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Yukinobu Kitamura

Yukinobu Kitamura, a retired Japanese electronic engineer, held his first one-man kaleidoscope show in November, 2013 in Tokyo. A self taught newcomer to kaleidoscope making, he made an impressive debut with his unique kaleidoscope, receiving the Grand Prix at the competition held by the Japan Kaleidoscope Society. After his retirement, he took up arts and crafts as a hobby, beginning with the creation of a stained glass lamp, then moving into metal working and using recycled materials such as plants, nuts, rotting wood, and eventucleaned-up-photo-from-2013-convention.jpgally into kaleidoscope making, which he has been doing since approximately 2009.

What is unique in his kaleidoscopes are his choice of materials. He uses DVDs or CDs for the bodies as well as for the objects. These discs display holograms when they are lit, an effect he found interesting. This kaleidoscope won the People's Choice Award at the 2013 convention of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society.

The “Hologram” style had two-sided, interchangeable wheels with unusual objects, such as seashells cut in half, colored pasta, seeds, grains, etc., adhered to them for viewing through the mirror system. He even provided an extra two-sided wheel that was blank so you can create your own masterpiece. Each motor-driven wheel was attached to the body with a small magnet for ease of exchange. The mirror system was a tapered one, which created the "disco ball"  or 3D effect and was easy to view from the large eyepiece.

It had two types of mirror systems: one was a tapered 6-mirror system placed in the center, and the other consisted of 30 mirrored surface (of DVDs ) inside the kaleidoscope body that is reflective. The images could be seen from the open window. The DVD generated a hologram on the surface, when it was lit, as well as producing a mirror effect. The LED was placed inside the housing so that it could generate a hologram. The object was a wheel that was lit with a LED from both front and rear sides. The rear lighting generated neutral colors from RGB and it changed colors every few seconds. Front lighting was adjustable to change the brightness and it had an on/off switch.

His next style, “Pentagon” is also a 32-sided kaleidoscope made of discs. The two-sided hand turned wheel is created of a peacock feather, Japanese stamp, various stickers and glitter patterns, pieces of twisted glass, even patterns created in glue, etc. Like the “Hologram”, it has a tapered mirror system, a large eyepiece, and a spare wheel. This kaleidoscope won the People's Choice Award, this time at the 2014 convention of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society.

Yukinobu’s kaleidoscopes are unique, dramatic, mesmerizing, and always conversation generating. Clearly, his background in electrical engineering has played a significant role in his design ethos, but most impressive is his artistic vision.

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