Hello, I’m Deguchi from Chitose.

On a warm spring day, warblers will be singing near my home all day from early morning until the sun goes down. Sometimes, there will be one that can’t sing well which is adorable, and makes me think that every living creature has their own struggles while living.


From the sites in Southeast Asia – Cameron Highlands (Part One)

20% of the members in CHITOSE GROUP are from Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei). The situation at this moment is one where the main area where large-scale businesses are expanding is in Southeast Asia. So, the feelings from those involved in the hands-on business can only be told from the site in Southeast Asia! I can’t always go there to conduct an interview, so I decided to ask our members who are doing their best at the site to write about it by starting the series “From the sites in Southeast Asia”.

The 1st part is about Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, the production base of “Chitose strawberry”. Kataoka will provide us with information from the site throughout the next 5 months.

At the welcome party for the new members. The one who looks the most enthusiastic in the photo is the writer for the Cameron Highlands series, Kataoka.


・Drinking liquor and be overwhelmed by people. ←This issue
・The forever fall season Cameron Highlands. (Scheduled for Vol.62)
・People at the front line of strawberry production. (Scheduled for Vol.63)
・Defeating the local pests! (Scheduled for issue vol.64)
・Things that I want to try in Southeast Asia, beyond being a producer. (Scheduled for Vol.65)


Drinking liquor and being overwhelmed by people

“Yoh, mari sini, minum, minum (Yosuke, come here, drink, drink)”

I went to the restaurant next to the office as I was called by a low threatening voice. A red table cloth which for the Chinese means good luck is laid on the round table, and there were already more than 10 beer bottles that were empty. And in the middle, a 3L brandy is standing there as if to rule the place. Some men, who were only a little younger than my father, around 60, were surrounding the round table and already pretty mellow even though the sun is still out. A glass was handed over to me as soon as I showed up, and whiskey or brandy was poured into it. And we shouted “Yam seng! (Cheers)”

This is Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.

Old friends from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore come here often.


Our office is in an area of the Cameron Plateau where Chinese farmers get together. Fortunately, there is a Chinese restaurant beside and when the vegetables are expensive, the economy is good here. So, we often see situations like this on the weekends or during public holidays. But there are no people that are around my age or younger. Every time I get invited by them to drink together, I always realise that I am living in the culture that they have developed.  We don’t usually talk about business while drinking, but they are always a reliable helper in terms of business or when I’m having troubles in daily life.

Also, farmers’ breakfast time is an important social place. I show up at breakfast time when I want information, and someone I ask will call out to people who come to the place one by one and a variety of information will gather. There are some unexpected stories in it, but we can know about the farmer or their acquaintance’s experiences and mostly they are worth listening to.

*Author:Yosuke Kataoka(Chitose Agri Laboratory Sdn. Bhd., BioEngineer)
Working in the mountains of Malaysia on Borneo island for 2 years after joining Chitose, and thereafter be in charge of Southeast Asian agriculture project in producing “Chitose strawberry” mainly in Cameron Highlands.

To be continued in the next HOTTOPICS

Click here if it’s your first time hearing about “Chitose strawberry”
Malaysia made “Japanese Quality Strawberries” seek to build the future of agriculture in Asia

By the way, we are often told that “Chitose is a company for algae” or “Chitose is a company for Disparity Mutagenesis” in Japan. However, Chitose is recognized as a “strawberry company” mostly in Singapore or in Malaysia. Representative Dr.Fujita’s daughter (8 years old) thinks that her father owns a strawberry store.


Listening to Kenshi Yonezu’s song Lemon’s “ウエッ(Ue)” and thinking about self expression through work.

The most read article of Dr.Fujita’s series on the WEB media since it started last year is probably this which was released to the public just the other day.

NewsInsight’s series “Tomohiro Fujita’s Hissatsu Shiwakenin” Part 5
While listening to Kenshi Yonezu’s song Lemon’s “ウエッ(Ue)” (Japanese only)


Your idea about the song “ウエッ(Ue)”, the big hit song which most of you must have heard at least once before, might change after reading this.

