Yes, I can surely do it!
Dr. Hirotomo Ochi, 1934 – 2005
I find great happiness in associating with the many kaleidoscope artists who have pure hearts and who truly love kaleidoscopes as I do. - Dr. Hirotomo Ochi, Kaleidoscope Artistry, Cozy Baker, 2002, p 135
Dr. Hirotomo Ochi, was born in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan in 1934. He dedicated his life to develop a way for a healthier and happier life, both in his business and in his pursuit of his love of art. He studied agricultural biochemistry at Osaka Prefecture University and later obtained a PhD in both agriculture and human nutrition. Dr. Ochi founded Nikken Foods Co., Ltd in order to prepare “the way of contributing to health” and to provide people with good and healthy food.
Whatever Dr. Ochi sets out to do, he does well and whatever he aspires to, he achieves. “I can do it! I can do it! Yes, I can surely do it!” This positive affirmation sums up the attitude and spirit of a man who follows his dreams, hopes and high ideals. The kaleidoscope, he finds, fits perfectly into his business concepts as well as his philosophical outlook.
His appreciation of art included the works of Teruko Tsuji. Teruko Tsuji was very much impressed with the kaleidoscope that her father brought back from Europe in her childhood. Since then it had been her desire to recreate that beautiful world in her art. In 1993 she experienced modern kaleidoscopes brought from the US and using her pottery techniques and artistic expression, began creating the bodies for kaleidoscopes collaborating with Charles Karadimos. Dr. Ochi learned from her about kaleidoscopes, and Cozy Baker helped him with the foundation of the first kaleidoscope museum in the world in 1999 in Sendai, Japan. This museum also contains a large body of the work of Teruko Tsuji.
Dr. Ochi was a director of the Institute for Age control in Fukuroi City in Japan. Dr. Ochi’s life’s work was a study of anti-aging and he felt that there was healing power in kaleidoscopes. His research group at the institute conducted numerous experiments that showed the simple act of looking through a kaleidoscope can help lower stress. Dr. Ochi saw the power of the kaleidoscope having the power to relax the body, refresh the soul, and renew the spirit as a very positive means of healing.
Besides using kaleidoscopes in research and displaying them in the world’s first kaleidoscope museum, Dr. Ochi learned the principles of making kaleidoscopes and developed some original ideas of his own.
He was especially interested in three senses kaleidoscopes because he believed both physical and mental stress could be reduced with the help of the positive response of the human mind to beautiful sight, good fragrance and comfortable sound.
In 2005, Dr. Ochi sponsored a competition and exhibit at the Kaleidoscope Museum in Sendai that featured kaleidoscope works from artists from around the world. The theme of the exhibit was “Three Senses Kaleidoscopes”. The purpose of the contest was to incorporate the three senses: image, sound and fragrance; to give healing and peace of mind to the world citizens. On December 12, 2005 the winners were announced. They were: first place, Monika and Ulrich Karl of Germany; second place, Motohiro Sato of Japan; and third place, Jun Kojima of Japan.
Though it was his dream, Dr Ochi was not able to attend the exhibit. Dr. Hirotomo Ochi passed away on October 4, 2005 at 71 years of age.
Compiled from articles by Junko Aragane (BKS Newsletter, 2005) and Cozy Baker (Kaleidoscope Artistry, 2002)