Maywa Denki is an art unit by Novmichi Tosa. It is named after a company that his father used to run. The costume design takes after the typical working uniform of Japanese electric stores, symbolizing the small/medium-sized enterprise that supported the Japanese economy during its high-growth period. Its unique style is indicated by a term he uses: for example, each piece of Maywa Denki's work is called “a product” and a live performance or exhibition is termed “a product demonstration”. The products produced so far include the NAKI Series, fish-motif nonsense machines, the TSUKUBA Series, original musical instruments, and the ARCLASSY Series, proposal of a Maywa Denki life-style. As well as products and instruments, Maywa Denki has produced its Toy Series, including the Knockman Family, an easy-to-play toy for everybody. As an activity outside the scope of Maywa Denki, Novmichi announces Edelweiss Series, flower motif object art.
Maywa Denki’s products started with the NAKI Series in 1990 when Nobumichi Tosa came across the personal question, “Who am I?”. He adopted the following methods to try to solve this:
“Compare yourself to a fish, and the world to a small sea where a fish lives, then, ask yourself ‘Who am I?, finding the answer from the point of view of that fish.
With the theme of ‘one item=one message,’ create a product to express the answer.
Give each one of 26 products an alphabetical model number.
Examine the results as a whole and feel the total image of one’s self.
This process is just like fishing. The fish (=the idea) swimming in the sea (=chaos in one’s brain) is landed onto the real world with the fishing technique (=reason) and fishing tackle (=mechanical engineering skill).
Nobumichi tried to understand the undersea world (=himself) by analyzing the 26 fish caught in the sea.“
Because of the current diffusion of IT devices, such as samplers, synthesizers, and personal computers (Internet), music has been separated from “substance” (=a musical instrument) and is now considered “information.” The style of enjoying music has changed, and as a result, people talk about music like: “I know such a maniac song,” “I can remix the original song like this,” or “I have a lot of music data.” People take pleasure in collecting “information on the music” that can be heard only through the speakers.
Tsukuba Music is designed to draw people’s attention to the fact that “live musical sound is created from a substance,” this is what music used to be, although it has been totally forgotten. The Tsukuba Series is played by the movement of motors and / or electromagnets at 100V and makes a sound by practically beating/knocking a substance. The challenge involved here is to revive the sound of live music with the power of the machine There are three important elements in the production of the Tsukuba Series:
> 1. It is run at 100 V,
> 2. Sounds are produced with no speakers (acoustic instruments),
> 3. The style of play is ridiculous.
Na-Cord is an electrical extension cord complete with fish head (male end) and tailfin (female end). It is one of Maywa Denki's signature pieces.
The fun sounds wind-up figures of the Knockman Family make are amazing, but understandable when you consider that these "one instrument per character" toys are actually spin-offs of the musical instruments built for Maywa Denki. has an eardrum, a brain, nerves and big fist on his right hand. He will knock on his head, and if you put them in a series, they will knock on each other’s heads.
Coron. Is his arm position ready for dancing? Then wind the spring on his back and let him start dancing and playing the sound!! It makes him happy, Coron, coron , goes the sound, while he shakes his bottom and dance!
Cha-Cha. Hold the cymbal and wind the spring on top of his head. Release your hand and the beat starts Chap Chap Chap…stretching his neck and swinging his heart and ail.
Bitman is a portable display electronic device. Bitman does various dances, depending on the interaction with his owner. When the alarm goes off, Bitman will dance to music to wake up his owner.
YUREX™ is a collaborative project between Maywa Denki and KAYAC. In Japan the nervous shaking of one’s leg is called “Binbo-Yusuri" and considered a sad habit. "Binbo" means "poor" in Japanese. But actually it draws out your inner beat while you concentrate. YUREX™ is the first device that enhances your concentration and your creativity by capturing and visualizing your “Creative Beat Pattern”.
Otomatone is a music instrument, which looks like a tadpole (in japanese otamajakushi is often linked to notes because of the shape). Everbody can play it by tapping or sliding the finger up and down the neck and by squeezing the face at the bottom to close or open the mouth, producing different effects.