Kyoto, the ancient city of Japan and one of the world's leading cultural cities garners widespread attention in the months of March-April as tourists from all over the world visit the city to experience the season of cherry blossom and symbolic historic shrines. By mid-April, as the trees shed their blossoms, a different vibe envelops the city. Kyotographie, a unique international photo festival, which OMRON has been supporting since 2015, brings together awe-inspiring exhibitions from Japan and overseas with purpose-driven themes igniting mixed thoughts and emotions among visitors. This year, which also marks the completion of 90 years of OMRON's founding, Kyotographie opened with the theme, BORDER.
A simple word 'Border' has profound connotations attached to it and makes us draw parallels with OMRON's history. After founding Tateisi Electric Manufacturing Co. (now OMRON) in 1933, OMRON founder, Kazuma Tateisi crossed the borders of Osaka in 1944 to settle in Kyoto. Mr. Tateisi was charmed by the scenic beauty of the 'Omuro' neighborhood surrounded by hills & historical temples and chose to live there. Subsequently, he scouted for a factory location in the vicinity of home and coincidentally Omuro during that time was also known as 'Hollywood of Japan' owing to the presence of many film studios which were left vacant during war. In 1945, Mr. Tateisi opened a factory in Omuro, Kyoto which later inspired company's name to be changed to OMRON. Today, as we look back at OMRON's history and close ties with a place famous for producing motion arts, it is quite fitting that we collaborate with initiatives like Kyotographie.
Mr. Kazuhiko Matsumura, Photojournalist, Kyoto Shimbun who participated in Kyotographie 2023 as one of the exhibitors with support from OMRON is on a journey to realize a society where qualities like empathy and sensibility are valued. Matsumura through his work aims to bridge the borders between events and people who have little or no knowledge of them. In Japan, where ageing population is becoming a serious issue with an increasing number of cases of dementia, he wants the society to be more compassionate towards people with dementia. "The culture in which knowledge and cleverness reign supreme is an old culture. Instead, we should create a society that values sensitivity. If that happens, issues like ageing & dementia will no longer be a bad thing. With my theme 'Heartstrings', I want to portray what the heart of a person with dementia is like through photographs. The pictures don't just convey symptoms but also feelings that lie beyond them. I want people of all age groups to get involved as we all have parents and grandparents who could be affected by this", explained Matsumura.
Matsumura's exhibition brought attention to the fact that in our quest to create a better world we should not leave behind people who need a little support and care. The theme truly represents what OMRON stands for as an organization and one of our key values being 'Respect for All', we endorse his appeal. Another important point which Matsumura highlighted is adopting sensitivity. OMRON founder always believed in the importance of honing senses to predict the evolving needs of society. He had interests in painting and music and always remained ahead of his times which is evident from his written SINIC Theory. The founder's legacy is now being carried on by his son, OMRON Honorary Advisor, Fumio Tateishi who through his missionary dialogues with employees all over the world talks about honing sensitivity by cultivating hobbies. In one of his recent interactions with employees, the honorary advisor quoted, "When future is uncertain, it is important to catch the signs of change as soon as possible and a sharpened sensitivity can help achieve it."
Times have changed, social issues have become more complex, technology has evolved but one thing that has remained consistent is OMRON's determination to create a better world for the current and future generations. We will continue to source inspiration from our Principles and Values which even though drawn by our founder decades ago continue to stay relevant in the contemporary world. We also seek to collaborate with individuals and entities who share the same enthusiasm to serve society and mother earth in their own unique ways.