Sharing the real intention secretly(?) taken from Dr. Fujita’s Facebook below.


The official intention
I wrote about my enthusiasm for the new age on the starting of Reiwa.

The real intention
I was pissed off at something, and to calm down I wrote this in 30 minutes .


Our new members

I would like to introduce 8 new members that became our colleague since April!

Y.K.(Business Development Division):
I used to hear that Dr. Fujita and my husband played soccer in the same team since their school days. But I’ve never seen Dr. Fujita before. When Dr. Fujita plays and supervises, the team somehow always win even though there is a gap in their abilities. The opponent team cries with regret, “why can’t we win this weak team?”. I can’t forget the refreshing experience playing soccer with Dr. Fujita, he said. So, I had an expectation that there must be team work  with wonderful members, chemical reactions, and storms of innovation every day where Dr. Fujita is the leader in the company! I decided to join here so I could discover the new me and experience the unknown while being charmed by this magic. It started when my husband recommended me by showing Dr. Fujita’s Facebook which says “We want someone who can do this”. I got to see Dr. Fujita from the rumors only 20 years later since I first heard about him! And I can’t stop the excitement from thinking about the work I’ll do in Chitose.


Tomohiro Yoshimura(Research and Development Division):
The reason I decided to join Chitose is because I thought Chitose is a sincere company. To solve social issues for the future of the earth by applying techniques or observing creatures with such a sincere attitude and bringing them into the world. I felt that people who can be excited to challenge something in front of them are cool. And the impression hasn’t changed since before I joined here. I feel that it is a little laughable for me to join a place like this company, but I want to do my best so I can do something for the world with a sincere attitude to creatures and the society.


Takumi Matsuzaki(Reserch and Development Division):

I like living creature since I was a child, and I would run around in nature to find creatures almost everyday. I became interested in the possibility of small creatures such as animal cells or microbes while i was in University and started thinking of handling small creatures in a job.

Chitose was a perfect place to me because Chitose aims to make future sustainable businesses using the natural power of living things. Also, the flexible environment that requires challenging many things, might prompt the growth in myself.

In fact, I’ve already had a valuable experience in a site full of nature, taking part in the algae business in Malaysia, Southeast Asia (there are so many surprising things happening here). I’m willing to do many kinds of “something” I don’t really know using my personality to enjoy things as a weapon.


Takuma Nishio(Reserch and Development Division):
I majored in chemistry at University and worked on enzymatic function modification or constructing heterologous gene expression. Making the microbes to make something that I want is hard work and it’s difficult to gain good results, but I had fun coming in contact with them. I would spend time to think about the resources such as “what can I do for those to make them better” or “what is it that I must not do” which decides the main theme for the “enzyme”. By spending time researching in University like that, I thought I want to get a job with something related to microbe and I tried to look for the right place for me during my job hunt. And what I found was the breeding technique of Chitose Laboratory. If I could know more about microbes through the breeding business and moreover, by extracting the unknown power of microbe, built it into the society, that will make me proud not just as a researcher but as a human being living in the society. That’s how I decided to enter this company. First, I want to be able to hear the “voice” of the microbes.


Yoko Komiyama(Reserch and Development Division):
I used to work in a company for two years after graduating from aUniversity of liberal arts, but I went back to studying in another University. The reason was because I thought “I want to acquire expert knowledge or skills that could be valuable anywhere”. And I majored in food science and nutrition because I like to eat. I found out about microbiology there and went to Graduate School so that I could have a job in this field. Afterwards, I found Chitose while job hunting.

I once read an article that the reason why there is diversity in human is because it’s one of the survival strategies as a creature, therefore it is OK that there are various kinds of human beings because we don’t know what characteristics are profitable or what environment it will be in the future. I feel the atmosphere of “respecting those that different from me” in Chitose. There is a phrase “managing living things” on the website too. The basics about working in Chitose is “admitting to the diversity of living creatures, and the most effective individual must demonstrate one’s ability in a certain environment”, so I think the business we are in is creating this atmosphere. Here, I’m not saying that I want to be accepted. I want to be a “person who has diversity” with depth and many pieces in personality, and also I’m thinking to increase chances to play a role in work.


