This Platform Matches Intellectual Property to Issues, Producing World-Changing Business Ideas


Mitsuyo Demura, Representative Director & CEO of Chizaizukan Inc., at their Nihonbashi Underground Test Site

[Publisher] ORIX Group

Creating world-changing innovative technologies is not the prerogative of large corporations. It does not depend on a company’s scale—in Japan, small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups often play a role.

Technology cannot change the world simply through its existence—it must be linked with issues faced by society. One solution will be followed by further issues to resolve, and repetition of this produces great incremental change.

Chizaizukan Inc. is a creative company that matches intellectual property and businesses, showcasing unknown technologies from around the world.

Mitsuyo Demura, an intellectual property “hunter” and Representative Director and CEO of Chizaizukan, discusses the perspective required to build the businesses of the future.

There is much wasted intellectual property around the world

What exactly is a Chizaizukan(in Japanese)?

Demura: Chizaizukan is a creative company that matches intellectual property (IP*1) with businesses. We are IP “hunters” who uncover technologies and products that, because of their high degree of specialization, were previously only known within a limited number of industries, and we present these in a concise and readily understood manner. In the roughly one and a half years since opening in 2020, we have gathered over 400 IPs.

As implied by the “zukan” (illustrated reference book) in our company name, a characteristic of our work is the incorporation of many visual elements, such as photos and illustrations, whereby we present unusual applications of IP in the form of fantastic visuals. Our aim is that, not only engineers and researchers, but also people in charge of new businesses, creators, and investors, will be inspired by Chizaizukan to conceive of a wide range of ways to utilize IP. When a variety of people contribute ideas from their perspectives, it is easier to conceive businesses based on IP.

*1 Chizaizukan’s work is not limited to patents, they use the term “intellectual property” to refer to the content of highly applicable technologies in general. See the following link for the legal definition of “intellectual property.” Intellectual Property Basic Act, Article 2 (in Japanese)


Chizaizukan Home Page

What inspired you to launch Chizaizukan?

Demura: Around the world, I saw many instances of technology that is highly imaginative, but that few people were aware of, and it seemed like such a waste.

Chizaizukan’s parent company Konel Inc. is a creative collective which touts the concept of “shaping desire.” It works on projects to implement future experiences by combining ideas with technologies owned by companies and research institutions.

Recently, people often contact us saying that they have developed ground-breaking technology, but cannot conceive of a specific use for it. We have connected many ideas and implemented them in society by digging deeply into society’s needs and the elements required to make more interesting products.

However, as we receive more requests and consultations, it became unrealistic for us to utilize all the technologies ourselves. We thought it would be good to create a platform to introduce wonderful technologies from the perspective of creators and to gather ideas for their application at the same time, and so we launched Chizaizukan.


The Nihonbashi Underground Test Site, where the offices and Chizaizukan and Konel are located. On display are prototypes created to date and various other ideas.


There is value in persevering with the process of formulating and deliberating over questions


What are the keys to commercializing new technologies in the future?

Demura: I think it is important to properly formulate questions, such as why the product or service is needed, and what social issues could be solved.

The world is becoming increasingly complex every day as people’s values diversify and science and technology progresses, intertwined with global environmental changes. In such times, there is no longer a single “right answer” in, for example, how to do business or resolve issues. Frameworks commonly used for many business issues, to streamline decision making, analysis, strategic planning and other intellectual production, can produce certain results, but a growing number of issues transcend such frameworks. Faced with a challenge, it is important to formulate an appropriate question and then seek a solution.

In light of this, I believe collaboration and co-creation will become more crucial than ever before. When the number of people involved in a project increases, it is often hard to form a consensus, but this is important to do because there is value in persevering with the process of formulating and deliberating questions. The more heated the deliberation is, the more meaningful it will be for commercialization, resulting in the creation of something better.

Also, I believe that desire is almost as important as the question. By starting from desire, it is possible to find the technology and the means to realize it. I feel that this approach boosts the impetus.


Demura: For example, recently we developed a product called “Yuragi-kabe,” a wall that trembles in response to wind. The impetus was by my desire to be closer to nature as I felt cooped up due to the increase in remote work.

The product uses a system that senses the wind outside and links the strength of the wind to that of an electric current flowing through electromagnets. This causes cloth containing metal to tremble. Even while indoors, you can visually sense the wind.


“Yuragi-kabe,” a product that enables you to feel the fluctuation of nature even in a space with no wind, using a row of electromagnet control boards covered with a special cloth.

“Yuragi-kabe” is a product conceived from a desire to escape from the anxiety of living in digital surroundings. We turned the issue into a question, “How then would the fluctuation of nature affect people?” The technologies needed to test this were electromagnet control boards and processing of cloth to produce trembling.

In this way, desire produced the question of how to achieve something, which launched the search for specific means. This is a different process to the conventional approach of manufacturing based on market-research. I think that when desire is the starting point, it is easier to create something edgy and appealing to people.

ORIX can be a platform for innovation

With your experience collaborating with many companies, how do you feel about the collaboration*2 with start-ups undertaken by ORIX?

Demura: I understand that you are investing, but beyond the financial aspect, I think the strength of ORIX is that it bridges a very wide range of industries and domains, and can therefore accelerate R&D.

Some of the challenges faced by technology-based startups include the lack of an arena or opportunity to experiment, or that their technology is too novel.

With the former issue, no matter how well the product works in theory or simulation, it cannot be launched until it has been thoroughly tested in the real world, where anything could occur. It is hard for smaller companies to achieve this in terms of funding and credit. With the latter issue, in relation to my earlier discussion about desire, if an idea is too edgy, it will only be used in a very limited way.

Given these circumstances, I think it is a very meaningful initiative for a major company to be able to use its innate strength and years of wisdom accumulated in a wide range of fields to provide a place for experiments and advice on how to channel ideas to be of use to a wider range of people.

Do you feel that ORIX’s asset is its ability to accelerate implementation of technology?

Demura: Exactly. Manufacturing startups in particular also face the challenges of mass production and market distribution. Even if they perfect a product, they be unable to find a factory to mass produce it, or to secure customers because they lack brand power. If they can collaborate with a large corporation, they can use the factories of affiliates and develop products leveraging the brand power and credibility of that company.

I said that Chizaizukan is a platform that matches intellectual property and businesses, but perhaps ORIX could be described as a platform for the implementation of ideas and innovation created through matching.


Lastly, what are the future goals of Chizaizukan?

Demura: As a comprehensive platform for IP, it would be ideal if we could create an online system that completes the matching process from the search through to contracting utilization. We will continue to help enhance the liquidity of IP to create products and services that will excite people.

*2 ORIX is presently advancing collaboration with start-ups Safie, which develops cloud video recording services, and Ridge-i, which conducts consulting and development of AI and deep learning technologies.

ORIX is expanding its business in cutting-edge fields in ways that transcend mere funding—by leveraging its assets, such as its sales network, ORIX assists R&D by connecting the technological capabilities of startups with issues faced in various industries and domains.


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