, I learned the important the collaborative work, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teamwork. Also, I was able to improve my Japanese, product design skills, idea pitch and presentation skills. After finishing my PhD study, I wanted to bring my work to the next level and decided to Join KMD faculty as a Senior Assistant Professor. I lead the Telexistence project (inside & outside KMD) as the first step of bridging the gap between research work and industrial collaborations. After 4 years I decided to spin-off my work into my own start-up and achieve my dream goal.
Today, I work as Chief Technological Officer (CTO) of Telexistence Inc. (https://tx-inc.com/) where I manage a very talented engineering team sharing the same interest of industrialize telexistence technology to dramatically change lives, organizations, and society. One of our main streams of business involves creating business opportunity by lowering cost of human transportation and action of human actually being there. I have gained a lot from KMD, this someday I hope to collaborate and support KMD with my assets.

(This article was written in March 2018.)
TITLE Standing at the crossroads of design and technology
Kim Huisun
Korea
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
I’m currently engaged in concept design and interaction design in order to create next-generation products for Sony. One example is the Motion Sonic Project that was recently unveiled to the public. The objective was to design an embodied experience that augments the human body with sound. By redesigning the relationship between humans and sound, we aim to impact society by delivering a new sound experience.
Before joining KMD, I majored in computer science and learning engineering, but I began to wonder how I could design experiences that truly fascinate people. That’s why I decided to join KMD. At KMD, I worked on the Media Furniture Project that challenged us to redesign the furniture as media. Through the project, I acquired the design skills to realize the concept and experience through iterations of ethnography, ideation, and prototype. Also, I was able to hone my presentation skills to offer new value to the society. The experiences in KMD built my foundation for creation at the intersection of design and technology.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE Learning, sharing, and enjoying
Hiromi Uwabo
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2013; Completed master‘s degree in March 2015
At KMD, I conducted research in the Global Education Project to create a place where people who want to teach can gather via IT and learn from each other. I still vividly remember feeling deeply moved by the extraordinary ties that transcended age and borders through the building of an online platform, and conducting multiple-base workshops, mostly in Asia, as well as the engagement between project members.
I am now teaching network-related training courses at a human resource development/training service company with the aspiration of having more people sense the potential and importance of network technologies that materialize diverse connections. Every time I teach a training course with students from differing backgrounds, I give a lot of thought to,“How can I communicate in a way that is fun and easy to understand?”I see grim or bored students at the start of the session morph into engaged learners after receiving flashes of inspiration or comprehension, and this motivates me to learn more. My goal is to use my “antenna” to keep learning, to share with others what I have learned, and to have everyone enjoy this together. Everything I learned and everyone I met at KMD all connect to who I am today.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE The largest reward is the connections
Ryunosuke Takahashi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master‘s degree in March 2012
I am currently serving as director at the Contents innova- tion Program (CiP) Association. CiP’s mission is to develop a digital + content industry area in the Takeshiba district of Tokyo as part of its redevelopment, which is scheduled to be complete in 2020. As director, I am busy every day negotiating and holding discussions with CiP members and others in industry, government, and academia to bring the project to fruition.
At KMD, my research theme was communications and broadcasting policy. Because KMD has different tracks, such as design, technology, management, and policy, there is a diverse mix of people and research themes that would not ordinarily be grouped in the same program. The perceptions and ideas in this environment were very stimulating. I was also provided opportunities to engage with leading experts in various fields outside of KMD. I believe my largest reward from KMD was the connections I made through research activities. I rely on those connections for my work at CiP also. In the Takeshiba project, I’m making full use of what I gained at KMD. Please check out our achievement.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE The power of collaboration
Yuta Sugiura
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master‘s degree in March 2010 / Enrolled in April 2010; Completed doctoral degree in March 2013
I left the program I was in to enter KMD in its year of establishment, and after obtaining a doctorate, I became a Project Assistant Professor. At KMD, I worked in the Reality Media Project to develop habitant behavior measurement systems and displays to fit into living environments. When I was studying engineering, I usually created things alone. But at KMD, I had more opportunities to develop things in collaboration with colleagues from different backgrounds, harnessing our various fields of expertise. This enabled me to experience creating things that were difficult to make alone. Also, I was averse to English conversation when I first entered KMD, but with so many international students in such a global environment, my English really improved.
