Kazuo Kawasaki was born in 1949, Fukui Prefecture. He is a design director and doctor of medical science. After graduating from Kanazawa College of Arts, he started working at Toshiba where he worked on developing and branding Audio Aurex, a revolutionary new audio system at that time. In 1979, he went freelance and two years later he moved his business base to his home town, Fukui. Since then, he has worked on a wide range of product designs including knives, LCD TVs, eyeglasses and artificial hearts. He has made significant advances in all of these fields.
He was the jury chair for the Japan Good Design Award from 2001 to 2003. He is currently a professor at Communication Design Center and Frontier Research Center at Graduate School of Engineering Osaka University. He is also a professor of Medical Center for Translational Research at Osaka University Hospital.
Mr. Kazuo believes that the designer is a professional that imbues idealism into a physical object. He incorporates many varied fields including mathematics, science, technology and art and builds reality hardheadedly and precisely.
Design is a dream. Here is at least one design director in Japan who earnestly believes that the power of design can change the world.
“If I have to accept an artificial heart into my body, I would like it to be painless and look cool”, said the designer, Kazuo Kawasaki, who sought functional progress and an aesthetic sense for an artificial heart even it resides inside the body and is invisible from the outside.
It was the technology of the stereolithography system that made his vision become real. Stereolithography allows for the creation of three-dimensional (3-D) objects, in this case using resin, from CAD data. Even complicated shapes like those that can be seen in Trompe-l'œil, or trick art, can be turned accurately into a real object.
Fusion is one of key words to describe the tendency of recent high-end technology developments. By fusing ideas and technologies from different fields, it becomes possible to break though the walls of limitation. Artificial hearts are seen as a new technology, an alternative to heart transplants, and their development is being advanced from areas beyond the medical field in a way that has not seen before. It is an exciting development that attracts lots of anticipation for the future.
Tekijuku was a private school founded by Ogata Koan , a doctor and scholar of Dutch studies (Rangaku) in Senba Osaka, in 1838 during the Tenpo era of the late Edo period. The school produced a lot of notable alumni includeFukuzawa Yukichi , Omura Masujiro and Takamatsu Ryoun, who pioneered Japan’s modern era from the end of Edo Period through Meiji Restoration. Tezuka Ryosen, a grand-grand father of Japan’s famous cartoonist, Tezuka Osamu, was also a student of this school. After Meiji Restoration, when Osaka Medical School was opened, the professors and the students transferred to the new school and Tekijuku endedits long history. As Faculty of Medicine at Osaka University, it stillconveys the tradition of Japan’s oldest medical school. The building ofTekijuku still has been preserved by Osaka University Steering Committee forTekijuku Conservation. Next to the building on the right is the bronze statue of Ogata Koan. Upstairs are students’ rooms, where you can seenumerous sword cuts on the surface of the pillars. These sword cuts are said to have been made during excited debates among the students, from which you can infer what people and the social background were like in those days. The building was designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage in 1964.
Kaimei School is a quasi-Western style building built in Seiyo City, Ehime Pref. in 1882. This “up-to-date” building has arch windows with German glass panes that were very rare in those days. However, the building itself was built in the traditional Japanese style, in which, for example, Kara-hafu (an undulating bargeboard) style was used for the entrance roof. The exterior of the school building looks like a small kura (warehouse) with the old fashioned shirakabe (white clay) walls. It was designated as National Important Cultural Properties in 1997. Today it is a museum where 6,000 precious documents are stored and displayed including school textbooks in the Edo period through the early Showa period and documents on school administration. You can experience the one-day class named “All Work and All Play at Meiji School.” Next to this building in the right stands Shingi-do, the previous institute of this school. It was a private school in the Meiji period and Siebold and his disciples including Keisaku Ninomiya got together there. Siebold’s daughter, Oine studied medicine under Ninomiya’s tutelage and became the first woman doctor in Japan.