Dr. NakaMats, Master Inventor
Have you ever heard of Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu? He is Japan’s most iconic inventor, and has come up with a number of unique contraptions, like flying shoes and a brain-enhancing machine, as well as some more grounded innovations, like the floppy disk.
Describing himself as a cross between Leonardo de Vinci and Steve Jobs, this Japanese native holds over 4,000 patents. A long list of wacky inventions–both practical and whimsical–boast his endless imagination, which itself is a product of his strict lifestyle and diet. Father, creator, politician, and businessman, Yoshiro Nakamatsu is a known figure both in his native Japan and abroad, though he is alternately respected and ridiculed.
A Unique Kind of Inspiration
Nakamatsu has developed a sophisticated understanding of the mind’s creative processes. In a nutshell, he doesn’t believe in inspiration, but instead in “ikispiration,” his own system for creativity. According to ikispiration, all inventions require three essential elements: suji (theory), pika (inspiration), and iki (practicality). He says that many inventors and thinkers have pika but not the iki necessary to achieve their dreams and be successful. It’s true that he is thoroughly practical: he even changed his name from Nakamatsu to NakaMats, claiming that eight-letter names are easier to recall.
His first invention was indeed a pragmatic one, which he came up with at age twelve. As a boy in the heart of World War II, he remembers watching his mother struggle to transfer soy sauce from a large bucket to a smaller container. Hoping to help ease his mother’s workload, he designed a small device capable of pumping the liquid quickly and efficiently. Once he completed the invention his mother was delighted, and his first patent was born. This invention would travel the world and find widespread use, even today: you may know it as the kerosene pump.
Madness of his Method
NakaMats explains that all his inventions stem from his rigourous imagination-inducing routine. It consists of three essential steps, each geared to getting his brain firing. His first step is the simplest. He meditates in a “calm room,” which is essentially a bathroom covered in 24-karat gold. Why gold? The precious metal naturally deflects radio and television signals, which NakaMats claims are “harmful to the imagination.”
Of course, should a few hours in the “calm room” not provide the necessary “ikispiration” for his next invention, he moves on to the next step: the “moving room,” an elevator which constantly plays the third movement of Beethoven’s fifth symphony.
If either of the first two steps don’t lead to the eureka of a brilliant invention, he has one last resort that always works. He goes underwater. He keeps himself submerged until he almost drowns; NakaMats only comes up, as he claims, 0.5 seconds before death. He chose such an unorthodox and dangerous method because, “If you have too much oxygen in your brain, inspiration will not strike. To starve the brain of oxygen, you must dive deep and allow the water pressure to fill the brain with blood.”
We don’t recommend you try this at home.
Though he sees himself as a practical man, NakaMats is known best for being off-beat and comical, with inventions helping everyday people with everything from sex to tech to flying. Curious about some other things he’s invented? Here’s a short list.
Pyong Pyong Shoes. There are few things more freeing in nature than the ability to fly. The Pyong Pyong Shoes come close to granting that freedom. Resembling shoes with enormous rings of buoyant plastic underneath, these sneakers allow the wearer to make each step into a four-foot leap.
The Floppy Disk. Though IBM claims to have invented the floppy disk in the 1970’s, NakaMats says that he invented it first, way back in the 1950’s. IBM has never provided official recognition of NakaMats beating them to the chase, though one IBM spokesman has conceded that NakaMats is responsible for 14 patents for the tech company.
Love Jet. One of Nakamatsu’s most profitable inventions, Love Jet is also dearest to his heart. One day, Dr. Nakamatsu sought to solve the problem of Japan’s dropping birth rate. He naturally landed on the idea of an aphrodisiac. Make no mistake: Love Jet was not made to foster sexual intercourse and its enjoyment; NakaMats invented it to save Japan. The aphrodisiac is not like anyone you have heard of: it is advertised as being several hundred times more powerful than Viagra.
Cerebrex. NakaMats is quite proud of his Cerebrex chair. According to the inventor, “It improves memory, math skills, and creativity, and it can lower blood pressure, improve eyesight, and cure other ailments.” The science is clear to him, apparently: “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.”
No Small Ambitions
More than just an inventor, NakaMats is a thinker and even a revolutionary when it comes to both technology and philosophy. To that end, he has run for public office in Japan a number of times. Though he has yet to win an election, he shows no signs of slowing down.
His lifestyle is unique not merely for his creativity but also his strictness: he eats exactly one meal a day. If you need proof of his diet, he has it: he has taken a photo of each meal he has eaten for the past thirty years.
His greatest ambition lies perhaps in his lifespan. With his diet and discipline, he believes he will live to be 144. In 2014, however, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Upon hearing the news, NakaMats “thanked the heavens,” saying that fate had given him the opportunity to create his greatest invention yet: a cure for a rare and aggressive cancer. Though the doctors gave him only a year to live, he has been going strong ever since.