Even as a company of only about 60 staff members, Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. is a precision optical instrument manufacturer with one of world’s most advanced technology, such as space exploration, medical instruments, and solar energy. We have visited the headquarters in Mitaka City, Tokyo, and interviewed Mr. Katsushige Nakamura (photo), the President of the company, which continues to receive an array of awards, such as Prime Minister’s Award and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Award for the Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award, product and technology development category.
Previously known as Mitaka Kohki Factory, we established Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. in Osawa, Mitaka City in 1966, and built an additional factory in Nozaki, Mitaka City in 2006. Since our establishment, we have continued to cultivate our high technological skills as a precision optical instrument manufacturer, handling mainly astronomical instruments such as astronomical telescopes and observational instruments installed in rockets and satellites. In 1983, we participated in the Space Science Laboratory’s SEPAC Plan, and our specialized camera (photo) was installed on the Space Shuttle Columbia. In addition, our instruments are equipped in other various probes and sixteen observation satellites. From 1990, as a business applying space exploration technology, we advanced into the field of medical devices. Our overhead positioning stands (OH stands) for brain surgeries have received high marks by neurosurgeons around the world. Afterwards, from 1996, we started to develop industrial machines, such as non-contact 3D measurement instruments, and from 2001, beamdown solar thermal system.
As a true manufacturer, we believe that we are a company who can “realize an idea” by “observing the site carefully.” We wish to continue being a small-size company with a big-company feel, by being a “manufacturing company” that accurately understands the needs of customers and possesses a sophistication of skills. It has been 20 years this year since we developed a cooperative relationship with the Germany’s global optical manufacturer, Leica. We started to develop neurosurgical microscopes on a full scale when Leica approached us for advice after they started to become overwhelmed by their rival companies in the medical field. Our product, with the use of proprietary techniques, has been loved by physicians from around the world due to its user-friendliness and high functionality during surgery, and now, it has more than 50 percent of the market share. Recently, we have developed and productized a medical technique, which only illuminates cancer cells, and this has already been delivered to the Department of Neurosurgery at Tokyo Medical University. In addition, we have been actively working on research and development of alternative energy. As a recent example, we succeeded in developing “Beamdown solar thermal device,” which collects solar light and generates energy by using high temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius. This device is attracting attention from the Sunbelt regions.
Since our establishment, we have been located in Mitaka City, Tokyo, and we have grown along with the related facilities and companies, such as National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan and National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, which had been the start line of the numerous products we have developed to date. Being one of the most advanced precision instrument manufacturer, we cannot be located anywhere other than Tokyo.
The biggest reason is that in Japan, the cutting edge information, both domestic and international, gathers in Tokyo. For example, when a medical symposium is held in Tokyo, we can hear the voices directly on site from the physicians around the world.
After all, listening to the voices directly from the field becomes the best “idea” for manufacturing. Since we also engage in various industry-academia joint research, it is necessary to be located in Tokyo, when we take into account the abundance of our collaborators and the accessibility. As a “manufacturing company,” it is our sincere desire to make an effort in developing products that can contribute to the world.
|List of major awards received|
|2005||Award for Excellence, Tokyo Venture Technology Award|
|2005||Award for Excellence, Courageous Management Award|
|2007||Award for Excellent Products, The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers|
|2007||Certificate of Appreciation from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for the contribution to development, launching and initial operation of lunar orbiter “Kaguya”|
|2008||Intellectual Property Achievement Awards, Japan Patent Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry|
|2009||Award of Excellence and Special Award on Techniques and Management, The Twenty-first Award of excellent new techniques and new products for small and medium enterprises |
|2009||Prime Minister’s Award, The Third Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award, Product and Technology Development Category|
|2013||Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Award, The Fifth Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award, Product and Technology Development Category|
Address: 1-18-8 Nozaki, Mitaka City, Tokyo