I am now a research associate in the Department of Infor- mation and Computer Science at Keio University’s Faculty of Science and Technology. I research collaboration, which I realized was important when I was at KMD, and hope to support this with technology. I am now researching IoT and virtual reality with space that can be designed through human collaboration.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE Think while running
Miki Kunitomo
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2013; Completed master‘s degree in March 2015
At KMD, I learned to discern what I must do by determining the essence of a matter, and also that I can try anything if I decide to. While there, I researched information device management systems using AR technologies as part of the Network Media Project. I had a degree in design before enrolling in KMD, and absolutely no knowledge of technology. But with the help of the many people I met through KMD, I was able to gain knowledge as my research progressed.
KMD offers opportunities to collaborate with many people. From this experience, I learned the importance of two things: to determine the essence of a matter and think about what I must do and what I am uniquely capable of, and then to simply take action based on this. I think this was possible because KMD provides an environment where we can think while running, even if we don’t understand everything. Now that I’ve graduated, this realization serves as the foundation of my work as a system engineer in the communications industry.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE Guild of my daily work
Gustavo Dore Rodrigues
Brazil
CAREER Enrolled in September 2009; Completed master‘s degree in September 2011
Currently, I am the CEO of Motify (http://motify.work). As a pioneer of HR(Human Resources)technology, through e-learning based on Habit Design, we aim to create environments where people learn to be leaders and to help each other grow. I coordinate a team of 12 people around the globe, with staff in Japan, Brazil, Ukraine, Sweden, and the US, and the number of countries continues to increase. Running the company remotely has allowed me to leave Tokyo and live in Kamakura with my wife and our daughter.
Before coming to KMD, I worked in a marketing in Brazil. I saw KMD as a chance to change my career from humanities to a technology field. I grasped that chance with all my strength and had two of the busiest and most exciting years of my life. At KMD, I drew on my marketing background and joined the Event Production team. I then joined the OIKOS project with the Media Furniture team, under Professor Okude, where I learned the product/concept creation process that still guides me in my daily work.
In the eight years I have been in Japan, I have worked for Sony as a VAIO product planner and at Recruit as a UX designer for several services. The connections and the knowledge I gained at KMD are what made it possible. I was invited to Sony after meeting a few employees during my time at KMD. Later, when I was planning to change jobs, I also consulted with a KMD sempai and worked side by side with him for several months.

(This article was written in March 2017.)
TITLE Continuing to learn and then continually putting that learning into practice
Shino Kinoshita
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2013; Completed master’s degree in March 2015
I am currently involved in the design and administration of a business school at Showa Women’s University that is specifically for working women as part of a female empowerment initiative. I have also participated in a number of paid and unpaid organizations and projects in which I have helped to design new human resources development systems, new educational approaches for young people, and intergenerational networks for women. The common focus in all of these projects has been “supporting people and organizations that want to take on new challenges.” I am often involved in projects in different domains that run in parallel, which provide me with a bird’s eye view of where the general issues lie. I truly enjoy my current style of work and the opportunity it gives me to think seriously about how I can contribute.
Before joining KMD, I was involved in HR development consulting for large companies. At KMD, I was able to learn with people of different ages, nationalities, and genders, and was inspired by professors who were, themselves, practitioners. It broadened my horizons dramatically beyond what I had done before; it taught me that it is vital to forge links between different domains and how to act and learn in ways that have an impact on this new era. KMD taught me my current approach to life and work. The pace of change in today’s environment is only accelerating. I am in my late 40s, and one of the things I learned at KMD is that, regardless of age, the key to survival in the 21st century is continuing to learn and then continually putting that learning into practice.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE Creating what I need
Yumiko Murai
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2010
At KMD, I was a member of the “Global Education Project” in which we worked on the design and administration of a variety of online courses and events. In my master’s research, I helped to create a joint performance environment for students studying performing arts in remote locations. Today, I teach online classes about distance education at Columbia University (USA), continue my research in remote communication and learning environments, while staying involved in the administration of online classes in a number of different fields. My doctoral dissertation on the development of community perceptions and self-motivation among online learners was accepted, and in May 2015 I was awarded a EdD. There has been increased online learning opportunities in recent years, but learning from a remote location can often be a lonely and difficult experience. My work is to provide the kinds of activities and communications environments that support these learners. As a member of the first class at KMD, I gained first-hand experience developing our own learning and research environments from scratch with the professors and fellow students with diverse backgrounds. This approach of “Create what you need” has been a valuable asset, even after moving to a research institution that takes a very different approach than that of KMD.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE The KMD ethos
Tomomi Ota
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
Currently, I work from morning to evening as a reporter for a company called ITmedia, and then from evening to morning on my own studying the “Micromouse” and working with the “Pepper” robot. You can see some of my work with Pepper on a YouTube channel called “pepper days.” I’ve developed programs that caused the robot to mix natto (fermented beans), sing, dance, and even take a ride with me on the shinkansen. I recently had the opportunity to speak to the “Japan SF Convention,” a gathering for science-fiction fans around Japan, at “PRESENTING JAPAN,” a public-private forum to communicate Japanese culture and technology to the world, and at other events about living with a robot as a partner.
