“Japanese computer graphics: Challenges and opportunities” by Herr, Ikedo, Naito and Saimi

  • ©Laurin Herr, Tsuneo Ikedo, Kazuo Naito, and Shohei Saimi




    Japanese computer graphics: Challenges and opportunities



    PANEL COORDINATOR’S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Japanese interest in computer graphics in the past has been led by users whose needs have been satisfied primarily by U. S. sources. However, as the Japanese market has grown, domestic players have emerged, especially commercial production companies and venture-type hardware manufacturers. In the world of commercial production, this trend has been spurred by the cross-cultural difficulties and expenses of trans-Pacific projects, as well as the new accessibility of computer graphics production technology. In the hardware field, this tendency has been fed by rapid Japanese advances in semiconductor memories and color monitors. Growing Japanese strength in computer graphics is important to the international community for several reasons. First, it confirms the viability and sales potential of the domestic Japanese market. Second, it increases competition within Japan. Third, it will probably increase competition outside of Japan as well. Fourth, this competition should stimulate development of superior products at a lower cost, yielding considerable benefit to users. Fifth, there will be many new opportunities for internationally- minded distributors, systems builders, software suppliers and R & D groups. Finally, if approached correctly, Japan can be a source of fresh aesthetic and technical input. During the past few years, many Japanese have made extensive efforts to learn everything they can about computer graphics. Numerous foreign experts have been invited to Japan to lecture at conferences. The Japanese themselves have criss-crossed America visiting major computer graphics installations. At Siggraph’82 238 Japanese registered for tutorials and technical sessions and many more attended the hardware exposition. Japanese press coverage was aggressive. This panel is an attempt to balance the information flow by offering Siggraph attendees an opportunity to educate themselves about Japanese computer graphics. CHAIRMAN’S INTRODUCTION: While the Japanese electronics industry in general has been dominated by a few large firms, the computer graphics industry in Japan has been led by a number of small, venture-type companies offering original technology and close customer support. They are self- sustaining and not part of so-called “Japan Inc”. Currently, there are quite a number of these firms with a relatively high level of hardware and software expertise. This knowledge base has been developing for some time. For example, in association with some of the earlier companies, the Tokyo Raster Computer Graphics (TRCG) Project was begun in 1968 to develop a raster system capable of displying 4096 colors concurrently. The partial results the TRCG research were reported at the first Siggraph Conference held in Boulder, Colorado in 1974. This panel will examine progress since that time. The panelists were selected to fairly represent the people behind the development of Japanese computer graphics companies who significantly influence industrial strategies. Each panelist will briefly describe his involvement in computer graphics, views of the world market, and areas of current interest in terms of future product development. General discussion of differences and commonalities among the panelists will follow the presentations. Questions from the audience will be encouraged.

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