50. Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, Koji TORIYAMA (Part 2)


In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.

◎ Introduction of Dr. Koji Toriyama

Organization: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering Science (Division of Engineering), University of Yamanashi

Specialty: Thermal Engineering (Heat-transfer Engineering)

This is a latter half of the interview with Dr. Toriyama, who studies the efficient use of thermal engineering at the Faculty of Engineering. This time we will hear about his research and his family.

・I understand that you specialized in heat-transfer engineering and thermal energy engineering.

Yes, I am studying for efficient heat dissipation and energy saving by recovered heat utilization. Practically, a greater part of my research activity is the development of heat measurement techniques, numerical simulations, and an analysis program.

・You utilize this PC server-cum-heating appliance for the study (lol). (Please see the previous interview for the warmth of the server.) What made you involved in the research?

When I entered this university, I was interested in engines, and wanted to study about combustion. So I went on to the laboratory of thermal engineering, but unfortunately, it was not for the research of combustion, so I studied heat transfer. It was at about that time that I started to study numerical simulation. Analysis program is not easy to complete, and it is normal that the results don’t meet expectations. So I try one, challenge other analysis, revise it, and when it operates normally, I am so glad almost with tears. Sometimes I confine myself to the experimental laboratory in the basement when I need special concentration.

・Is there an experimental laboratory in the basement? That makes me imagine a room in a TV drama or something. A chaotic room with cluttered tools and experiment device.

There are carpentering machines, too. Oh, for your information, the room was used for the filming of a movie (“26 Years Diary (Anata wo Wasurenai)“, Japan-Korea co-production, released in 2007)  The room was set up as in a Korean university. Our machines and metal materials were shot as their repair tools for musical instruments. In that film, the protagonist says “This room is always filthy.” I made a rebuttal to myself “it’s cleaner than usual (I cleaned the room for the filming).” (lol).

・May I take some photos there later?

 Well, I have classified materials there for I’ve just started to make a thermal insulation system, no, that’s not true.  I’m just embarrassed because the room is messed up. (lol)

(I took some photos after all.→)

・By the way, when did you realize that you were suited for the science course?

Before I reached the age of reason (lol). I gripped a soldering iron when I was three, and used a saw at five. Did you know a doctor Norimaki Senbei in an animated cartoon “Dr. Slump Arare-chan” which was popular in our elementary-school days? He looks an ordinary middle-aged man, but he makes robots and other convenient items without difficulties. He who manipulates various tools looked quite cool to me as a child. However, I never thought I would be a real doctor that time (lol).

・Soldering iron when you were three years old?! You are an authentic mechanic! As I thought, mechanics are brought up at home where the tools are around.

 But there are few chances for me to use the tools at home these days. Until recently, I used to fix up home appliances by myself, but now most of them have computerized control and the repairable rate has decreased.

・I agree with you~. A father who fixes broken furniture or electric appliances used to be admired by children. The times have changed, and the images of admirable fathers are varied, but aren’t you a fairly admirable father?

I don’t know about that (lol). However, I make it a rule to have breakfast and supper with my family. I lived by myself since I was a student until I married, so I can do general household chores, I cook and prepare my daughter’s lunch when my wife cannot do it.

・He is taking balance among his study, pursuit, and home making, and fulfilling all of them! How cool!

Thank you very much today, for your many interesting stories!!


The students in the course of PBL Manufacturing Practice at the Faculty of Engineering where Dr. Toriyama is teaching (those in the course are free to use carpenter machines and 3D printer in the manufacturing atelier – I envy them!) are participating in HONDA Eco Mileage Challenge! In their third-year challenge, they won the championship in the Motegi  Competition Group III (The group for university, junior college, technical college, vocational school students) ! Congratulations! It’s really wonderful!

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