International Year of Light Celebration Japan

As the International Year of Light draws closer upon the horizon, Japan is busy planning their involvement in this once-only international event.

From committees to initiatives, we hope to bring knowledge and development to Japan surrounding the central topic of light and light-based technologies. As the node for Japan, I’m looking forward to encouraging national participation in the initiative.

On a national level, many organizations are excited to participate in IYL2015. As a driving force in promoting private UNESCO activities in Japan, the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO (JNCU) will assist in organizing activities that align with the core objectives of this International Year. The Optical Society of Japan (OSJ) – an affiliate of Japan Society of Applied Physics –  with also play a major role in heightening public enthusiasm and collaboration during IYL2015. OSJ will focus specifically on the fields of spectroscopy (study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy) and ethnic engineering, which seeks to promote diversity within the field of engineering. Other major organizations that will participate in the International Year of Light Include the Astronomical Society of Japan (ASJ), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS) Japan Chapter, and the Physical Society of Japan (JPS). Events will be announced as they develop, and will aim to educate and inspire audiences of all different backgrounds.

The International Commission of Optics (ICO), which is made up of members from several societies of optics, will play a major role in connecting citizens of Japan with information pertaining to IYL2015. Currently, they are in the process of developing a Japanese homepage for the European Physical Society. Aside from this, they helping to organize a national committee for planning and coordinating local events during the International Year of Light.

The local government has expressed great interest in participating in IYL2015 through advocacy of optical engineering innovation, which entails designing optical instruments such as lenses, microscopes, and telescopes. In particular, Tokyo will participate by promoting the economical aspect of optical engineering within the community. In light of this initiative, a Tokyo-based company has decided to sponsor a building illumination event; all 634 meters of the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in Japan, will be lit with a celebratory design in honor of International Year of Light!

Tokyo Skytree. Photo: Forgemind Archimedia, Flickr.

Each year, the optics and photonics industries are growing exponentially, and will contribute greatly to technological development for the future. Due the impending demand in these fields and the need for sustainable lighting alternatives, it is increasingly important to educate children, teens, and young adults on light in all forms. Because of this, we are in the process of organizing a symposium aimed toward optics and photonics in academia. The hope is that this event will attract high school and University-aged students interested in science, and encourage them to explore the opportunities within the sector of light technology.

Coordinating events and activities that enable the future of light and light-based technologies is my top priority during the planning stages of IYL2015 and throughout 2015. By means of my involvement with the National Science Council, I also hope to discuss the implementation of policies related to optics. During 2015, it is imperative that we not only work together on a national level, but on a global scale as well. Although divided by borders, light connects us all in one way or another.

On behalf of Japan, I invite you to join us in celebrating the International Year of Light in 2015.

To obtain the most up-to-date information on IYL events, view the IYL2015 Events Calendar.

For further information on IYL2015 in Japan contact:
Toyohiko Yatagai, Utsunomiya University

IYL2015 Celebration JapanToyohiko Yatagai, Professor of Applied Physics at Utsunomiya University

As a past President of the Optical Society of Japan and the incoming SPIE President, Prof. Yatagai is heavily involved in the optics and photonics community. In 2007, he helped Utsunomiya University to establish the Center for Optical Research and Education (CORE). This was the first optical education center in Japan, and aims to promote education and research in the field of optical science and technology cooperatively with industry, academia, and the government. During IYL2015, he is serving as the single node contact for Japan, and will help to organize events nationwide.

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