In Japan, there is an adage: “What you learn when you are young stays with you for life.” I think that we receive a large part of that, a unique spirit, during our time at KMD. All of my current activities can be traced back to the KMD ethos: being straightforward and honest, understanding my core competencies, and understanding that social design and policy are always a part of technology, the part that we ourselves create. When I joined KMD, I gained many fathers. I also gained friends around the world.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE Precious experience that guided me to a start up
Nahuel Salcedo
Argentina
CAREER Enrolled in September 2013; Completed master’s degree in September 2015
I came to KMD with the goal of exploring and learning about the future of digital signage systems. After Joining the Global Computing project, I participated on CITIUS, a multimedia signage platform capable of providing information to public buses, using environmental information in real time.
Being part of CITIUS provided me with invaluable opportunity to get first-hand experience working together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and with professors and researchers at the National University of Singapore.
In Argentina, I worked at several advertising agencies as a content creator. Before finishing KMD, and with the full support of the faculty, I decided to start my own business in Japan to provide audiovisual content for TV, internet and digital signage platforms.A very small team of graphic designers located both in Japan and Argentina helps me turn those concepts into reality.
During this year we have provided content for J Sports, American Express, Sky Perfect, Electronic Arts, and Nippon Baseball League among others. The content we create can be seen throughout Tokyo on giant screens in Shibuya and Shinjuku, inside train stations such as Ikebukuro, on network and cable television, and in stadiums.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE Thinking with depth, acting with strength
Yuki Shintani
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
I work for an advertising agency. Until I was reassigned in August 2015 to work in strategic planning for a tire manufacturer, my primary job was creating and producing digital content for an alcoholic beverages maker. In digital content creation, the goal is to use the web and social network services to trigger discussion of a product and to convince people to feel favorably towards it. In strategic planning, you investigate what the essential attractions of the product are and how they can be communicated, formulating hypotheses and reflecting them in your strategy.
At KMD, I participated on Professor Naohito Okude’s OIKOS, and launched a new project called “Music in Community” to study the relationship between music and local communities. This resulted in Keio University creating a new credited class on music practice, so I did have some impact on society. During the project, I had an opportunity to think deeply about what the world enjoys, needs, and wants to experience, and I gained my own experience in how to push a project forward strongly enough that my plan becomes reality. My KMD experiences have had a significant impact on my current work.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE Tackling problems from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines
Masaharu Hirose
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2013; Completed master’s degree in March 2015
Prior to joining KMD, I graduated from the Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology with a bachelor’s degree in applied physics. As my research progressed, I began to realize that engineering problem-solving requires a multi-disciplinary approach, not just a single area of expertise. This realization led to my choice of KMD as I could study technology, design, management, and policy in well-balanced manner.
At KMD, I researched interaction design and virtual reality as a member of the “Reality Media Project”. I learned about both hardware and software, and designed and verified prototypes and systems as part of my studies. This choice required courage because I was jumping into a master’s course in a completely different field from that of my undergraduate study, but my research at KMD proved to be both stimulating and fruitful. Today, I work for a semiconductor company engineering Internet of Things (IoT) systems and embedded systems. Problem-solving in systems development is never straightforward, but the approach that I learned at KMD, to tackle problems from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines, is hugely beneficial to me in my current work.

(This article was written in March 2016.)
TITLE KMD is the best place to do something creative, innovative, and fun.
Anusha Withanage
Sri Lanka
CAREER Enrolled in September 2008; Completed master’s degree in September 2010 / Enrolled in September 2010; Completed doctoral degree in September 2013
Currently, I am a post-doctoral research fellow at the SUTD-MIT International Design Center at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). My research involved Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). My main research focus was in multi-modal interfaces with a focus on haptics.
I worked on the Reality Media Project at KMD. I did theoretical research to understand the human perception of space with multi-modal information, and I also collaborated with companies, such as Toyota IT, to implement aspects of the research in the real world. What I liked most about KMD was its diversity; of expertise, of cultures, and of interests. If you have an idea, you’ll find at least one expert on it at KMD who will passionately collaborate with you. The freedom to innovate at KMD is impressive. Unlike most universities, freedom is embedded in KMD as a core value. If you are doing something creative, innovative, and fun, KMD is the best place to be.
