Katsuya Takasu regards his body as a vehicle to carry his mind. So what he had done to his face two years ago was, as he puts it, "just like fixing an old jalopy."

A cosmetic surgeon himself, Takasu gave instructions from the operating table as a senior colleague performed face, forehead and eyelid surgery and hair transplantation on him at his Nagoya clinic -- one of nine he runs around the country. Later that year, he had cheek fat removed by a French doctor and an "aggressive" chemical peel of facial skin done by an Israeli surgeon. In the space of those 12 months, he looked 15 years younger.

To top it all off, though, after a conference in Sao Paulo later in 1999, he had a cutting-edge jowl lift performed by a Brazilian surgeon who put 12 gold wires in his jaw.