The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: Japan

What’s in a name? Government regulation, that’s what

I was researching names that have fallen into disuse, and suddenly the regulation of names came up in the search. I decided to look up how China and Japan regulates what names are permitted for newborns, trying to find out what is or isn’t permitted.

China

Apparently there’s no restriction to what names can be used, as long as a computer is able to reproduce the character. Thus, according to Wikipedia, “(it) is not illegal to name a child after a famous celebrity, company, or product, as copyright and trademark laws do not apply to personal names.”

However, while there are over 70,000 Chinese characters available to choose from, only 32,232 are supported for computer input. Thus people with characters that fall outside of this 32,232 have names that run into problems when these people try to register for ID.

Japan

Japan takes a more stringent approach to naming one’s newborn, and restricts character usage based on readability and taste. “Only kanji which appear on the official list may be used in given names. This is intended to ensure that names can be readily written and read by those literate in Japanese. Rules also govern names considered to be inappropriate; for example, in 1993 two parents who tried to name their child Akuma (悪魔, which literally means “devil”) were prohibited from doing so after a massive public outcry.”

 

Umbrella innovation

Looking at the umbrella, when was the last time any real innovation has been done to it? You open it, and it shields you from the rain; it’s about as innovative as sliced bread. It seems as though it is a product that can be improved no further. But the Japanese has come up with an innovation to make it better:

After using an umbrella, folding it up, one usually has a wet umbrella that might get one’s own bag or pants wet holding it close. Japanese product design firm H Concept has unveiled the: UnBRELLA, an inverted umbrella. Closing the umbrella by inverting it, only the dry part is exposed. The umbrella even stands on its own when not in use!

From Spoon & Tamago,

“It’s been nearly 10 years in the making since I originally conceived the idea,” revealed Hiroshi Kajimoto, the industrial designer who spent roughly a decade improving the umbrella. “I’ve finally created the UnBRELLA – an upside down umbrella truly required upside down thinking.”

The question is, will people be willing to pay for innovation? The new umbrella – slated to go on sale February 2014 – costs 9450 yen (about $95).

The question is: will it withstand the crazy winds of New York City? If the winds blow hard enough and it inverts, is it considered broken?

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