My goal is to contribute to the development process of the next big shift how humans perceive and interact with computational machines.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE I saw a vast improvement in my expression skills at KMD.
Masato Takahashi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed doctoral degree in March 2012
In the KMD Doctoral Program, I joined the Reality Media Project and studied entertainment computing. With the expert advice of Professor Masahiko Inami and other researchers, I was able to build numerous implementations, and through that process saw a vast improvement in my expression skills. Doing a joint project with excellent students overseas was also a valuable experience.
I currently work as a creator specializing in entertainment under the name “Bye Bye World.” I’m involved in a wide range of products and projects, including toys, installations and robots. In June 2014, I was appointed chief creator at Yoshimoto Robotics Laboratory, where I oversee and develop the official entertainment app for “Pepper,” SoftBank’s latest robot. I look forward to further explorations in entertainment and technology.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE Every thought and idea has a chance to be heard and to be realized at KMD.
Chin Ching Chang
Taiwan
CAREER CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
At KMD, I learned about video transmission in my work on the “Global Education” project. Through the process of observing and supporting the online classroom, which was a part of the project, I created my own idea for a research project. This research project motivated me to obtain additional web design skills.
To create something really takes time, but the best thing about KMD is that every thought and idea has a chance to be heard and to be realized. KMD is full of kind and supportive people who enjoy discussing your ideas and seek ways to help you expand on them. KMD’s focus on “learning with an open heart and continuing to take on challenges” taught me how to discover what matters to people. I’ve incorporated this philosophy in my daily work as an UI/UX designer at a surveillance software company and in my long-term goals.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE What qualities do things that are loved by large numbers of people possess?
Keigo Hatayama
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
When I was at KMD, I worked with Professor Hiroyuki Kishi as a member of “Creative Industry” project to study local brands and was involved in a joint project in Onagawa, a town in Miyagi. Throughout the project, we continued to ask ourselves what was truly necessary for the local community as we planned events, conducted promotions, and established a community development company. This ultimately led to a successful event in Hibiya Park, Tokyo that drew more than 200,000 visitors. It was a very valuable experience to be involved in a project in which people came from different generations and backgrounds, and were also separated by physical distance.
I now work at an internet company as a planner. While at KMD, I was involved in a project for local brands that tried to answer the question, “What qualities do things that are loved by large numbers of people possess?” My current work may seem a bit removed from regional development, but the research I did and the projects I was involved in at KMD have given me a basis from which to work today as I think about how to develop optimum services that large numbers of customers will use. I look forward to continuing to create products and services that are used and loved by lots of people.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE To continue to explore new frontiers
Toru Miyamoto
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
At KMD I joined a project called “OIKOS” where I studied how to design services that would help retail store staff encourage customer to make purchases. In our study, we began by analyzing behavior, brainstorming ideas, formulating the concepts, and building prototypes. Then we took our prototypes and used them in actual retail stores to verify whether they worked. We repeated this process over and over again. It was a good experience designing something from scratch.
KMD is a very global environment that attracts people with all sorts of backgrounds. You have the opportunity to work with professors and students who are interested and active in a wide range of fields. In the Project Room, I spoke and consulted with lots of different people, which was a good experience for me.
I’m now working as a creator at an internet company where my job every day is to think about designs and interactions that will make users want to use our services more. In the future, I want to use my experiences at KMD to continue to explore new frontiers.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE I learned by using my body and senses at KMD.
Izumi Yagi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
When I was at KMD, I joined a sub-project called “Media Furniture” in the “OIKOS” project, which aimed at designing user experiences involving furniture and people’s living environments. At KMD, learning was very much a process of trial and error, in which I learned by using my body and senses, rather than a mere intellectual process. Our fieldwork involved visiting ordinary homes to observe the occupants’ everyday life and creating numerous prototypes to build up a concept. It was a repeated process of reasoning and action. One of KMD’s strengths is that students of various nationalities (such as China, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Lebanon) and backgrounds collaborated continually. With this mix of talent and fresh ideas, we achieved more together than we ever could have achieved on our own and we felt a greater sense of accomplishment too.
I now work in Taiwan as a planner with engineers and designers at an electrical manufacturer. I’d like to continue to create user experiences that will enrich people’s everyday lives. I can say that what I learned at KMD has been essential to starting my career.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE To pursue a global career
Moe Inaki
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2014
My research focus at KMD was film studies and user-generated content as part of the “Power of Motion Pictures” (now being said “CREATO!”) team. The challenging studies at KMD and CEMS provided numerous networking opportunities with students, professors, guest lecturers, and others I met there. I was inspired and influenced by the different perspectives, views, and skills of such a diverse group of people. These experiences and encounters emboldened me to pursue the career I had always dreamed of.
