Yuutaro Oono was born in Tokyo in 1935. He is currently the CEO of Ohno Seimitsu Kogyo Co. Ltd.
After graduating from Hokunoujima Technology High School, Mr. Oono was employed by an 8mm film company. In 1978, he started Ohno Seimitsu Kogyo Co. Ltd which specializes in making gears. He also dedicated himself to bringing back Karakuri dolls , which were popular in the Edo period, to modern times, using the advanced techniques of modern gear making.
Mr. Oono first learned about Karakuri in an engineering book and he became passionately interested in them. He had acquired a copy of “Karakuri-zui”, an illustrated compendium of mechanical devices written by Hanzou Hosokawa, a legendary karakuri artisan of the Edo period. Mr. Oono began studying the book intensely and, for the last 20 years, he has been reproducing the Karakuri dolls most loved by people in the Edo period such as “tea serving doll”, “shinan guruma” and the “Karakuri clock”.
Each doll is made using about 80 different parts, not counting its face and clothing. The dolls are created in such a way as to preserve traditional methods as much as possible. The fusion of the Edo period and modern times shows both beauty and functionality.
Mr. Oono’s next project is to bring back “Yumihari Warawa, or “ Boy Archer”, which shows a boy shooting an arrow at a target. His tremendous respect for the Karakuri artists of the Edo period motivates him to try to recreate the Karakuri Dolls most beloved in that period, so that people can remember and appreciate their heritage.
“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.
Masunaga Optical Mfg Co., Ltd is the oldest eyeglass maker in Japan and located in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture, one of the three biggest eyeglass frame producing districts in the world.
Masunaga Eyeglass was designed by Kazuo Kawasaki who was born and raised locally. The eyewear was awarded Silmo d’Or at the Silmo Eyeglass trade show held at Paris in 2000.
Without using screws and by applying lightweight and flexible beta titanium in its frame, Masunaga eyeglass has achieved a high level of comfort for the wearer. By attaching the lenses to the frames at only one point, it is designed so that the vision is not distorted when the arms are flexed at the temple points. The lenses and the pupils are always equidistant.
Masunaga eyeglass, born from a concept of “smart and high technology”, achieved functionality and nobleness realized by the combination of the Kazuo Kawasaki’s industrial design and Matsunaga’s superb techniques.
Great Green Grid is a lattice-shaped windbreak forest in Konsen Plateau in the eastern part of Hokkaido. It is a globally “large-scale” forest, which can’t be constructed in this country except in Hokkaido. It is registered as one of Hokkaido Heritages.
The side of each lattice is 3,000 m in length, the green belt is 180 m in width, and the total length of the forest is as long as 648 km. It became famous after astronaut Mamoru Mori captured it with a video camera when he flew aboard the space shuttle “Endeavor,” from which alone we can imagine how huge it is.
It was originally built to protect nearby cattle farms and grazing ground from wind and snow, but it has also become habitats and pathway for wild animals. In recent years, it is a popular spot for horse trekking and animal watching.
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. It has a fixed chamber whose water level can be varied.
Ishii Locks are located at the junction of Kitakami Canal and the Kitakami River in Mizuoshi, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. It was constructed to adjust the water level of the canal. These brick-made classic locks were designed by Cornelis Johannes van Doorn, one of foreign advisors hired by the Japanese government for their specialized knowledge, by the order of Home Minister, Okubo Toshimichi, and was completed in 1880.
It is a representative remaining structure of Nobiru Port, which was planned and constructed by the Meiji government as the transportation base to develop the Tohoku region. It is also an earliest example of modern locks that were constructed all over the country from the Meiji to Taisho periods. Its historical value in civil engineering technology was highly esteemed and it was nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
The Chuma Kaido Road was a highway used to transport salt from Mikawa (Present-day Aichi Prefecture) to Shinshu (Nagano Prefecture) and products from Shinshu to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka on the way back. “Chuma” was the name of the union organized by carriers using horses. The word is said to have derived from “chinba (a horse for transportation)” or “chukei-ba (a relaying horse).” As a local popular song went “1,000 horses com in, 1,000 horsed go out,” more than 7,000 horses went and returned on the road at its peak.
Asuke Town in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, was a thriving relay station on the Chuma Kaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). Though it ceased to function as a post station in the middle of the Meiji period (1868-1912), when railway service of the Chuo Line started, the old streetscapes of the Edo period remain in the central part of the town. The old road retained along the Tomoe River provides a nice promenade for tourists. The Chuma Kaido Road became National Road 153 today and functions as an important transportation route to support the life of local people.
Oi-ike Pond is a 9.2 hectare artificial pond located in Okusa in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture. The water is fed from the Hirota River, a tributary of the Yahagi River. Constructed in 1943, it is the largest agricultural irrigation pond in the prefecture.
There is a golf driving range on the side of the pond, where golfers can enjoy dynamic shooting toward the water of the pond. The area around the pond is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. The upstream area of the river is dotted with mudslide control dams.
The pond is not only used for agriculture but also provides disaster control measures, habitat of various wildlife, the communication place for local people and the place to get contact with natural water. It is a precious municipal property that is indispensable for the local communities.
Wadajuku Honjin was honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) of Wadajuku post station on the Nakasendo Road. Located at the entrance to the Wada Pass, which was the hardest chokepoint on the Nakasendo Road at the time, most travelers stayed at this post town before climbing up to Wada Pass.
Wadajuku honjin was constructed in 1861, but destroyed by fire in the same year. In this year, however, the procession of Princess Kazunomiya was to stay at Wadajuku on her journey to Edo, where she was going to be married to the 14th Tokugawa Shogun. Consequently, money was lent from the Shogunate and the honjin was reconstructed in as short a time as four months.
After the Meiji Restoration, the system of honjin was abolished, but the building had been used as the town hall until 1984, when the town office moved to another place and the building was to be dismantled. However, its historical and architectural values were acknowledged and the building was rebuilt after dismantling. Presently, only the residence of the proprietor has been restored and preserved. Wadajuku is one of the few post stations where such a large-scale honjin remains to the present day.