New Kyurizukai

You advanced to the 5th Academic Group of Tokyo Institute of Technology, didn’t you?
      I did so partly because of recommendation by a father of my friend and partly because of advice by a tutor at my prep school. By this time, I became inclined, vaguely though, to choose in the future a career based on IT-related or mathematical knowledge.
      To be honest, however, I was not so serious about study while I was in the lower undergraduate grades. Although I knew I was interested in theory-oriented subjects, such as on Fourier transform and Laplace transform, I was still unable to narrow down my academic interest. Under such circumstances, as an undergraduate I focused on club activities and a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. The fast food restaurant provided me with an opportunity to interact with students from other universities; for me working there was as enjoyable as a club activity at university.
      Another pursuit I took up after entering the university was dancesport. While inspired by a TV program as the first opportunity, I can say that something minor, or something that not many people are doing, caught my interest. The dancesport club had only four or so male members for each undergraduate grade – really minor wasn’t it (Laughter)? In this sense, it seems to have something in common with soroban and table tennis. Turning to my research side, signal processing is quite popular in the world, but I’m focusing on themes on which few people have an eye on.
      My specialty in dancesport was Latin dance. I continued this pursuit for about ten years. Some jokingly say that I chose England as my study-abroad destination because it is the home of dancesport. The fact is that in England I participated every week in a more elegant ballroom dancing practice session, not dancesport … Meanwhile, I went to watch dancing competitions from time to time and I was particularly get excited when I visited Blackpool, which is the place of the Blackpool Dance Festival, to watch an amateur competition. At the time, the TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” was winning great popularity among British viewers.

It’s a surprise. Were you not shy when dancing with a female partner (Laughter)?
      In the beginning yes, but very soon I got accustomed to dancing with a female partner. To tell the truth, soon after marriage I invited my wife to enjoy ballroom dancing with me, but she gave up after only several times. Her excuse was that she got fed up with the way I instructed, which was too strict and specific … (Laughter). I didn’t mean to be too strict with her, but it seems that the habits I had acquired through dancesport lingered, which urged me to specifically advise her on posture, shift in the center of gravity and so on. In everything, once I get started, I tend to forget myself, which, I admit, is my forte as well as my shortcoming.
      It was when I became a senior and joined a lab specializing in signal processing and communication theory that I became hooked on the attraction of research work. The lab I initially had in mind was one focusing on computer vision, but the number of applicants was more than the capacity the lab could accommodate. Playing “rock paper scissors" was the only way to decide new members, so I gave up the game and switched my wish. Looking back now, this change to the theory-oriented lab proved to be the right answer.
photo      Studying in the master program, I came to have opportunities to present my research works at international conferences, which motivated me to study more and more – so immersed in study that my desire to live a researcher’s career became immovable and I made up my mind to advance to the doctoral course. Halfway through the doctoral course, I was adopted as a research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which allowed me to study while receiving salaries and research funds.
      Although it was already decided that the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) would employ me as a Special Postdoctoral Researcher – a coveted post – following completion of the doctoral course, I was fortunately able to complete the course six months earlier. Taking advantage of the remaining six months, I visited the U.K. to study at University of York. After returning from the U.K., I worked at RIKEN for about three years from April 2007, engaging in research into mobile communications and adaptive filters. During my period with RIKEN, I also had the opportunity to study at Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany for a brief period of four months.
      Then I worked for Niigata University (April 2010 ~ March 2013) before accepting a post at Keio University.