• Together with Kanema- Master of the Art of Sight and Perception. Auction at the fish market is a single bout game. A sense of trepidation lingers in the air.

    ”目利きのカネマ” 魚市場での入札は一瞬の勝負。背中に背負った緊張感に声をかけるのも憚られるほど。

  • Desiree- the city girl capturing the subtlety of messages from the local companies and meticulously taking them down. On the other hand, Danis conjures up images of the abstract with his creativity and imagination.


  • We stood in the production line for the shipping of seasonal bonito, and buried our heads in the work. This is a moment where differences in nationality and tongues do not matter. We united as one- as Team Kanema.


  • “Maintaining trust and providing the freshest are Kanema’s main principles,” the stoic men of few words revealed to us as night fell.


  • The exchange of words between the two designers is reduced to the minimum as we entered the design process. They displayed a nonchalant sense of professionalism as they let their work do the talking.


  • A place with memories for the third generation of Kanema. A place with new lights and hope. A place with sceneries that convey Kanema’s stories. A place turned into a key design feature for Kanema.


KANEMA / カネマFish Distribution and Seafood Processing / 鮮魚卸売・水産加工

Kanema is involved in the distribution and sales of fresh fish such as tuna, swordfish and bonito caught in the Kesennuma ports, as well as the processing and sales of seafood products. Kanema recovered quickly after the Great East Japan Earthquake and also established “Jamon Marino”, a brand of fresh ham made from seafood, in an attempt to revive the sea town of Kesennuma back into its heyday.


Door to asia gave experience that i never forget. This 12 days program allows me to meet other people and designers from another country where i could learn more about each individual working culture, mindset, and thinking. I have learnt so much during the program especially about the local culture, the people, the food and also understands how people are surviving and struggling in Tohoku area post Tsunami disaster. Language barrier sometimes is a problem but thankfully we have Mai San from DTA in to translate and interpret every conversation.

The company chosen is Kanema based in Kessenuma . It’s a fish distribution family business that has been passed down to generations. This is where i learnt that it needs a really good eye selecting the best fish from million fishes in the market. The owner call it Mekiki, not everyone posses this senses, and this is why Kanema always select the best quality fish. Not only mekiki, details in every packing are to be considered in the company.

Kanema‘s businesses was impacted by the Tsunami where the owners told us stories how they struggled and built everything anew. I couldn’t help but admired how they were able to stand up and built their community until it is flourish again. Despite their challenges from natural disasters and economic instabilities, the people were still opening their hearts to foreigners such as us, treated like just part of their families. Warm smiles, friendly hugs and best local delicacies were given to us whole-heartedly. It changed how I perceived people and I thank for that.

There are challenges faced by company both in macro & micro level. It was explained that the local demand towards fish (in japan) are decreasing as the market is changing. Our group proposed to expand the market internationally, developing the quick serving instant food for the market, and creating a campaign of ‘Mekiki’ to preserve and archive the tradition of Kanema. Identity standarisation is necessary for international market, expanding their reach to other country than Japan, so at first we design a new look internationalized version of Kanema, the identity we proposed features a storyline a “Relationship between the Fish, City, and the People”. We draw a keygraphic that illustrate the city of Kesenuma this also to promote the city to the international market. QuFi is a new product range for millennials designed by Desiree contains vegetable + fish soup targeting to health-concerned new generation. And the third, “Mekiki” is a campaign (presented in micro website format) to promote Kanema indirectly, to show people the process of fish selection, what’s so good about eating fish, and also telling stories about Kanema.

In many parts it needs to be further refined on how to execute the ideas in the most practical, cost effective, and also to check the feasibility whether the company is ready and to pick which one is the most urgent part. My real purpose for these project is to give an idea to the company that market is always shifting and everyone needs to adapt, the world is so much bigger so there are always opportunity for everyone to set sail, expand the market outside their own shallow water, it’s the spirit of the fish to venture.

These solution designed in merely a few days and it was a challange for the designers too. Rest assure, brain juice is always thriving on looming deadlines so embrace the deadline, appreciate any pressure. While i always keep to remind myself and everyone else that challenges are what make life somehow interesting.


What designers believe is that we always pursue every possible opportunities to explore and broaden our perspective of the relationship between the art, beauty and people. During these 12 days, I definitely went through a whole new experience to redefine how design affects people's behavior. Frankly, before the program, I was insecure about how to produce good-quality design which has enough influences in such a short period of time. However, once the program started, all my concerns had gradually been disappearing. Thanks to DTA team, they organized the program in a very nimble way that helped me to quickly immerse myself into the Tohoku community.

It was never easy for me to image the real situation in Tohoku cities after the tsunami disaster. However, The DTA team arranged several activities to assisted the designers to understand a general picture of the disaster area. In Rikuzentakata city, the instructor explained the urban reconstruction plan at the information center where contains tons of images and texts narrate the entire story before and after the disaster. I was impressed while the instructor told us his new-born baby is a symbol of the future to connect different generations and create the unique bonding in the local community. That was the moment I realized that, as a designer, our mission is creating a bridge between young generations and the local people. Moreover, during the workshop which was hold by Ayumi, I could feel there were lots of pure and vivid energies from the local children, when we made the design work together. Yukino, the girl who likes to play the basketball, was my partner. She told me “I want to come back here after I graduate from the university. Because here is my hometown.” She looked determined and you might forgot the real age she is as a 14 years-old girl who has such strong bonding with her homeland and family. It reminds me, as a designer, how I could make more people to empathize with the local people who identify themselves with the local environment, culture and history.

With the following days, finally, here was the matching dinner with the local company. I was fascinated by the conversation with Kazu San, the owner of Kanema. He is the third-generation owner who specializes in fish purchasing and products. The whole journey began by visiting the early fish market where is the main location for the fish industry in Kesennuma city. Danis, Mai and me followed Kazu San to witness how the fish bidding works and the professional techniques to select the best quality of Bonito (smaill tuna); It's the tradition embedded in Kanema's company philosophy: Once you acquire the ability of Mekiki, you're good to go. "Mekiki" is an artistic concept that describes the professions are able to precisely distinguish the quality of goods in a short period of time. It was also presented at the moment that Kazu San made the decision to purchase a huge tank of Bonito simply based on a piece of fish sample from the same tank. We had substantial lessons with Kanema during three-days homestay in Kasennuma city. Not only knowing how Kanama operates, but also the vision that Kazu san values the relationships between Kanama and the local community.

When I worked with Mai and Danis, I felt both energetic and comfortable at the same time. Mai is a wonderful coordinator who delicately knows the distance between people. She always reminds me of the Japanese culture and how to read the air around. That's why I felt comfortable when I worked around her. Danis is a professional designer who can produce high-quality design efficiently. I enjoy the moment when we discussed the structure of the final presentation. He exactly knew what we needed and approached the target amazingly. Once I knew his design apporacing, I could take another path to different directions and made the proposal as complete as possible. Therefore, I decided to expand a new product line "QuFi" that attempts to arouse the young females to have a new lifestyle of consuming fish products. As a female designer, this is also the fish product I would like to have in my daily life. A design only comes into existence when it becomes designer's' desire. That's why I believe "QuFi" could activize the existing product lines and expand the new markets.

Everything happened so fast in 12 days that I couldn't capture each moment perfectly. However, the most beautiful thing is how people cherish their cultures, nature and relationships. I was so touched to see many local companies are willing to rebuild the system back to the disaster area. This vitality is what I want to maintain and keep when I'm back to Taiwan. Thank you, DTA team, all the designers, Kanema people and everything back in Tohoku. We will eat shoyu soft serve together someday.