Takashi Kaieda(Reserch and Development Division):
During my Graduate School research, I mainly studied about human epithelial cells and cancer cells. It’s difficult to handle cells because each cell has different character, which I find exciting and made me want to get a job that handles cells. I saw Chitose Laboratory’s website while job hunting and decided to send my CV. I was attracted by the firm’s policy which uses animal cells, and the idea of “constructing the system to utilize living things for humans while accepting the fact that it is difficult to understand all life phenomenon”. It has been almost 1 month since joining this firm and  I am almost about to catch the characteristic of cells which Chitose manages. First, I want to do what I am supposed to do while polishing experimental techniques, and then develop new ways so that these cells to live.


Kyuzo Katsuyama(Intern):
I’m working in Chitose as an intern while taking time off from the graduate school of Kyoto University since April.

Everything started when I saw the phrase in the homepage of Chitose Group, which Mr. Kawai,  Chitose’s member working at Laboratory of Fermentation Physiology and Applied Microbiology introduced to me.

“Embedding the seeds of technology as a profitable business into society.
“Biolizing every existing industry.”
“So that all human beings can live in abundance for the next millennium.”

What I saw on the homepage was what I was thinking about all the time in the laboratory. Even as an ordinary person I felt my heart beat just by looking at the company working seriously to make the phrases I secretly kept in my heart come true.. I quickly contacted Mr. Kawai and got an opportunity to talk with Dr. Fujita.

Thanks to Dr. Fujita’s multi-dimensional growing amplitude, I was accepted even as an intern.

I have 2 questions in my head all the time, since it’s been a month since I started working in April. One is, where am I and what am I trying to teach myself. Another is what is the essence to live by involving each other in society, company, organization, individual, and to microbe. The question came because of being in Chitose, where the way to live every day and the value of their own selves are judged by each individual. I think there would be value in contribution to Chitose and society by continuous thinking and performing.

It’s still far for me to exemplify the “Chitose-ism” individually, but I will dig away at my studies.


Information on Dr. Fujita’s lecture (A commemorative lecture for the opening of a business school & what will happen to the Japanese bio strategy?)

Dr. Fujita was called out to give a lecture at the KSP Business Innovation School’s opening ceremony in Kanagawa Science Park, where the main Japan base of Chitose is at.

5/20(Mon) The opening ceremony lecture of KSP Business Innovation School
@Kanagawa science park
http://www.ksp.co.jp/hrd/school/kinen201905/ (Japanese only)


Also, at “Festival of Technology, Technology NEXT 2019” sponsored by NIKKEI BP, we will conduct a keynote speech with the title “What will happen to the Japanese bio strategy?” with Mr. Akasaka the Policy Chief of Cabinet Secretariat. Dr. Fujita will talk about the facts and tasks of the Japanese bio industry, as a representative of the experts of bio strategy which is scheduled for this summer.

5/27(Mon) Festival of Technology, Technology NEXT 2019
Chances for new industries have arrived for precision equipment industry, manufacturing industry, and information technology industry!
Business opportunities of 200 trillion yen that bio economy and synthetic biology brings.
Keynote speech, What will happen to the Japanese bio strategy?
https://tech.nikkeibp.co.jp/cp/19/s/04/#TN27E (Japanese only)


Editorial Note

I got a full 10 days off during this year’s Golden Week.
I was consciously trying not to think about work because I can’t stop myself from thinking about work when I’m off guard. But, something I found at the parking lot of the place I was at reminded me about work.

This is the thing I found.


Yes, it’s called nostoc commune.

I think most of the people don’t recognize it’s existence.
I first found out about it by reading the article below written by algae girl Owari.
Maybe many of you have probably already seen nostoc commune before.

Algae girl Owari’s exciting algae hunt – Found on the roadside ! Catchable microalgae “nostoc commune” (Japanese only)


I feel my life is enriched when something out of my consciousness comes back to me through the stories I’ve heard or read in the articles, or by something I was involved in through work.

Just nostoc commune, yet nostoc commune.
It enriched my life again.