Japan Business Report 2018

Presented by

Discovery Reports

Kodenshi reinvents business to support smart societies and improve lives

Japanese optoelectronics and sensor technology specialist creates new and innovative products that support smart cities, vehicles and lifestyles

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2018, 3:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2018, 3:11pm

[Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports]

Smart technology is making inroads into people’s daily lives – from technology-enabled homes to data-empowered urban environments that improve the economy, the effectiveness of institutions, and the well-being of citizens. Thanks to optoelectronics and sensor technology specialists such as Kodenshi, the potential for technology that enables smart societies is rising.

The leading optical semiconductor maker is keen on creating new and innovative products that support smart cities, vehicles and lifestyles. Found within a variety of modern applications such as cellular phones, cameras, digital home appliances, printers, copiers, robotics, office and plant lighting solutions, and smart car navigation systems, Kodenshi’s patented and long-lasting components are developed in collaboration with clients. Its solutions are also competitively priced and eco-friendly, featuring energy-saving robotics user interfaces.

“Originality is our pride,” says Hirokazu Nakajima, CEO, chairman and one of the founders of Kodenshi. “We create things that do not exist yet. Times and demands change, so we also continually update our approach.”

Nakajima’s entrepreneurial vision guides the company’s growth and constant reinvention. As the first company in Japan to develop industrial processes to create solar cells and photodiodes, Kodenshi evolved from being an original equipment manufacturer into a respected original design maker.

It is trusted by some of the world’s top technology companies including Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Epson and Toshiba. With technological and industrial expertise spanning more than 40 years, Kodenshi is eagle-eyed on future opportunities in the field of optical semiconductors.

“We started with inventing solar cells,” Nakajima says. “Using a process of traditional Japanese craftwork, we created unique products based on these solar cells. We embarked on further development, producing optical components until we were able to bring down our costs. Gaining momentum, we rapidly grew and we continue to build the company by producing pioneering products that are useful to the world and that make customers happy.”

Responding to clients’ highly technical requirements is at the core of Kodenshi’s mission. Its goal is to improve the overall quality of life, so it focuses on the effective use of software resources, including artificial intelligence, apart from the hardware for sensors. To illustrate, a regular sensor is usually designed to look at just one area, but Kodenshi sensors can read a whole environment. Its staple merchandise – the optical photo-sensor – satisfies the various demands of consumer electronics and industrial equipment makers. Characterised by advanced optics, circuit and machine-worker design, Kodenshi photo-sensors also meet the growing interest for high speed and short wavelength traits required by next-generation DVDs and other media products.

“Our customers trust our technical expertise,” Nakajima says. “They trust us to manufacture their product components. They also depend on us to redesign their concepts if necessary. We have the know-how to make clients’ products better.”

Kodenshi seeks partnerships with universities and research institutions to expand its knowledge and to steadily create brand new approaches. The company views collaboration with clients, governments, technology purveyors and various start-up companies as key to fully realise a smart society.

Laying the groundwork for rich originality to thrive, Kodenshi established the Device Techno Center in Kyoto. The research and development (R&D) centre aims to sow the seeds of new technology that will lead to the production of more high-quality, environmentally friendly products quickly and at reasonable prices. Kodenshi is optimistic the concept of a smart society will soon be acknowledged, and even pursued globally. It is ready to serve through its manufacturing in Japan and China, and research facilities in South Korea.

“The development in China is very rapid – particularly the innovation and evolution, complemented by a big market with many smart people,” Nakajima says. “We welcome new business partners and R&D collaborations that focus on upholding smart societies and improving lives.”