Naniwa’s “King of Collaboration Goods Invention,” who has also won the “Trendy Word of the Year” award, talks about his ambitions | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Naniwa’s “King of Collaboration Goods Invention,” who has also won the “Trendy Word of the Year” award, talks about his ambitions

The president of a hot company that has collaborated with various companies in the Kansai region to create a series of hit products reveals his ambitions.

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President Minoru Inamoto surrounded by the products he has been working on. In his hand is his signature product, “Discovery Manju,” which was chosen as the winner of the “Ryu-Youwa Taisho” award.

The manju with the word “discovery” inscribed on it in huge letters, and the liquid nori-like honey ……. An up-and-coming company that has been exciting the Kansai region with its ideas is attracting attention.

The man behind the idea is Minoru Inamoto, president of Heso Productions (Osaka Prefecture). The company uses real containers for “Arabic Yamato,” a liquid glue, to make “Hachimitsu Arabic! Yamato” and “Magic In XX”, which contains various flavors of furikake (sprinkles) instead of ink inside of magic ink.

Inamoto explains the secret behind the company’s constant buzz since its founding in 2014.

The first collaboration he worked on, “Tobidashi! Umaibo ya”. The company has also developed a variety of other collaborative products, including socks and towels.

The first product I worked on was a collaboration with “Pop-up Boy. The first product we collaborated on was a signboard in the shape of a boy, which you may have seen before, warning people against running out into the street. Actually, Hisada Kougei in Shiga Prefecture holds the copyright. We used it on the package of “Umaibo” and marketed it as “Jump-out Umaibo ya” (laughs).

(Laughs.) Like this “Pop-up Umaibo”, there are companies that are well known but are not known to be from the Kansai region. By collaborating with such companies, we want to convey the message that “Kansai is doing its best. I am always looking for manufacturers who are making good products.

Since then, Inamoto has been involved in collaborations with other companies and sales of original goods. How does he come up with ideas?

Basically, it’s a cross-fertilization process. I like to think about how I can express myself in an infinite number of combinations. There is nothing unique about the way I come up with ideas. I just think. When I reach the point where I’ve reached my limit, I let it all go and think of something completely different. Basically, I repeat this process. I think about it all day long, while eating, while working, and so on.

The elements of multiplication are not limited to products. For the “Discovery Manju,” which attracted a lot of attention, he was particular about the place where it was sold.

We decided to sell it in department stores operated by railroad companies because it is a product that ironically expresses the Abe administration. I thought that if I could break down the LDP-leaning railroad industry, it would spread more widely. Of course, there were some companies that wouldn’t let us finish the project. I said, “We can’t do it. They said, ‘We can’t do it, no matter how well we know it’s selling. I thought to myself, “This is really a discovery process. (Laughs.) I think the fact that we can plan everything ourselves, from planning to sales and marketing, is a strength that other companies don’t have.

According to Inamoto, “It was the biggest buzz I’ve ever had. Yamato,” which Inamoto says is “the most buzzed about product to date. It took a year to launch the product, which was made with such attention to detail as the use of authentic containers.

The product was also subjected to criticism. The “Honey Arabic Surprise! Yamato” was criticized even before it went on sale, with many people saying, “It looks confusing, so what if someone accidentally swallows it? Stop selling it now!

Even before it went on sale, there was a storm of complaints. I was afraid that Yamato, who produced the product, would lose heart. I consulted with the company. But the president was very patient, so we were able to launch the product. When we started taking reservations online, 1,000 units sold out in three minutes. It became a big hit. You have to be willing to take risks to create a hit product. This has been my belief ever since before I started the company.

Unafraid of criticism, Mr. Inamoto has been giving shape to his ideas one after another. Finally, he revealed his ambitions for the future.

Since the company was established, we have had the theme of producing companies in the Kansai region,” he said. However, about two years ago, I started to feel a stronger desire to bring good Japanese products to the world. From now on, we will collaborate with various companies not only in Kansai but also throughout Japan.

The challenge continues to bring smiles to people all over the world.

  • Photo Kei Kato

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