19．How can we come up with unique ideas that nobody has thought of yet?
Susumu Namikawa, a copywriter from Dentsu, has started an experimental website called WITHOUT MONEY SALE. He lists items such as a delicious-looking Kishu umeboshi (pickled plum, a Japanese delicacy) that cannot be purchased with money. Instead, he gives it to people in exchange for writing a helpful review or sharing a good photo of the product. The theme differs from month to month, but there are various items that are available only to the people who reply. With the slogan "There are things that money can't buy" on a dark background, the site has been deluged with eager visitors. I think that this kind of trend will also be important in coming up with new currency value.
How can we come up with unique ideas that nobody has thought of yet? I believe that this will be our strongest marketing tool. Sony used to be advised by the late Masaru Uchida, an editing genius. When he became the editor of a magazine for young men in 1965, he sought to maintain the magazine's edge over rival magazine Sunday by publishing the manga "GeGeGe no Kitaro" by Shigeru Mizuki. At that time, manga was a new medium. It was pulled into the spotlight by artists such as Mr. Mizuki, a multi-talented creator of rental books, plays and picture-card shows, along with Kazuo Umezu, the author of "Makoto-chan", and Takao Saito, the author of "Golgo 13". Mr. Uchida said "Manga used to be a snack but now it's the main meal!"
20．Opportunities lie in back streets and detours!
Master the ability to come up with unconventional ideas
Of course, Mr. Uchida's decision to promote an author with absolutely no previous connection to young men's magazines began with an idea. Mr. Uchida had also produced manga such as "Star of the Giants" and "Ashita no Joe", but he then had the idea to create an original manga that had never been seen before. He realized that sharing the drawing work with the author would make it possible to create a story at a more professional level. Mr. Uchida's position was that manga was a real medium, not just a hobby. He produced several more manga after this, such as "Tensai Bakabon", but through it all he stuck firmly to the principle of "The road less traveled leads to flowers". This is a quote from an investor who was not famous at all, and seems to mean "If you want to make money from investing, buying the same shares from the same company at the same time as everyone else will just reduce the shares' value. The opportunities lie in back streets and detours." These ideas have tended to be called unconventional, but I think you need to master the ability to look outside of the places where everyone else is looking, and adopt the mindset that there are interesting things out there.
21．"Your stories are interesting, but none of them come up on Google"
Finally, I want to tell you to start revolutions with ideas. We have tried all kinds of new things, from trying for the Kimura Ihei Memorial Photography Award from the small 3.5-inch world of a flip phone to commissioning bestselling author Mariko Kikuta to write a 365-day picture book ("Happy Cycle", sponsored by Pantene), making comic art from Fujiko Fujio (A) and selling it on BEAMS and trying for an international anime award with a deco-mail anime ("Ho-Ho" by Masanori Okamoto). Instead of seeking only to make money, we have focused on contributing to society in creative ways. When I started the Tiger Mask Fund, I made a Tiger Mask stamp on LINE and donated all of the proceeds to underprivileged children through the fund. I was constantly told that digital media was just child's play, but "i-mode" and smartphones are also digital media and these became recognized as "legitimate" by adults.
But this does not mean that I am a "digital supremacist" – in fact, I place a lot of importance on my "unsearchable life". There have been times when I've had a lively chat with some less experienced members of the IT industry and they've said "Mr. Fukuda, your stories are interesting, but none of them come up on Google!" I'd be more surprised if all the details of my life were on Google! (Laughs) Then again, if Google had been around since the time you were born, you could be forgiven for thinking that all the details of your lives would be on there. But when we're interested in a particular place, we do want to see it for ourselves. We may get hurt or end up in danger at times, but I think that trying to figure out what those things mean is part of the fun of life.