Having spent much of his working life flying between the United States and Japan, Nobuhiro Seki decided he would use his knowledge of the two countries to act as a bridge between them. In 2015, he co-founded FabFoundry, a small company based in New York that provides a platform for American hardware startups to meet with Japanese manufacturing firms. One of its main goals is to promote the spirit of monozukuri beyond these shores.
"Monozukuri" is a Japanese term describing the craftsmanship concept held up as something that's almost ineffable and untranslatable. It literally means to make things, but in reality it goes well beyond that; it's more like a philosophy with an emphasis on quality, attention to detail and kaizen (continuous improvement).
After the economic bubble burst, there was a hollowing out of the Japanese manufacturing industry, which led to the creation of the Monozukuri Kondankai (consultative council on monozukuri) in 1998 — a government effort to promote the supremacy of locally made products after competition on price with neighboring nations became fierce. Though somewhat successful, Seki believes that from a global perspective, Japanese manufacturers have the potential to spread their wings further to attract more interest from abroad.