Application Guidlines

Super-Aging Society Plus Design COMPETITION 2012

  • The health of middle-aged people and older is at a critical and dangerous state. It also raises serious concerns over the increasing number of the deaths related to daily living.
    As much as two-thirds of deaths in Japan result from poor diet, lack of exercise, and lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The number of people with Metabolic Syndrome is growing. Estimated 1 in 2 men and 1 in 5 women in the age of 40 to 70 have Metabolic Syndrome including those with pre-metabolic syndrome.

    Now, what design could encourage people to do more exercise and make it a habit of their lifestyle? Also what design could prevent lifestyle-related diseases and healty lifespans.

  • The number of isolated elderly people is expanding. Local community has collapsed as the result of urbanisation and more elderly people are living alone as the results of increasing nuclear families. Thus the relationship between families and the local community are weak and we see more elderly people are unable to receive the necessary mental support needed to improve their poor circumstances.
    In Japan 26,821 elderly people per year (or 73 elderly people per day) are dying in absolute isolation.
    Now, what could design do to inspire families and local communities to support elderly people and increase the opportunity to communicate or engage with them to reduce their concerns or anxiety?

  • Depression is a severe problem in Japan. More than 30,000 people committed suicide every year between 1998 and 2010. The suicide rate is double that of America and 4 times more of that in UK and it is one of the highest in established countries. 1/3 of suicides are committed by people over 65 years old.
    The number of patients with depression and manic depression doubled in the 10 years running up to 2008, reaching over 1 million.
    Now, what could design do to support people suffering from issues related to money, health and unhealthy relationships? What can design do to save as many lives as possible?

  • Elderly people deal with many issues beside those listed above. What is the most important issue for your future and the future of those you care? What can design do to solve those issues?


Anyone can apply. The competition is open to individuals, groups, corporations, and organizations. No limit on age, sex, occupation, or nationality.
(Language: Japanese or English)

Eligible Designs

Any form of design is welcome: the design could be a product, service, space, system, policy, architecture, landscape, community, graphic, website, etc.


Three to five finalists will be chosen after two rounds of judging. The winning submission will receive 300,000 JPY, and runner-ups will be awarded 100,000 JPY each.

Selection Policy

The panel of judges is comprised of designers, including Mr. Ryo Yamazaki and Mr. Kazufumi Nagai, as well as researchers, local administrators, and companies, NPOs and other specialists related to the theme. The first round of judges will examine entries. Their evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  1. (1) Contribution to society
  2. (2) Feasibility
  3. (3) Creativity and esthetics.

Those selected in the first round will be notified and given an opportunity to refine their presentation before the final submission deadline. The final selections will be chosen by judging boards as well as public vote.

Time Schedule

Design Entry September 1, 2012 – September 29, 2012
First Screening Early October 2012
First Screening Selection Notice Early October 2012
Final Submission End of October 2012
Final Selection process End of October 2012
Results announcement Early November 2012
Awarded entry presentation Late November 2012

Submission Documents

To enter, please submit the following contents with 4 pages of A4 size (297mm x 210mm). Additionally, 8 pages can be added for supplementary explanation.

Application and Contents in Each Sheet

Write your application using the following specifications:

  • Page 1: Design Idea
    Describe the core idea (concept) of your design proposal.
    If necessary, complement the description with explanatory text or visuals.
  • Page 2: Issue
    Describe the issue you focused on and intended to solve with the power of design. By “issue”, we refer to a specific problem which needs to be solved in the areas of Lifestyle-related disease, end Isolation and loneliness, mental health, or theme of your choice. Data, examples, real-life experiences and personal stories can be added accordingly to support the selected issue.
  • Page 3 – 4: Explanation 1/Explanation 2
    Explain your design idea within 2 pages by using text and/or visuals such as charts, photos and illustrations.
  • Page 5 – 12: Appendix
    These 8 pages will be considered only as supplementary documents. Feel free to use these pages as necessary to describe any data, charts, drawings, or text that did not fit within the first 4 pages.

*Application format is limited to PDF or PowerPoint only.

*To make sure your document can be perfectly legible online, font size must be 20 points minimum.

*Uploaded file size no greater than 10MB.

*In order to maintain fairness of evaluation, do not put your name or affiliations on your application form.

For More Information

For general inquiry regarding Issue + design, contact Email:

Please note

This project aims to solving social problems that Japanese communities face. All entries will be treated as creative commons and are subject to becoming public through web and printed materials available to anyone who is socially conscious.