An Employee’s Unrestricted
Inspiration Gave Rise to
an Unprecedented Product
One of factors that prompted JustSystems to
enter the home-learning business was a proposal by an employee: “What if we made our own
educational software for home learning?” At the
time, she was on the team developing ATOK
dictionaries, but was soon appointed to the role of
planning and proposing educational materials,
where she was tapped as the person in charge of
Japanese language materials. This was the
inception for the SMILE ZEMI project.
A Fusion of Expertise Gained
on the Frontlines of Education
and the Power of Software
At the conceptual stage of “educational software
learning,” it had been over ten years
since JustSystems had
entered the elementary
school student software market.
Our software received high praise for not just
being easy for
children to use, but for affording
educational considerations and
innovations developed in conjunction with working teachers,
for how easy it was for children to
The product grew into one of the standard pieces
of software used
in elementary schools, and was
installed in about 85% of public
schools in Japan.
We used the expertise and knowledge gained on
the front lines of education through this project
and poured our energies into the
user interface for
the software, culminating in the creation of
ZEMI in December 2012.
Creating a “Next Standard” and
Keeping One Step Ahead of the
What brings to life a product idea freely thought up by an
employee and backed up by our
strengths in the form of actual
software is a
dedicated customer perspective. How can we make
it more fun, easier to use and encourage users to keep it up?
Following a process of trial and error, the engineers assigned to
the project settled on an
Android-based device. They customized
operating system with a particular focus on the
user interface, developing software that would
keep children continually engaged.
Today, a succession of competitors have followed suit and coming
out with their own “tablet-based
home learning” products.
As the product category continues to develop into something
mainstream, the SMILE ZEMI
development engineers will continue
to stay one
step ahead of the market.