| published by MONO MAKERS MEET


Story of MONO JAPAN x NN Life
MONO JAPAN has been realising and supporting collaborations between Dutch creators and Japanese makers for years with a clear vision. Since 2021, MONO JAPAN started supporting the NN Life’s program called “Craft Runways”, which facilitates creative collaborations between these two countries to develop new products for the European market.
The program in 2021 was held with the Dutch designer duo BCXSY and Matsui Kigyo (silk weaving company) and in 2022 with the designer Carole Baijings and Akira Maeda (wood sculptor).
The program of 2022 has been extended further and they plan to introduce their new products in 2023 at the Japanmuseum SieboldHuis and the MONO JAPAN fair, and in April 2024 in Milan.


Hands-on support for collaborations
Within the online platform, we host the “MONO MAKERS PROGRAM” which will provide hands-on support for the collaboration between makers to create a new product. The members can seek a collaborator and communicate within the platform. When there is a mutual wish to collaborate from two parties, the pair can apply for this hands-on support program.
The focus of this program is to create a new product for the European market, that embodies the quality of Dutch design and Japanese craftsmanship. To achieve this goal, NN Life and MONO JAPAN will give hands-on support to the selected pair during one year, until the end of March 2024.
The pair can present their collaboration in September at the MONO JAPAN fair in 2023, and there will be opportunities to show the outcomes in March 2024 in Tokyo and also in September 2024 in Amsterdam.


Application period: Monday, 1 May 2023 (from 16:00) – Friday, 9 June 2023
Deadline of the open call:
23:59 (Amsterdam, GMT+1), Friday, 9 June 2023
Announcement of the pair:
mid-June 2023
Hands-on support period: mid-June 2023 – end of March 2024

After the selection, the pair will meet online and further develop their plan (June – August 2023). The Japanese party will then, accompanied by other Japanese members of the MMM community, visit the Netherlands. The pair will meet each other in person during the MONO JAPAN fair, where they give a presentation and attend our network meeting for all the members of MMM.

The pair will collaborate from June 2023 till March 2024 to develop new products. There will be an exhibition opportunity in Tokyo in March and later in Amsterdam. The details will be announced later.

Introduction of the organisers

NN Life Insurance Company
Since the start of Japan operations in 1986 as the first European life insurance company in
Japan, NN Life Insurance Company has been providing products and services to maintain
and preserve the value of small-to-medium sized companies. As part of our support for the
next generation, we are implementing a program to assist the successors and young
managers who will be the future of Japan’s small and medium-sized companies, Our
“Family Business Innovation Lab” program is being co-hosting with two local NPOs.

Japan Cultural Exchange
Japan Cultural Exchange (JCE) is the owner of the MONO JAPAN fair and the web shop MONO SHOP. The first MONO JAPAN Fair took place in 2016 in the Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam. Since then, more than 70 Japanese participants have exhibited their works with our support, most of them for the first time in Europe, and numerous collaborations between Japan and the Netherlands were born. In November 2019, the owner of JCE established a NPO “Stichting MONO JAPAN” to organise cultural activities and to separate these activities from the MONO JAPAN fair.

MONO MAKERS MEET is supported by the the Embassy of The Kingdom of The Netherlands and NN Life Insurance Company.


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