TJ Archived Feature Story: Issue #233 October 2000

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This Archived Feature Article is taken from the October 2000 Issue #233

Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats - the Man, the Myth, the Legend

An in-depth look into the life of Japan's Greatest Inventor

It's no wonder why Japan's greatest free thinker would be misunderstood. Japanese society, which is renowned for being a collective society, promote s a conservative approach to every aspect of life which allows little opportunity for innovation , creativity and individuality. Research has shown that Japanese children are strong in areas that require right-brain activity. However, the social structure of the nation and education system leave little room for creativity and children are forced from a young age to learn through memorization relying on the left brain's strengths and denying the right brain the opportunity to exercise its tremendous power. This is definitely a society that hammers down any nail that sticks up. Dr. NakaMats has chosen to be the nail that sticks up and refuses to be hammered down. Like Thomas Edison and other great inventors of the past, NakaMats is misunderstood. His search for the scientific truth and willingness to go beyond the conceptual boundaries of society have left him as a target for criticism. His accomplishments are often overlooked and society focuses on his unique lifestyle and somewhat eccentric personality.

At the age of five, NakaMats patented his first invention, an Automatic Centrifugal Gravity Adjuster used in Auto Pilot. At the age of seven, he invented Retractable Landing Gear. His fascination with air flight combined with his exceptional cognitive abilities allowed him to make an impact on the world of science and technology while his peers were still playing in sandboxes.

His mother, a genius in her own right, was a school teacher who took great interest in his education. Realizing her son’s abilities, she assisted by providing money and encouragement for him to build models of his drawings which she then helped him to patent. At fourteen, NakaMats invented the hand pump. “The day I came up with the idea of the hand pump, I was sitting in the kitchen watching my mother cook. It was a cold winter day and my mother was struggling to pour soy sauce from a large, heavy container into a small bottle that we kept on the table. I thought to myself, “There must be an easier way to do this.” I began experimenting using bottles, straws and rubber stoppers that I took out of ballpoint pens. I finally came to the realization that in order to get liquid to flow upward, I would need to devise a pump. Later after the war, my invention was used widely in Japan and other countries as a kerosene or oil pump." When asked how he was able to understand such complex theories at such a young age, NakaMats replied “Although I attended school in both the day and night and was a full two years ahead of my classmates, we were not yet learning complex physics or dealing with scientific theories. In order to obtain information, I often visited the library and studied college level textbooks."

This boy genius continued his studies and not surprisingly found his way into the Engineering Department of Tokyo University, which provided him with the resources and environment necessary to carry out his experiments. As with the oil pump which was originally designed to pump soy sauce and later adapted for various other purposes, many of his inventions were originally created to fulfill his own needs. In the case of the floppy disk he explained, "I often listened to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony while working on inventions. Beethoven's Fifth was a wonderful piece of work and his 6th and 9th although very enjoyable are not nearly as conducive to creative thinking and overcoming obstacles. You see, when Beethoven wrote the 5th, he was working to overcome his own inner struggles just as I must do when going through the invention process. The problem was the sound quality of the 78 RPM SP records we were using at the time was quite poor. The scratching and hissing noises distracted me while I was trying to concentrate. The basic problems with the records was that they were fragile and easily scratched. In addition, the static electricity created when removing the record from the record jacket caused dust to accumulate on the record surface adding to the hissing noise. I decided to create a higher quality device for recording. Not only did I consider the sound quality but also the convenience and practicality of it. At the time in order to get the entire recording of Beethoven's Fifth on a record, it had to be approximately 2" thick and it was easily breakable. I therefore invented the floppy disk that overcame all of the problems of the 78 RPM record. When computer use began increasing, my floppy disk replaced computer punch cards. Obviously the floppy disk digital recording was far superior to the punch card and allowed us to store vast amounts of information."

Dr. NakaMats has created over 3,200 inventions to date, surpassing the great inventor Thomas Edison. According to NakaMats, in order to be a great inventor, you must be born with special abilities. "There is a big difference between the engineers employed by large companies to improve the quality of a given device and a true inventor. If a team of engineers works hard enough and long enough, they will eventually be able to make small improvements in technology. However, only true inventors are able to devise breakthroughs that change the world overnight. At some point in the invention process, the inventor must experience what I call "pika" or a flash of revelation that allows him to overcome several obstacles and instantly find solutions that make the invention possible. This is an innate ability that people are born with and not a skill that can be taught."

