The creation of
the Hobonichi Globe

The Hobonichi Globe is packed with
a lot of new technology and ideas.

Meet six people who were essential to
the Hobonichi Globe's creation and
read the story of how it was developed.

When other producers see this globe,
they may be astonished

Shu WatanabeWatanabe Co., Ltd.

The Hobonichi Globe is a miraculous child.

Our company, Watanabe, makes tools for teaching astronomy. When we were founded over 80 years ago, we mostly manufactured and sold globes.

Our founder, Kumose Watanabe, is said to be the first person in Japan to make a real globe.

To produce the Hobonichi Globe, we partnered with Replogle, the world's largest maker of globes.

Three years ago, Watanabe won distribution rights for Replogle products in Japan, but until now we had never produced a globe together.

I think this was a groundbreaking project that came about through a number of happy coincidences.

We think of the Hobonichi Globe as a miraculous child.

An Earth with no holes on the top or bottom

A globe is made by shaping data on a flat surface into a sphere, so it's actually an extraordinary undertaking.

It's such a challenge that I still don't think we've perfected the technology for making globes.

Likewise, shaping the Hobonichi Globe into a sphere involved several challenges we had never before encountered.

To give an example, a regular globe has an axis running through the middle, so it has holes in the top and bottom.

However, since the Hobonichi Globe doesn't have an axis, we have to seal those holes somehow.

We thought about covering them up with stickers since they're just the polar regions, but we didn't want to do that because making a complete globe was a priority.

After testing out many ideas, we ended up deciding to seal the holes with a special method, not with stickers.

When other globe producers see how we finished this surface, they may wonder just how we made this! (Laughs.)

It's important to know the Earth is round

According to Japan's latest school curriculum guidelines, students are supposed to learn with globes instead of world maps.

Personally, I think this is very important.

When you learn about the Earth as it really is in a physical sense, you realize that it is in fact a round object, and I think that's the way it should be.

On a flat map, Greenland looks bigger than Australia, but Australia is actually three times larger.

A flight from Tokyo to New York goes over Alaska. On a flat map, that seems like a roundabout way to go, but when you see it on a globe, it's obvious this is the shortest route.

Another reason why I think it's very important to learn about the Earth as a sphere is so that we don't have an incorrect understanding of the world.

Lastly, I want to mention that I personally like how the Hobonichi Globe doesn't have a top or bottom.

Many people consider the North Pole to be the top, but the real Earth doesn't actually have a top or bottom.

It's correct no matter how you orient it.

I hope Hobonichi Globe owners will turn it over in their hands and get a look at our planet from different angles.