I currently work at Google Japan, as a community specialist on the YouTube team. I mainly manage events, community building and online communication. With a deep interest in media and technology since high school, it was always my dream to work in these fields. The phenomenal power and speed of technology has had, and continues to have, such a positive impact on my life. I will continually improve my skills and broaden my experience as I pursue a global career.

(This article was written in March 2015.)
TITLE The value of design beyond formative art
Ryu Yamamoto
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
I studied architectural design as an undergraduate, but my grasp of the act of design was entirely intuitive and subjective. At KMD, I learned not only about giving form to objects, but also about creating experiences that users can gain through the objects. I was involved in a project on ‶media furniture,” where we used research and ideas about actual living environments to carefully formulate concepts and turn them into furniture prototypes. We then asked users to make use of these prototypes in their day-to-day lives, and verified the results. This process brought me back to the core questions of design: why is it that we build, and what exactly is design anyway? I currently work as a product designer for Fabrica, the research center of the Italian company, Benetton. I have been able to show my work at Milano Salone and other international exhibits. The training I received at KMD provided me with a foundation for my design activities. I am now hard at work in Europe, and my activities are based on the understanding I gained at KMD of value of design in aspects that cannot be reached just with formative art.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE Everything was completely new, that was especially why each day was fresh
Aya Okabe
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
At KMD, I was involved in a project called “OIKOS” where I researched the design of a service that allows people to easily enjoy their family photographs. I was in the Faculty of Economics as an undergraduate, and majored in international trade and development economics. At KMD, my previous research and experience was not an issue. I was allowed to take on completely new fields in which I had no prior experience. It was very interesting for me to interact with faculty who were themselves active in a wide variety of fields and willing to cross over the walls between laboratories and research areas to provide guidance. It was also very fun to remain on campus late into the night consulting and laughing with members of my project and other projects too as we did our research. (It was tough at the time though…) Today, I work as a consultant. I don’t know if I’m particularly suited for it or where exactly the satisfactions lie, but each day is something new and fresh, just like it was when I was at KMD. I encounter people from many different industries and endeavors, and there is always something that I don’t understand. I am still not sure where the future will take me, but I do know that I want to continue to advance and always search for the opportunity to take on new challenges.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE Experience is everything
Yuta Takeuchi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
I was in an information engineering laboratory as an undergraduate, and I’ve always enjoyed using my hands to build things. At KMD, I was part of the “Reality Media” project, where we brought engineering approaches to manufacturing. At first, I just thought that we would have a lot of fun building things, but the Reality Media approach gave me fresh, new perspectives about working back from human perceptions to design the experience that you want to provide and incorporate it into a system. My research focused particularly on virtual production systems in which people could copy and paste real-world tactile sensations to easily allow others to have the same experience. Our slogan in the project was “Demo or Die,” because it was virtually impossible to communicate what our research was aiming for without people actually experiencing it. Those words were inspirational, and we created many, many prototypes. Today, I work as a technical director and planner at an advertising agency. I still value the attitude that I learned at KMD that “experience is everything”.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE Combining the social with a personal sense of mission
Kensuke Fujishiro
Japan
CAREER Enrolled April 2011; Completed master’s degree in March 2013
As an undergraduate, I majored in architecture, but at KMD I studied service design in a project called “Social Entertainment/Bouquet.” KMD is an environment of great diversity in terms of age, fields of endeavor, and nationalities. It is also a place where you can gain a wide range of experiences. The most vivid impression that KMD made on me was the chance I had in the GID Program to experience startup culture in San Francisco and global careers in London. While still a student, I established a design office called “prsm”, and that is what I do today. I use the principles of service design to design “spaces” before the buildings are put up. I am also involved in Global Shapers Community and TEDxTokyo, and I work as a KMD researcher. In the future, I want to take on more global projects, investigating what design can accomplish as I combine the social with my own personal sense of mission.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE The possibility to acquire new skills and apply them in practice
Jan Rod
Czech Republic
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed doctoral degree in February 2013
I was majoring in Philosophy and Media as an undergraduate. In KMD, my field of research was Urban Computing, and I was involved in a project called ‘Navinko’. What I liked about KMD was great group of people that come from all around the world with strong interest in Japanese culture and great staff to support the students in realizing their dreams. The most impressive point at KMD is the possibility to acquire new skills and apply them in practice. Currently I am working as an interaction design researcher to pursue innovation in interaction design of the highest quality in my future.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE A fulfilling environment
Annisa Mahdia Pratiwi
Indonesia
CAREER Enrolled in September 2010; Completed master’s degree in September 2012
In KMD, my research was to create a collaborative documentary film production supported by an advanced technology in the “Growing Documentary” Platform. The project was under the PMP Project and I successfully collaborated with other institutes around the world. My favorite memory of KMD was how all the professors were so helpful and so keen to discuss almost anything. Besides, the facilities impressed me a lot, from the technology to places to hang out, and all were supported! I currently work as a center manager at a school for autism and special children in Bogor City ‒ Indonesia, and freelance as a TV program producer and as a graphic designer. In the future, I wish to finish my documentary project for autism awareness.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE Maintaining a strong will for creation
Fabien Delmotte
France
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
I am currently working for an ad agency as an art director. As an undergraduate, my major was international business. At KMD, I conducted research on 4K digital cinemas; I enjoyed collaborating towards a common goal with people from various backgrounds and experiences. The work I achieved at KMD wasn’t significantly impressive, but I strongly believe that it was a necessary step toward what I am working on today. I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know I dearly hold the will to create. I will remain committed to creative activities to convey ideas and emotions to others.

