Interview with Ken Kutaragi -- "I want to draw a picture on a stark white campus" (page 4)

Interview with Ken Kutaragi

Apr 9, 2001

Japanese engineers without "individuality"

--How do the Japanese engineers reflect in your eyes when compared to those of the world?

Kutaragi: Japanese engineers have not yet established individuality within them. The phenomenon seems to be unique to the Japanese engineers only and not to those around the world. I had talks with researchers and management executives around the globe to discuss topics related to PS2 and CELL, and what I found out was that there really are amazing people in the world - although there is only a handful, or 1ppm of such great people. It is extremely stimulating to speak to them and makes me want to build the world by forging a team with them. But the very moment I look back to the Japanese engineers, I feel something is different. I suppose on hearing one engineer say that he/she is willing to work for a well-known company, people in Europe, the U.S -- or wherever around the world, would say, "What is the matter with you?"

--I think there are two types of engineers: One type is to explore the unknown premises and the other is to solve the mysteries of an already known fact.

Kutaragi:I think there are designer type and artist type to engineers. Artist-type engineers can draw a picture on a white campus. In some cases, the artist-type might not be understood by anybody for decades because they are in pursuit of truth. On the other hand, designer-type must be understood by everybody. They must understand the era in which they live in and manufacture things that meet the needs of the times. They ponder what is the best way to use the products comfortably. For me, much of my enjoyment goes to drawing pictures on a stark white campus. However, working out ways to manufacture is fun in terms of competition.

--If you were to be reborn, what would you want to do?

Kutaragi: If I were to be reborn now, I think I would go for bioelectronics. We have a general idea as to how the semiconductor technologies would be in ten years ahead from now. The future of semiconductor technologies is predictable, although it might require a painstaking effort in materializing the idea industrially. On the other hand, human bodies and living organism are the unexplored frontier. Currently, investigation on protein is being unveiled at a ferocious pace. There are even computers that analyze the protein data. Researches on consciousness of human beings are in the middle of progress. There are many things that are unknown to us. That's what makes things amusing.

(Interviewed by Editor-in-Chief, Naoki Asami)