MRO Magazine

Popular Seki City Video “A what-if story” Revitalizes Local Economy

By Business Wire News   

SEKI, Japan

To promote broad awareness of its status as a world-leading blade producer, Seki City in Gifu Prefecture produced a promotional video entitled “A what-if story,” which was released on Seki City’s official YouTube channel on September 30, 2015. By January 27, 2016, the video had accumulated 227,554 views on official YouTube. The video has earned significant popularity in Japan, being featured on every major TV station as well as being written about on countless web media outlets.

Seki promotional video: “A what-if story” is available at

The promotional video is based on the premise of a fictional world where bladed instruments do not exist. It portrays the difficulties of several individuals experiencing the torment of living without five cutting implements that play integral role in our lives; specifically: kitchen knives, razors, haircutting tools, nail clippers, and wedding cake knives. Appearing in the video is a mother attempting to chop vegetables with her bare hand, a middle-aged man using packing tape to pluck his beard stubble, a hairstylist gnawing his customer’s hair off with his teeth, an entertainer mistakenly stabbing her fan with comically long uncut fingernails, and a bride and groom using fists instead of a knife in their wedding cake cutting ceremony. The video purposely avoids the appearance of blades until the end to viscerally convey how difficult life would be without them. The bladed instruments integral to each scenario presented are shown in the final scene, revealing to the viewer what was missing to make the characters behave so strangely.

Seki is one of the world’s foremost blade-producing areas and is counted among the “BIG 3S,” or top three blade producers worldwide, which consists of Seki (Japan), Sheffield (England), and Solingen (Germany). Seki is the backbone of the blade industry in Japan, accounting for an approximate 50% market share of shipped kitchen knife products, and an approximate 70% market share of bladed haircutting instruments. However, the fact that Seki specializes in producing bladed products was relatively unknown across Japan, especially among the younger demographic of 20 to 30 year-olds. This prompted the city to create the online video in an effort to overcome its low-profile. To communicate the concept of Seki as a world-leading blade producing to a broad global audience, rather than just to Japan, verbal expressions were avoided in the video as a means to communicate the message through visuals alone. The end of the video also uses the English tag: “Imagine the life without blades” in order to further reinforce understanding of the video‘s message.

In contrast to previous awareness of Seki among 20 to 30-year-olds in the greater Tokyo area, shown to be just 28%, awareness of the city grew to an astonishing 51% after the video’s release. As a result of the video, proceeds diverted to Seki city in Japan’s ‘benefit-your-locality tax scheme’* for October 2015 grew some 18-fold compared with the same period the year before, significantly contributing to revitalizing the region’s economy.
* A system that allows users to receive products (e.g. regional specialty goods) by diverting a portion of taxes to specified regional governments of their choice.

About Seki City

Seki is a city located centrally in Gifu Prefecture. Japanese swords, sometimes described as the “soul of a warrior,” were first made in Seki about 780 years ago. It is said that the cutting ability of Japanese swords produced in Seki were highly-favored by Japanese military commanders. Drawing on the long-developed traditional techniques of blade making, an array of bladed instruments have been produced by the region, including kitchen knives, pocketknives, scissors, nail clippers, razors, Western cutlery, outdoor knives, and many more. Seki’s bladed products are not only widely shipped domestically, but also to the US, Europe and other countries around the world.


Video Production Staff


Planning and production: OZMA Inc. (“Ozma PR”) / Taiyo Kikaku Co., Ltd.

  Art designer: Sayaka Isogai
PR planning and creative direction: Yu Katayama, Satoshi Kanai, Taro Takada, Ryoya Ikegami Stylist: Yusuke Nagai
Producer: Shuhei Hosokawa Hair and makeup: Natsumi Tagashira
Production Manager: Ryosuke Kondo, Misato Kato Offline Editor: Kazuhide Adachi
Director: Kensuke Arai Online Editor: Noriyo Suzuki
Cameraman: Shingo Ikeura Mixer: Akari Tatsumi
Lighting engineer: Hiroyuki Ota Music: Yoshihisa Sato (Thirties)

For inquiries concerning this press release
Seki City PR Office (c/o Ozma PR )
Yu Katayama, +81-3-4531-0225
Ryota Ikegami, +81-3-4531-0225
FAX: +81-3-3265-5058
Seki City
Tourism Division
Hiroki Miwa, +81-575-23-7704
Marito Yamamoto, +81-575-23-7704
FAX: +81-575-23-7741


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