New Kyurizukai
Dr. Sugimoto says that during his childhood he did not have a TV set at home. It may have been his counteraction to such a home environment that he became crazy about computers as a junior high school student. His devotion to computers continued to grow so much so that he came into a spotlight as a major player in inter-college virtual reality contests during his college days. His current hobby is the creation of CG design, indicating his endless enthusiasm for computers. In Dr. Sugimoto’s lifestyle, virtually no gap can be seen between his likes and professional research work, with which his students seem to empathize. His lab is always full of students’ vigor.

We heard that you are from Iida City, Nagano Prefecture. What was your childhood like back then?
      Both of my parents graduated from universities of fine arts, and they were working in the same industrial design firm in Tokyo. One day, they were compelled to enjoy a self-sufficient life in the countryside and moved from Tokyo to Nagano. Thanks to their education policy of raising a child unrestrictedly in an environment of superb nature, I had lived a life without TV up to the age of elementary school upper grades. Indeed, as a small boy I spent everyday running about fields and hills.

Does it mean you studied very little?
      My mother was then teaching at a cram school in Nagano, so she earnestly tried to teach me English and mathematics. But I was always slipping out of her hands because I didn’t like to be taught face-to-face by my own mother (laughter).
      Perhaps as retaliation to the life without TV, I came to take a special interest in computers when I was a junior high student. Toward the end of elementary school, I encountered computers for the first time in life when I visited the home of my cousin. There I found and touched an MSX, a computer for beginners. Since then, even before owning a computer of my own, I bought a computer magazine every month and was absorbed in reading them.
photo      It was after I went to high school that I actually got a personal computer of my own. It was a high school admission congratulatory present from my father, who became unable to let my computer fever pass unnoticed.
      During my high school days, I belonged to a physics circle, where I spent after-school hours with other circle members devising computer programs. For example, we defined an original markup language and developed a software program with a presentation function combining text and illustrations – something like what we call PowerPoint today. We used the software to prepare materials to be presented on the occasion of the school cultural festival. In fact, our program securely supported even animation functions. After I obtained my own computer, I became even more fascinated by informatics so much so that a technical book on lossless compression became my favorite reading during my high school days. By the way, I still cherish the memorable computer that my father bought me.