(This article was written in March 2014.)
TITLE Creating services and products I believe in
Daisuke Ishikawa
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
My individual style has remained consistent since I entered KMD. I believe in creating things I personally believe are wonderful, and yet what I create should be loved by my friends and accepted universally.
For my project, I made LED lighting that changes the ambience of human habitats in everyday life. My interest was motivated by the contrast between special and ordinary moments, a contrast that has been part of Japanese tradition from ancient times. Considering the traditional contrast, I focused on how lighting affects our lives in contemporary Japanese houses. For example, we should be able to change the lighting as well as the table setting when we have a dinner party. This goes far beyond pressing a button to light a room. In the same sense as changing a table cloth, dishes and preparing foods and drinks for guests, I invented lampshades that change lighting. When changing lampshades, tone and lightness/darkness of the light also change accordingly.
In a later project, KMD classmates and I set up a new brand called ‘semi (cicada)’ under the concept of extending the lifetime of designed products. We have designed and sold products such as bags and gadget cases made from old department store banners and ads. This project is still ongoing after graduating from KMD, fulfilling our challenge to set up successful businesses.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE Realizing projects that impact people’s lives
Wei Liang Lin
Singapore
CAREER Enrolled in September 2009; Completed master’s degree in September 2011
I studied industrial design and worked for a design consultancy for several years, however, I wanted to do more than just sketching and making mock-ups. I wished to create innovative products. Whilst I was thinking of setting up my own business, I found KMD and decided to go back to study.
At KMD, I joined the Reality Media Project run by Prof. Masahiko Inami. I did a project called ‘Phantom Runner’ to record a runner’s performance and let one’s past “phantom” run alongside the runner to track improvement. I also researched sensors and human computer interaction designs.
Now I work for a company called T.Ware and am involved with design research and development. I developed a product named ‘T. Jacket’ for children with autism and other sensory needs. Right now I’m developing other wearable haptic products for new markets.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE Ultimate goal of my research
Tomonari Nomura
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
In my twenties, I set up a couple of new businesses. I experienced success and failure and found that being a manager and entrepreneur is extremely hard. I realized that I wanted to be part of the new media field that is impacting society. KMD was one of my motivations in the search for a new career.
Entering KMD, I wanted to work on projects that would be good businesses after graduation, however, when I joined a project led by Prof. Ichiya Nakamura, I realized that research on digital textbooks could have a great impact on society. The project was about organizing a consortium to develop digital media environments for primary school education. I never had an interest in this field before, but my indifference was because the Japanese educational system uses a one-size-fits-all approach, rather than supporting individual differences. At the same time, I developed a platform of distributing music as a personal research project.
Right now, I work for a US research company and analyze digital media and mobile phone markets. I work together with other analysts overseas and conduct projects abroad.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE Design research aimed at practical use in the real world
Yuichiro Kage
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2009; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
At KMD, I designed an application for the iPhone called Navinko and studied its practical use in research to make walking and riding a bicycle more fun. Now I work for a company called Recruit Life Style and design new user interfaces for software used by private users and companies. My experiences at KMD were invaluable and gave me the foundation for my current work.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE Working by hand and thinking simultaneously
Takuya Isogai
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2010; Completed master’s degree in March 2012
I studied Art History as an undergraduate. At the same time, I was involved in fashion design businesses in relation to brand management. My passion was to grasp how design itself operates in connection with society and this was the reason I decided to study at KMD. I researched medical service design at KMD, collaborating with a hospital and a medical institution. I accompanied nurses, made prototypes of services, and tested them thoroughly on the premises.
