Tokyo seems like such a perfect fit for Maker Faire, and it is. Nine years ago, in 2006, O’Reilly Japan started producing Japanese-language versions of Make: magazine and later Make: Books like the bestseller Getting Started with Arduino. Then, in 2008, they began hosting what they called “Make: Tokyo Meeting” twice a year. These were free events held mainly in universities where Makers would share their projects in gyms, cafeterias, and classrooms. The first Make: Tokyo Meeting featured 30 Makers and drew 600 visitors. By 2011, at the seventh event, there were 260 Makers and 12,000 visitors. Below are images from the first and second Make: Tokyo Meetings.
In 2012, in response to the overwhelming community interest and support, O’Reilly Japan hosted the first full-fledged Maker Faire Tokyo. The growing mainstream popularity of desktop 3D printing and the Maker Movement drew 9,000 visitor to view 240 Maker exhibits. By 2014, the number of attendees had grown to 13,000, as evidenced by the shot below. This year’s Maker Faire Tokyo, taking place on August 1 and 2, will held at the expansive Tokyo Big Sight.
Maker Faire founder Dale Dougherty snapped a series of photos and shot video shorts at Maker Faire Tokyo 2014 to compile into this 14-minute video. He shares, “I hope you can see what makes Maker Faire Tokyo special are the Japanese Makers. They combine technical skill with a very playful mindset that I find engaging and fun.”
We chatted with Hideo Tamura, editor-in-chief of the Make Division of O’Reilly Japan, to gain more insight. What effect has hosting a Faire had on the Japanese Maker community? Tamura says:
“We believe that our nine years of continuous work has contributed to the Maker community in Japan. Before starting Make: Tokyo Meeting, there were already experienced electronics hobbyists rooted in Akihabara, within the DIY robotics and DIY instrument communities, as well as Maker artists and researchers in media arts or interaction fields in Tokyo. The biggest change is that Make: Tokyo Meeting and Maker Faire Tokyo have provided places to meet other field communities, and then they started collaborations. Also, another benefit is that some engineers and other Makers who visited the Faire returned as exhibitors, finding Maker enthusiasm and the joy of making at the Faire.”
One of the greatest things about Maker Faires is that they are direct reflections of the unique Maker community within which they’re hosted. What uniquely defines the Japanese Maker community? Tamura concurs with Dougherty and adds: “As you know, Japan has a long-nurtured tradition of manufacturing and craftsmanship. Detail-oriented, tiny, but multifunctional are words describing projects in Japan. Dale calls them ‘Bonsai electronics.’ In my opinion, Japanese Makers love humor and uniqueness in particular.”
We’ve shared many images from past years of Maker Faire Tokyo. Below is a small sampling of the faces and projects. For more, view our full slideshows of the 2014, 2013, and 2012 Faires, as well as the last 2011 Make: Tokyo Meeting.
Must-See Attractions at Maker Faire Tokyo
Coke Zero and Mentos Fountains
At long last, EepyBird‘s crowd-favorite Coke Zero and Mentos fountains will spray science and fun in Japan!
Hebocon is “a robot sumo-wrestling tournament for those who don’t have the technical skills to actually make robots.” As the promo video here asks, “If one crappy robot and another crappy robot fought, what would happen?” So awesome!
JP of High Energy Technology Lab displayed his DIY Tesla coil at the first Make: Tokyo Meeting when he was a high school student. After seeing JP’s Tesla coil, Bakuon Jikkenshitsu, a junior high student, started building his own. JP and Bakuon will exhibit their Tesla Coils side by side this year.
Workshops for Young Makers
In the Makerspace area, there will be lots of fun workshops for the mini Makers at the Faire. Kids will be able to learn to make flying objects out of propellers and rubber bands and, of course, learn to solder.
Another workshop teaches how to make an LED-lit Japanese fan. Sponsored by AgIC, makers of markers, paper, and printer cartridges for making circuits, kids can learn how to make a simple circuit to light up their paper fan.
Then they can be mesmerized by the sounds of the Slime Synthesizer, a collaboration between Yumi Sasaki and Dorita.
DIY Music Summer Party
The lineup includes:
We wish Tamura and the O’Reilly Japan team a wonderful Faire this year (taking place on August 1 and 2)! For all the information you need to join the fun, head to the Maker Faire Tokyo site.