Ken Takagi, RECON Committee, Associate Editor of JOE
I’m writing this article during a short summer vacation in my hometown of Osaka. I was born and raised in a town called Suita in northern Osaka. A boy who loves ships, airplanes and cars naturally chose an engineer’s path and entered a naval architecture department at Osaka University. After that, I was involved in the field of naval architecture and ocean engineering for 42 years and became 60 years old this year.
In Japan, age 60 has a special meaning and is called “Kanreki.” Kanreki is the year at which a numeral with a period of 60, which is widely used in Asia, goes around one round. I was celebrated by family members with a red garment (hat and waistcoat) that is often used as baby clothes. Wearing it means that I will return at birth, or be reborn, after 60 years. Although current retirement age is 65 years, it was customary to retire at the age of 60 in Japan.
At Osaka University, I was working on wave power generation. This project was a great opportunity to turn my research direction toward the ocean, but the series of research conducted in Japan did not reach the demonstration phase. I had to wait until the start of the second trend on the marine renewable energy in recent years. On the other hand, my interest expanded to the theory of water waves, the interaction between waves and ships and hydroelasticity.
There was a big turning point in my life in 2008. I moved to the Department of Ocean Technology, Policy and Environment, which was newly established at the University of Tokyo. My field of expertise here is ocean technology policy, and it is required to look at ocean engineering not only from the viewpoint of engineers but also from an economic and policy perspective. Here, the new research theme I started was ocean current power generation. This research, with support from the New Energy and Technology Development Organization, continues with IHI Corporation, and a prototype demonstration with a 100-kW class generator will start from August this year. In addition to the development of the prototype, this R&D also conducts research on local social acceptance and coexistence strategies. My team is also expanding research themes on the safety of marine operations and the integrity of mooring systems as basic technologies that support marine engineering, and on reduction of GHGs emission from ships as a contribution to global warming.
As an OES member, I have served as the general chair of OCEANS 2008-MTS/IEEE Kobe Techno-Ocean, AdCom member in 2013-2018, Associate Editor of IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering since 2013 and RECON member from 2017. In addition, I am also serving as Chairman of the Ocean Energy Association Japan, Director of Techno-Ocean Network, Director of Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Marine Science and Technology. Through these academic activities, I would like to make a baton touch for young people. As part of this, my team regularly participates at the University R&D Show Case in OTC. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI6PDlZM9VM)
Finally, I would like to briefly introduce my family. I was married with Yuko 33 years ago and have two children. The whole family loves Hawaii, and it was the primary reason why we participated in OCEANS 2001 in Hawaii, the first OCEANS conference for me, and that was the starting point of my activity in OES. Since my children got jobs, it is difficult for them to travel with us. However, my wife is looking forward to traveling with me and participating in future OCEANS conferences. Visiting La Provence this year was one of best travel experiences for us. My wife will be in the 60th birthday next year, but, nowadays, the age of 60 is still in the middle of life. We wouldn’t be able to go around the second 60 years round, but we would like to expand our range of activities further to enjoy our life.