New Kyurizukai
A boy, who loved rockets, grew up and met the world of “combustion study.” Blessed with diligent friends, excellent seniors at the lab, encounters with internationally-minded professors and through study abroad, he acquired a researcher’s attitude of always making assiduous efforts. Dr. Yokomori puts it emphatically: “Work untiringly, and the way out will surely come into sight sooner or later” even when you are at a deadlock.

What was your childhood like?
      As a young boy, I was extremely fond of space shuttles and other rockets. When a rocket is launched into the sky, you see blazing flames from its tail end, don’t you? Fascinated by the powerfulness of the flames, I came to take an interest in rockets. I was also crazy about “Space Battleship Yamato” which was very popular as a TV animation and movie. The battleship itself was cool, but what particularly excited me were the flames from its stern. As I recall, I may have been interested in combustion as early as those days (Laughter). Later, as I grew up, I came to take an interest in mechanical things in general including automobiles and trains, regardless of whether it has an internal combustion engine or not.
      I was born in Saitama Prefecture, but my father was running an electrical work company in Tokyo. He took me to work sites from time to time. As a junior high school student, I began to assist my family business in wiring work and equipment installation on site, which naturally awakened my interest in scientific studies. If I remember correctly, I think I did the work with a sense of responsibility even as a young boy. But I enjoyed the work because I loved messing around with mechanical things.
      I also liked physical activities. I attended public elementary, junior high and senior high schools. In my elementary school days, I belonged to a swimming school; as a junior high student, I joined the school’s basketball club; and as a senior high school student I belonged to the tennis club. Although I cannot afford time for physical activities these days because of extremely busy daily work schedules, I am basically a sports-oriented person.
photo      On the other hand, as an elementary schoolboy I began to attend a tutorial class, where I was awakened to the excitement of solving mathematics problems. When I was an elementary school sixth grader, my mathematical ability reached the college level, for which I was awarded. This event motivated me to study mathematics more and more. Maybe I am a person who can grow when complimented by others (Laughter). My parents seem to have known my character well, so they never urged me to study hard. I assume they tried to bring out my self-motivation to study simply by praising and pleasing me.

Didn’t you have an intention to advance to mathematics department?
      Back in those days, I didn’t think at all of what I would do after going out into the world. It was at about the age of senior high school third year that I began to become conscious of my future. Perhaps because of my father’s influence, I thought it would be nice if I could advance to electrical engineering department or mechanical engineering department. Although I was prepared to take a year off in the worst case, fortunately I was admitted to Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology to join the Department of Mechanical Engineering.