I currently work for a company, Recruit Life Style, and am responsible for setting up new services for clients as an engineer. My experiences at KMD, such as learning to understand conditions on the premises, along with using my hands and thinking at the same time, serve as the foundation for my current work.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE My experience at KMD as a foundation for becoming an entrepreneur
Akihiro Ichimura
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2010
I was really impressed by KMD faculty members’ marked individuality when I attended a KMD information session. I felt strongly that the KMD “Real Project” would be my key to compete in society. At KMD, under Prof. Sam Furukawa and Prof. Hiro Kishi. I learned methods of analysis and the ability to take action to realize projects. The Real Project requires us to conduct field work research in the real world. By listening to users’ voices and figuring out their actual needs, we design and provide useful services. It is not too much to say that my experience in the project at KMD has become my foundation now.
After KMD, I set up a company called Live Styles Inc., where I manage and operate a system ‘tixee’ that sells tickets directly to smart phones. Tixee provides a platform for small event companies, who normally do not use major ticket agencies, but are now able to sell tickets easily.
KMD is a unique approach and learning experience, different from an MBA program and other graduate schools. I developed a large network of people, including classmates and faculty. I still keep in touch with professors and look forward to meeting more people who will change the world together.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE The great importance of working together and working by hand
Chihiro Sato
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2010 / Enrolled in April 2010; Completed doctoral degree in March 2013
I was studying piano in New York during my childhood days, but for my bachelor’s degree in university, I studied economic geography; analyzing structures of urban cities. My passion, however, was to create something new with my own hands. I decided to join the first batch of KMD when I first noticed it on the poster on the Yamanote line. Even though I was barely able to use a laptop computer in the beginning, I learned to develop a system to build up a virtual map of my own interest using a portable device with multiple sensors, thanks to the great support by the project team members. I realized the importance of supporting each other as a team, to keep challenging and not to give up, and to create something new with our own hands. The process of creating something new was not just fun but painful as well, yet I decided to continue my studies as my Doctoral degree.
As my Doctoral works, I returned to my familiar passion of music and set up a project using music for designing environments. In the first year, my team and I worked on creating prototypes and proposed our project to various potential clients. After several presentations I met a partner company to work together with, and it was the moment I felt my research come to fruition.
Currently, my research is continuing with a shopping complex, working as the project director of the design of spaces, paths, and routes by using sounds to encourage customers to come and purchase goods in malls. My aim is to create a new design style of shopping malls that actually works in the business field.

(This article was written in March 2013.)
TITLE My Experiences in the Real Projects Continue to Serve Me Well
Daisuke Horiguchi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2010
I chose KMD because I wanted to use my undergraduate research in the real world. The opportunity to participate in a real world project made it possible.
At KMD, I joined the “Policy Watch” project under Professor Hiroyuki Kishi. We created a video site that asked experts in politics and policy to explain policy and political trends to young people over the Internet. We worked with other media like “MSN Sankei” and “Diamond Online” to expand our viewer base and improve our recognition. We even expanded beyond the net. Each year we have an event where users can meet face to face and form a stronger community.
One of the best things about KMD is being involved in projects with people who have business experiences. Most projects are very successful because the members’ different backgrounds add depth to the project.
I launched “Exim LLC” before I graduated from KMD. Our slogan is “using new media to design new experiences”. We focus on new media development, web design, and web consulting. My experience in the KMD Real Projects build, handle, and fix. I am confident that if you repeat this process enough, you will create something great, and that confidence is an enormous asset. At Exim LLC, our design focuses on integrating the “three elements” of web, real interactions, and other media. We also try to ensure that the two basic elements of entertainment—value and convenience—are achieved. This is what I learned in the Real Projects, and I create new products and services with this I mind. I hope to create media and experiences that bring smiles to users’ faces.

(This article was written in March 2012.)
TITLE My Experience at KMD as a Foundation for Contributing to the World
Mizue Hayashi
Japan
CAREER Enrolled in April 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2010
I studied architecture as an undergraduate. I was involved in a project to design a hospital that provides care for the terminally ill. As I worked, I realized that the design of the physical structure restricted the experiences available to the patients and their families. This raised many questions in my mind. I decided to get involved in service design at KMD and to focus on design that can adapt flexibly to people’s lives, in particular.