This does not mean that NakaMats simply lies around waiting for inventions to happen. Through hard work, discipline and a strict regimen he is able to produce more and with less difficulties at the age of 72 than he could when he was in the prime of his youth. According to NakaMats, he is currently in his prime and believes based on his theoretical philosophies he will live to the age of 144. His unique approach towards life is built around his own theories, often conflicting with common standards. According to NakaMats, there are six important elements that help to keep a brain in good condition - drink, food, sleep, exercise, mind and sex.

He strays away from hospitals and prescription medicine, works out lifting weights with Pro Wrestlers at the Gym on a daily basis, eats only once a day (approximately 700 calories) and creates his own dietary menu based upon his personal experiences. "I photograph every meal before I eat it. It takes approximately three days before the body and mind begin feeling the effects of the food that we eat. I check my physical and mental condition daily and review the photographs of my meal I ate three days before. Based on my findings, I continuously adjust my diet to focus on foods that stimulate my mind to work better." NakaMats believes in the philosophy that too much oxygen is not good for the brain. Food contains oxygen, and therefore he limits his food intake to the absolute minimum. When inventing, he is often faced with obstacles that are difficult to overcome and in order to restrict his oxygen intake, he dives in a swimming pool and stays underwater for as long as he can where he considers the solution to problems he is faced with.

His home in Aoyama, Tokyo is located on the top floor of an eleven-story building and features theme rooms that help relax or stimulate his mind. The "Calm Room" which he spent about 1.5 million dollars building is based on the theme of nature and is made from rock, wood, etc. In order to lift these huge rocks to the eleventh floor, he had to knock out the glass windows and put a crane on the top of the building, but he believes it is well worth while as there is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the midst of nature while viewing the brilliant Tokyo skyline. Everything in his soundproof "Dynamic Room" is black and white and the room is filled with audio/visual equipment and modern devices.

His philosophies on sex are unique. "I am baffled by how people have sex" says NakaMats. "In Japan there is no such thing as sex education. Parents and schools avoid the topic yet the youth somehow find a way of figuring it out on their own. I would suggest that young people refrain from having intercourse until the age of approximately twenty-four. Sex before the age of twenty-four is a distraction and disturbs the way the mind develops. I have done many tests in this area and my research shows refraining from sex at an early age is good for the brain. Once you begin having sex however, you should continue until the day you die. Many couples stop having sex when they are in their fifties and this has a negative effect on the brain and its powers. In order to enhance the quality of sex, I have developed the "Love Jet" which is a spray that penetrates thin skin such as the clitoris and enhances the sensation for both partners.

Tests that I conducted at the University of Tokyo using electrodes attached to both the female and male while having intercourse proved that both individuals experienced increased stimulation, increased sensitivity during sex, and an increased production of the sexual hormone DHEA which makes the man more powerful during sex. This has a direct relation to how the person will function in their daily lives. Those who are able to keep up a strong sexual drive and are essentially more effective in bed, tend to be more effective in business. We should take a more scientific approach towards sex and recognize the importance of the positive effects that come from having a healthy sex life."

Dr. NakaMats's willingness as an inventor to go into areas that others may feel are inappropriate or sometimes even ridiculous is what makes him one of the greatest inventors of all time. As he illustrated earlier, many of his inventions were simply solutions to problems he was faced with and later developed into answers to society's problems. Not a shy man, he is willing to promote his ideas by any means possible. He can often be seen on television showcasing one of his latest inventions, such as his "Bouncing Shoes", the "Perfect Golf Putter" or "Forever Young", a spray that helps to make the skin look youthful. The Bouncing Shoes attracted the most attention as it is quite unusual to see a man of his stature on a television program bouncing down the streets of Tokyo dressed in a tuxedo wearing shoes that resemble in-line skates. However, I wouldn't join in on the skepticism. Just as the Soy Sauce Pump theory was later adapted for other applications such as pumping oil, etc., the bouncing shoe theory may very well someday be incorporated into a track shoe that allows Olympic runners to break records and help prevent damage to the body caused by the harsh impact of running. Any invention that has to do with sex, a subject that we often avoid discussing but all have a vested interest in, brings about skepticism and sometimes laughter. However, the thousands of individuals who have experienced the Love Jet are not laughing or complaining - they're smiling with contentment.

The bottom line is NakaMats is a genius and no one can take this away from him. He invites criticism from skeptics and welcomes any challenge he is faced with. Through his inventions, he has changed the way we live today and his unorthodox lifestyle gives those of us who have not much to do in our spare time something to talk about. While many are busy sitting around discussing the impracticality of some of his inventions, NakaMats is hard at work trying to harness cosmic energy which would eliminate the need for oil or nuclear energy, making the world a better and safer place in which to live.

 

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