Art, music, writing, acting — there are nearly as many ways to express one’s creative impulses as there are people.
The Megastar projects stars onto the wall of the observation deck at the Roppongi Hills complex earlier this month.
SATOKO KAWASAKI PHOTOS
Takayuki Ohira shows off a simplified Megastar planetarium projector behind him earlier this month in Tokyo.
At the time, Ohira never dreamed he would re-create that spectacle with his own high-tech projector, but that’s what happened. Soon after starting college, he began making star projectors and his enthusiasm for his hobby didn’t wane even after he went to work for Sony Corp. as an engineer.
In 1998, he unveiled Megastar, the predecessor of his latest projector, a machine capable of projecting 1 million stars, at the International Planetarium Society convention in London.
After Megastar became a hit, Ohira quit his day job at Sony and began holding planetarium shows around Japan.
“Megastar may not be a necessity of life but it makes our lives richer,” he said. “It’s like music.”
Ohira pointed out that planetariums have long been seen as a good way to teach children about astronomy. But he believes with a touch of art and entertainment, people of all ages can enjoy the shows.
“Stars are not for people of a certain age group just as air, water, rivers and blue skies are not,” Ohira said.
He hopes to hold more shows around the country so more people can see Megastar’s representation of the night sky. There are Megastar-II projectors permanently stationed at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, and the Kawasaki Municipal Science Museum for Youth.
Ohira also wants to show off his projector overseas, especially in the United States, where new projectors using computer graphics are being developed. Such projectors allow viewers to look at the stars from different locations, even from outside the galaxy.
Megastar, by contrast, allows viewers to see the most distant stars in the universe from a fixed location.
Ohira said American planetariums are moving, while Megastar offers a stationary perspective.
“I want to promote (Megastar) to the world as a Japanese star projector,” Ohira said.
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