U-ZO co., ltd.(Mitaka City)
U-ZO Co., Ltd. is a company located inside the Mitaka Sangyo Plaza in Mitaka City, Tokyo. They were the first in the world to succeed in broadcasting live coverage of aurora from Alaska and putting it into practical use. We visited the event venue and interviewed Mr. Yuzo Koga (photo), the president of the company, who was participating in “Live! Aurora” of the “2014 exhibition of Aurora from space.”
We started our business in Yoyogi Uehara as a sole proprietor “U-ZO” in 1999, and were incorporated in Suginami Ward as “U-ZO Co., Ltd.” in 2004. In 2006, we moved to Mitaka Sangyo Plaza, which was built as a core project of Mitaka City City Centers Revitalization Basic Plan, and started our own project, “Live! Aurora” the same year.
Being the first in the world, broadcasting live aurora received a high reputation, including the quality of science communication contents, and I was awarded the Japanese Association of Science and Technology Journalists Prize as a youngest awardee in 2008, and the Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology in 2011. Currently, we hold aurora live broadcasting events at various science centers and media, and are well received.
By utilizing skills from various fields and experiences in content creation and marketing analysis, we continue to challenge in realizing things, which typically end up only as ideas and dreams, into a tangible reality. For example, in our attempt to broadcast live aurora, which was not possible before, we researched and developed ideas and products that never existed in the world, such as the development of “Super ultrasensitive TV camera,” which accurately captures delicate lights emitted by aurora, and the formulation of “live distribution of full color video broadcast” with smooth video movement and no frame drops. In addition, since we do not stop just with development and complete all the way to operation, we can receive valuable feedback such as customers’ response. We were the first in the world to succeed with live broadcasting at the planetarium dome, and we also put it into practical use. To this day, these skills and experiences have become precious assets for the company that can be applied to other projects. As a recent example, we worked on a project, requested by NHK, called live broadcast of starry sky.
For that project, we handled every aspect of the technology, not only the video techniques, such as with cameras, but also the delivery of real-time videos from Nagano, the shooting location, to Tokyo. We consider this as an example of bearing fruit to our confidence, “If we can broadcast live aurora, we can do anything” and our attitude, “Realizing dreams with engineering and ideas.”
The reason why we moved to the current location, Mitaka Sangyo Plaza, was because we were looking for an office in a public facility where we can gain trust, as negotiation with domestic and international association became necessary at the onset of “Live! Aurora”. Moreover, there are many optical manufacturers and facilities related to space and communications near our current location, such as National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), and opportunities to collaborate with them are increasing. We have been located in Tokyo since the beginning, and we cannot imagine being located in any other place than Tokyo, where people, information, and possibilities gather. In terms of technology and operation, there are big merits to this location, such as the ability to easily find and contact partners. In addition, we have been working on research and development of the next generation network technology and development of Japan Space Weather Information Center in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and NICT, and we believe this was possible because of being located in Tokyo. We would like to be a company that continues realizing dreams with technology and ideas.
Address: 4F, Mitaka Sangyo Plaza, 3-38-4 Shimorenjyaku, Mitaka City, Tokyo