新板 窮理図解

What was your motive for undertaking research into images?
      Following the serious injury I suffered during the rugby game, as a junior I began to feel it difficult to understand theoretical physics-related subjects. At that time I attended a “Principles of Measurement” lecture by Professor Shuji Hashimoto who would later become my teacher, when I was impressed with the depth of measurement. My interest suddenly shifted from science to engineering. What made the Hashimoto lab a unique one among the many labs in the Applied Physics Department was the fact it was dealing with exciting themes such as facial image processing and humanoid robots. I didn’t think about joining the Hashimoto lab seriously. My intention was an easygoing one. Since the lab was so popular, I thought it might be easier for me to find employment with a company if I failed in the graduate school exam. In fact, a number of my seniors at the rugby club found employment with trading firms, and becoming a trading firm businessman seemed a rather attractive idea because I liked talking and drinking with other people and was confident in my stamina as well.
      Fortunately, I passed the graduate school exam; at the graduate school I took up the study into facial image recognition and synthesis. For example, one of my studies concerned simulated images showing changes in facial appearances and teeth occlusion before and after orthodontic treatment.
      I made a presentation of the results of this research at a meeting of the Japanese Academy of Facial Studies, which attracted the attention of a professor of Kyushu University Faculty of Dentistry and led to joint research. Joint research activity with Kyushu University continued until I worked on my doctoral thesis and even after I moved to Shibaura Institute of Technology as an assistant professor. I was lucky to have the opportunities to experience, in the early stages of my career, such joint research projects and advising students of the image study group.
      Later I obtained a doctoral degree and had served as a research assistant at Waseda University, then proceeded to Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT – College of Information Science and Engineering) as an assistant professor in 2002 almost at the same time as I got married. In the first year at SIT, I took care of ten students, and a cumulative total of 80 students up to the end of the academic year 2007. In the early years of my service there, most students did not advance to graduate school. But eventually I was able to nurture my lab where approximately 70 percent of its member students moved up to graduate school. To make it possible, I worked hard to improve the lab’s research environment. Endeavors included holding research presentation meetings jointly with other labs both inside and outside of SIT, and initiating joint research projects for the purpose of obtaining research funds. Incidentally, joint research presentation meetings continue to be held even to this day.

You came to Keio University in the 2008 academic year. What is your impression of Keio?
      I can see many aspects in common between Keio and Waseda presumably because as the leading private universities Keio and Waseda have improved each other through friendly rivalry over the years. If asked about a visible difference between the two, I’d dare to say that Keio students are smarter than Waseda’s, good or bad. A good thing about Keio is that senior students take good care of their juniors. Keio is also complete with systems that encourage academic pursuits. Three of our lab’s doctoral students studied overseas taking advantage of these systems.

As an extremely busy researcher, what are you doing for relaxation?
      Two of my children – an elementary school fourth-grader boy and a kindergarten middle-grader girl – are practicing judo. So I get rid of stress by joining them in judo practice once a week. I video all of judo matches of my small ones, editing the videos and analyzing tactics myself (Laughter). Sometime in the future, I’d like to take up research into image-based automatic analysis to identify judoists’ center of gravity while they are practicing.

Some words from students
Student : A hot-blooded person with a bit of severity, Dr. Aoki is a truly wonderful teacher who is always and sincerely considerate of us students. In particular, he always makes the best possible effort to prepare an ideal research environment for us. He was once a rugby player himself. He reminds us of the image of Mr. Takizawa, the hero of the “School Wars” TV drama series (Laughter). From Dr. Aoki, all of us are learning many things . . . the delight and severity of learning, among others.

(Reporter & text writer: Madoka Tainaka)