I joined the “Medical Project” under Professor Naohito Okude and did fieldwork in collaboration with a university hospital, doctors association, and local practitioners to identify the challenges faced by local health care. For example, I accompanied doctors who provide home medical care on their visits, observed what they did and tried to identify the latent issues that the doctor, patient, family, and others were perhaps not yet aware of themselves. I then applied the design thinking approach to analyze my findings and designed an application to encourage collaboration among everyone involved in home medical care, as well as a web service to support patients after their discharge. We established a consortium in partnership with companies and began to roll out the services that we designed to the general public.
I currently work in an NTT lab in a group that wants to utilize the data collected in M2M interactions (communications between computers) for the betterment of the community and society at large. Right now I am analyzing the features of group communications and developing the technologies required to facilitate and energize real-world communities. In the future, I hope to develop technology for the health care and nursing fields, and to use that technology to create services.
The knowledge I gained at KMD has given me the foundation from which to achieve my goal of contributing to the world.

(This article was written in March 2012.)
TITLE Ability to Provide Solutions from Design Perspectives
Dore Gustavo
Brazil
CAREER Enrolled in September 2009; Completed master’s degree in September 2011
Before I enrolled, I was involved in marketing in Brazil. At KMD, I worked under Professor Masa Inakage and Professor Naohisa Ohta in the “Event Production” project. When Professor Naohito Okude launched a project on “Media Furniture”, I joined it too.
In the “Event Production” project, we researched new methods for events that use technology to increase the satisfaction and enjoyment of participants. There were many people from outside KMD involved as well, which gave me a valuable opportunity to interact with the Japanese business community. From my 2nd year onward, I concentrated on the “Media Furniture” project, where we used design thinking as the starting point for the creation of “furniture that can be used as media.” I studied both design and programming, but the most valuable part was learning to think like a designer. Among my best experiences after completion has been the realization that, when confronted with obstacles in my work, I can provide solutions from the perspective of a designer. KMD attracts interesting people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It expands your ideas and gives you a great network.
I currently work for Sony in product planning for the “VAIO” line. Next year, a new generation will be launched, and they contain some of my ideas. Manufacturers are always looking for new ideas and processes. I hope to use the design thinking process that I learned at KMD to create new methods for innovation in media.

(This article was written in March 2012.)
TITLE It’s Real, and that’s What Makes it Exciting
Marlin Lao Tambowon
Indonesia
CAREER Enrolled in September 2008; Completed master’s degree in March 2011
After I completed my undergraduate studies, I wanted to attend an international institution that focused on education. I chose KMD for my Master’s because I was interested in education that makes use of multimedia and information and communications technology (ICT).
In the “Global Education Project” under Professor Keiko Okawa, we worked in collaboration with School of Internet Asia (SOI Asia) to research remote education and e-learning over satellite-based Internet. I learned with whom to collaborate on a global scale to provide support to people in remote locations. I built on that to create a project to use story formats to teach Portuguese to elementary school children in East Timor. We opened a portal site to create a structure for cooperation with Portuguese speakers located around the world.
The best thing about KMD is the experience of Real Projects. Rather than just books and computers, you get out into the real world for your research and you create concrete products and services. The fact that it is real makes it that much more exciting.
I am currently a junior project assistant in the “Engineering, Science Technology and Informatics Unit” (EST). I work in cooperation with universities in the Asia-Pacific region to create e-learning and remote education services at the higher education level. In the future, I want to continue to be involved with international organizations creating educational opportunities for developing countries. I hope to contribute to the reform of the educational system in Indonesia, my home country.

(This article was written in March 2012.)
TITLE Working with such a Wide Range of People Improves Your Social Skills
Lan-Lan Ma
Taiwan
CAREER Enrolled in September 2009; Completed master’s degree in September 2011
I had always wanted to be involved with people from different cultural and professional backgrounds in Tokyo. I enrolled in KMD because I wanted to improve my skills in marketing and project management as well as my social skills.
At KMD, my studies focused on project management and human-computer interaction (HCI). I participated in the “CUTE Center” that examined the relationships between toys and digital life. In our project, we used an SNS platform to design the “Pettymo” interactive toy. Our goal was to improve safety for children online as well as in the real world.
I now work at HTC, a smartphone manufacturer, as a producer in the design studio. My job is to oversee the entire lifecycle beginning with concept development, and to provide simple, clear explanations of product concepts and requirements to the design, development, and quality assurance units. I look forward to increasing my depth of understanding in areas such as user experience design, mobile interfaces, and communications design. I also want to study how mobile technology can be used in human resources development and childhood education.

(This article was written in March 2012.)