Yoshiro Nakamatsu, We Salute You

2007-01-31 13:36:00

Our Kinda Weird

Nakamatsu Ig Nobel Award

Yoshiro Nakamatsu is a national hero in Japan, where's he affectionately known as "Dr. NakaMats." He sleeps four hours a night. He maintains this demanding schedule courtesy of special food that he naturally invented himself:

"...these are snacks I've invented, which I eat during the day. I've marketed them as Yummy Nutri Brain Food. They are very helpful to the brain's thinking process. They are a special mixture of dried shrimp, seaweed, cheese, yogurt, eel, eggs, beef, and chicken livers -- all fortified with vitamins."

There's more than power snacking: Nakamatsu also takes regular power naps, and he's invented a device to enhance that, too. It's called the Cereberex chair, and according to Dr. NakaMats "it improves memory, math skills, and creativity, and it can lower blood pressure, improve eyesight, and cure other ailments."

"Special sound frequencies pulse from footrest to headrest, stimulating blood circulation and increasing synaptic activity in the brain. An hour in my chair refreshes the brain as much as eight hours of sleep."

For an enlarged version of the diagram to the left, click here.

The Cereberex works by cooling the head and heating the feet, which does indeed increase the blood circulation to the brain. His Cereberex website makes a very interesting observation in vaguely broken English:

According to Dr. NakaMats' research, the unhealthy body has a poor blood circulation to extremities resulting cold feet. This is the same state with the stressed body in which your sympathetic nervous system took over parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system anticipates your body for "fight-or-flight" situation.

Inventing is a Dangerous Business

What really sold me on Dr. Nakamats was when I came across the following passage from some German interview. The question was one the author has probably asked hundreds of times -- "so, where do you get your ideas?" -- and Nakamatsu has the last answer anyone but him would ever suspect:

Is there a secret to becoming an inventor? How do you come up with new ideas? I am teaching philosophy at the University of Tokyo. The base for everything is a strong spirit, followed by a strong body, hard studies, experience and finally leads to a "trigger" experience. You "trigger" a bullet which contains spirit, body, study and experience - and finally that releases the actual invention. How do you "trigger" an invention? A lack of oxygen is very important. A lack? Isn't that dangerous? It's very dangerous. I get that Flash just 0.5 sec before death. I remain under the surface until this trigger comes up and I write it down with a special waterproof plexiglas writing pad I invented. Do you do that a lot? Putting yourself in that kind of situation to come up with a new invention? Of course. This is the Dr. Nakamatsu method.

Self-Made Madman

The key to successful innovation, according to Nakamatsu, is "freedom of intelligence." By this he means working with no strings attached. Nakamatsu says he has never sought funding from any person, company or government and prefers to develop and produce his own inventions. "If you ask or borrow money from other people, you cannot keep freedom of intelligence," he says simply.

----from this article.

Of course, even free spirits can only go so far. Nakamatsu has more than a few inventions which will probably never get the attention and investment they deserve, not least of which is the Nostradamvs II Engine, which "can run with just water, so there is no pollution at all." Coming never to a car dealership near you!

The Nakamatsu water engine is a curious little rabbit hole. It's also been patented under the name Enerex, and a search for that yields paranoid gems like this one:

NO SCIENCE BACKGROUND IS NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLULTELY OBVIOUS REALITY OF THE WATER POWERED ENGINE invented by the greatest inventor alive today (Dr. Nakamatsu) who is thoroughly documented! Doesn't it seem at least a little SUSPICIOUS that a scientist as great as Dr. Nakamatsu is practically unknown in America?

Well...there's a great deal that Americans don't know about, Bubba. However, a highly efficient, non-polluting engine that invented 17 years ago and still hasn't seen any production is a very strange thing.

Yoshiro Nakamatsu, in nearly every article about him I could find, is listed as the inventor of CDs, floppy disks, and digital watches. Curiously, Wiki makes no mention of Nakamatsu whatsoever. Of course, here in the United States, most of this history books have some downright hilarious passages on "electricity" which make no mention of Nikola Tesla whatsoever.

There's no disputing that when Nakamatsu makes claims about being a great inventor, the numbers back him up. Thomas Edison, the most prolific inventor in US history, died with 1,093 patents. Nakamatsu, as of 2003, had 3,128.

Taking Down Viagra

"Love Jet is a spray-type health enhancer spattered directly across the private parts and works to combat male impotency," Nakamatsu tells Spa! during an interview for its feature on Japan's boki business - the booming trade to keep men erect. "Viagra is a chemically based pharmaceutical aimed to help people with an illness, but Love Jet was created through my ideas about sex and uses all natural materials with no side-effects. And, unlike most other anti-impotency treatments, it's not a pill, but a spray, allowing it to work immediately. It improves sexual response by three times among men and women." Doctor Nakamatsu explains that understanding the difference between Love Jet and other treatments isn't all that hard. "There's a hormone, often used in the United States, called DHEA, which is frequently prescribed as an impotency treatment alternative to Viagra," he says. "DHEA levels markedly drop at around 25 years old, but a spray of Love Jet increases levels by three times. It doesn't just work on erections, but also slows down the aging process."

This is more than a cheap attempt to "sex up" Brainsturbator -- I mention the Love Jet because it's such a beautiful window into weirdness of Dr. NakaMats. You see, a single bottle of Love Jet costs 30,000 Yen, which translates to a little under $250. However, manufacturing a single bottle of Love Jet costs over 80,000 Yen, which translates to a loss of over $400 per bottle.

To any CEO on Earth, then, Love Jet is an insane waste of time. To our man Yoshiro, however, this $400 hemmorage is a perfecly sane investment. As we already know, Nakamatsu operates from a different perspective.

"...Love Jet is not about money. Japan's biggest problem is not this economic slump we're in now, but the low birthrate. GDP growth relates closely to population. In 50 years time, we'll be looking at a country half as strong as it is now. I want to save Japan from a crisis, so Love Jet is a labor of love."

Save Japan, Save the World

As Dr. NakaMats keeps telling anyone and everyone who will listen: "The spirit of invention is LOVE."

"Genius lies in developing complete and perfect freedom within a human being. Only then can a person come up with the best ideas."

And finally, Yoshiro has some words of advice for the USA:

"I'd like to see the work ethic in the United States more geared to creativity. We need more creative people and more creative leaders. Governments as a whole must learn to be more creative. I've just written a book called The Invention of Government. I'm trying to show that through the creative process, governments -- not just individuals -- can be more innovative. Among my goals right now are working in political reform in Japan and improving our relationship with the United States. I want Americans and others to understand that many of the perceived barriers between nations -- trade barriers, cultural barriers -- aren't as strong as people think they are. It's just that we don't understand each other as well as we should, and that means we must become more open with each other."

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