Skip to main content

The genius of Shunya Susuki


Japanese creativity teacher Shunya Susuki is a man of unusually great artistic ability.

His wide-ranging creations which include solar electric cars, kites of unusual designs, sculpture of women and computer graphics animation reveal a highly-inventive mind.

His recently completed Jang Geum Robot (see picture) is remarkable for its resemblance to Korean actress Lee Young Ae, who played historical figure Dae Jang Geum in the popular 2003 television series produced by South Korean television channel Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation.

The robot will bow with a smile when it meets a person.

Susuki's creative endeavours display a commitment of time, energy and resources which is very
encouraging to those who wish to hone their artistic skills.

Some would call him a creative genius and I think that description is apt.

Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary ( Seventh Edition) defines a genius as a person of
unusually great intelligence, skill or artistic ability.

But can anyone be a genius?

Yes, if we accept Edward Said's explanation of what makes a genius.

"The essential thing about the actual works of genius is that they hide or eliminate all the traces
of the labour that went into them.

"Rather than trying to retrace the massive effort that went into the work's making, we ascribe
everything to 'genius', as if genius was a magic wand, or a secret chemical formula.

"This rather lazy idea of genius as something both final and beyond normal comprehension
sentimentalises, obscures, venerates what it should instead be studying with profit to everyone:
namely, the fact that genius is more a remarkable devotion to work, to patience, to slogging away
at a problem or a task than it is simply a matter of having a devastating flash of divine inspiration.

"There's no way of doing without the inspiration, of course.

"But that's less important than what the genius makes of it, through exhaustive work and an
obsessive attention to detail, going on for years and years.

"Patience is as important a virtue as ingenuity, perhaps even more so.

"Every genius works hard, though not everyone who perspires is a genius. The qualities that a
genius has include a certain incomparable elegance and inevitability: these take one's breath
away immediately."

Edward Said, the late Palestinian intellectual, may well be describing Susuki, who believes that
an individual is blessed with his or her own talent.

It is a matter of discovering what it is and taking it as far as you want to go.

The choice is yours.

NOTE: Read "Creative Genius" for more on Shunya Susuki.
Photo of Shunya Susuki and his Jang Geum Robot was taken by Maki Inoue
from The
Nishinippon Newspaper.

Comments

ShiShi said…
He is indeed a genius. I'm proud to have known him. Great job Shunya!

Popular Posts

Why Shamsul Amri dislikes Facebook

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin People who do not use Facebook fall into three broad categories. The first group is completely indifferent to it, the second finds it mildly irritating and the third dislikes it intensely. Malaysia's prominent sociologist Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin is of the last type. I made the mistake of asking Shamsul, who is director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, if he was on Facebook, the social network which was hatched up in the dormitories of Harvard six years ago. "I have a face and I keep thousands of books. Why do I need Facebook?" How do you react to that reply? I didn't. I meekly invited him to elaborate on his reasons. "Facebook will take away my soul and I won't allow that to happen because I am a believer," says Shamsul fiercely, who launched into a tirade of accusations against Facebook. Ninety per cent of the things you read on Facebook are either p

Buah Tarap: A chance encounter

You learn something new everyday. My friend Alina is very fond of repeating this. And I agree with her. Today I tasted the Buah Tarap (Tarap Fruit) which is said to be unique to Sabah/Borneo. My colleagues and I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah this afternoon; we are here for the RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge which will take place at the Suria Mall over the weekend. After checking into the Beverly Hotel we walked to a nearby eatery for a spot of tea. It was then that I chanced upon the Buah Tarap and began snapping away. My colleague, who had eaten the fruit in Bandung, Indonesia, was excited to see it. He bought one for us to try. The stall vendor split the fruit into two and we bit into its flesh. Everyone liked it but describing its flavour remains a challenge. The fruit, which looks like nangka (jackfruit) or chempedak,  has an unusual combination of tastes: it is sweet but not as sweet as the jackfruit nor as chunky. Words fail me. It feels so light t

In the waiting room

People are always waiting for something. They could be waiting for the train, an opportunity, promises to be fulfilled or the return of a loved one. But "what does waiting mean in our lives and what is life without waiting?" That question was posed by Danny Castillones Sillada in his article "What is Life without Waiting?" (The Metaphysics of Waiting). The passing of the old year demands another round of gloomy introspection and Sillada's article came at the right time, given the value of waiting in our lives. "Waiting," he explains, is "an emotional and mental state, which is preconditioned to anticipate someone or something to arrive at a particular time and place". Sillada tells us that there are two types of waiting: empirical and metaphysical. The empirical form of waiting is "where the certainty of the waited and the occurrence of event are tangibly expected to happen within a particular time and place of the waite