30 Years in Japan

Editor's note: This article is by IBM Research - Tokyo Director Norishige (Noly) Morimoto.

Opening in 1982, IBM's research lab in Tokyo was its fourth – and first in Asia. IBM saw Japan as an important market to invest in research where information science and advanced computer technologies were emerging as hot research topics for major IT companies. 

Past IBM Research - Tokyo Directors

1982-86 Hisashi Kobayashi
1986-95 Norihisa Suzuki
1995-2000 Kazuo Iwano
2000-04 Yoichi Takao
2004-06 Kazushi Kuse
2006-09 Hiroshi Maruyama

Hisashi Kobayashi, who was working at IBM Research's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, was appointed director of the new lab (initially called the IBM Japan Science Institute). Dr. Kobayashi placed a keen focus on natural language processing to develop a kana-kanji conversion program, and Japanese speech recognition and handwritten kanji character recognition technologies.

But the lab also expanded into computer science, engineering and manufacturing technologies – including image and graphics processing technology, kanji-input system, communication networks, software engineering, VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) design, parallel processing architecture, advanced workstation and artificial intelligence.

I am the lab's seventh director. And 30 years later, we're still making innovative moves -- sometimes literally. For example, in June of this year, we moved from Yamato City in Kanagawa Prefecture to a new office in Toyosu, Tokyo to be closer to our clients and partner institutions. Our science and technology team also just moved to Shin-Kawasaki (close to Tokyo's Haneda Airport) to advance research collaboration in nano-devices with The University of Tokyo.  

Today, our lab focuses on business analytics, industry solutions, and workload optimization system software. And we continue to develop breakthrough text analysis technology and accessibility technology.

Our text mining technology is used across industries such as manufacturing, finance, insurance, broadcast, telecommunication and retail. In the era of mobile communication, social networking and Big Data, we are broadening our accessibility research scope to study how analytics and collaboration technologies help advance the information access capabilities of elderly, illiterate, and disabled people to help them take an active role in our society. 

I look forward to what our lab will continue to accomplish for our clients and the world.

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