Japan-Scandinavian Collaboration joining Business, Education and Research

Game Hub Scandinavia has established collaboration with companies and universities in Japan. Two teams of students are visiting Japanese game companies during the spring, as part of their dissertation projects. Members of the Game Hub Project have recently visited Japan to meet students, companies and to strengthen the collaboration with universities and companies.

Tobias Karlsson and Henrik Engström from the University of Skövde visited Japan the last week of February. The visit included meetings with the students, potential partner universities as well as company contacts.

One of the highlights on the trip was the meeting with Dr. Kurabayashi and his team at Cygames research. Cygame is one of the largest game companies in Japan and their research division has a strong profile both in terms of innovation and academic research. They have a close collaboration with Keio University, which is one of Japan’s leading universities. Two undergraduate students from Skövde are localized to Cygame research in Tokyo to work on their dissertations. During the visit, the students, Tomas and Marcus, presented their project, which involves using technology developed at Cygames.

Travel report: Japan images - discussing research in classroom
Discussions after the presentation held by students from Skövde at Cygames research.

The visit also involved discussions about future research collaboration between Cygames, Keio University, and the University of Skövde. As a first step there will be efforts to publish joint studies at a research conference.

Travel Report from Japan - Group photo of researchers from University of Skövde and from Cygames
Dr Kurabayashi (the front row, second from left) and his staff at Cygame research, together with faculty and students from the University of Skövde.

The second company visit in Tokyo was at Worker Bee where two students are located. Due to the Covid19 outbreak the company had to switch to teleworking which obviously affected the internship. We managed to meet with Yuji Kato and Junko Kato and discussed potential future collaboration.

A very inspiring meeting was held with professor Mikami at the Tokyo University of Technology (TUT). The School of Media Science at TUT is a leading academic environment in Japan with a focus on games. They have 1,200 undergraduate students, 30 faculty members and a close collaboration with the game industry. TUT is a very interesting potential partner for Scandinavian game researchers and educators.

Travel report from Japan - group photo of Tobias Karlsson, Professor Mikami and Henrik Engström
Tobias Karlsson, Professor Mikami and Henrik Engström

In addition to the company and university visits, there were also several inspiring meetings with developers and practitioners. This included Makoto Goto who runs one of Japan’s few serious games companies; Masatoshi Tokouka who is a game designer and game journalist; and, Kensuke Shimoda who is a game designer and indie developer.

Many attractions in Tokyo were closed due to Covid19, but we managed to arrange a visit together with the students to one of Tokyo’s owl cafés. This was very different to most other cafés…

Travel Report from Japan - Group Photo taken in an Owl Café, Japan
Students and faculty from the University of Skövde together with ‘Sweet Roasted Chestnut’ and his companions at the Owl Café.

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