Dr. NakaMats

Yoshiro Nakamatsu (b. 1928), also known as Dr. NakaMats, is Japanese inventor who has become something of a minor celebrity for the dubious science behind his inventions and his eccentricity. He regularly appears on Japanese talk shows which, in conjunction with his appearance, usually craft a humorous segment based on one or more of his inventions. He is a prolific inventor, and he even claims to hold the world record for number of inventions with over 4,000 patents.

In his interviews, Nakamatsu described his ‘creativity process,’ which includes listening to music and concludes with diving underwater, where he says he comes up with his best ideas and records them while underwater. Nakamatsu claims to benefit from lack of oxygen to the brain, making inventions ‘0.5 seconds before death.’ He also built a million dollar toilet room made completely out of gold that he claims helps make him think better. Nakamatsu also has an elevator in his house that he claims helps him think better. He strictly denies that it is an elevator, but rather a ‘vertical moving room.’ Nakamatsu’s goal is to live at least 144 years.

Nakamatsu’s patented inventions include: ‘Enerex’ System for generating hydrogen and oxygen; ‘PyonPyon’ jumping shoes with leaf springs on their soles; ‘Cerebrex’ armchair, a chair that supposedly improves mental function such as calculation and thinking by cooling the head and heating the feet; a toilet seat lifter; a condom with an embedded magnet, supposedly ‘improving sensitivity’ as “electricity is generated in the blood vessels in the female organs by Fleming’s left-hand rule’; protective envelopes for floppy disks, and head-cleaning floppy disk; a CD for supposedly ‘enhancing brightness or sexual function’; a cigarette like device for supposedly ‘activating the brain’; a pillow that prevents falling asleep while driving (an air compressor strapped to the cars headrest, forcibly feeding air to the driver); a peephole in a sheet of material, described as a ‘oneway visible shielding object’; spectacles in the shape of eyes, so that the user appears to wear no spectacles; and a ‘Wig for self defense’ — a strip and a weight are attached to a wig (the wearer swings the wig to hit an attacker).

It should be noted that patents (these or any other) do not mean that the devices actually work. Patent offices grant patents without checking that the patented device works. While a patent is usually invalid if the patented device or process does not work, this is typically only determined if the patent is challenged (which is not normally done unless the patent holder sues an alleged patent infringer). Nakamatsu gains much of his fame from his claim to have invented the floppy disk in 1952. He claims to have licensed his floppy disk patents to IBM Corporation in 1979, but that the details are confidential. An IBM spokesman, Mac Jeffery, said that the company does license some of his patents, but not for the floppy disk, which they invented on their own. Another source has mentioned that IBM reached nonexclusive patent agreements with Nakamatsu in the late 1970s to avoid conflicts.

In 2005, Nakamatsu was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prize) for Nutrition, for photographing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting).  Nakamatsu has been a candidate in the 2007 and 2011 gubernatorial elections in Tokyo, and has also run for the Upper House election, but to date has failed to get any political seat. He is known for frequently entering and losing elections in Tokyo. Now he has a special seat on the Happiness Realization Party (the political wing of a New Age Japanese religion).

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