Of all the photos I took at the ROBO-ONE Light competition in Kawasaki last Saturday, and I took over 400+, this particular image is my hands down favorite.
That might seem a little strange, especially since there aren't any battling bots in view. There are several reasons why it speaks to me so deeply and completely. First, it shows two different generations, separated by several decades, yet sharing the same pure pleasure and concentration, connected by their love of the sport and the sense of accomplishment that comes from competing at this level.
Second, the gentleman smiling with intense pleasure behind the table is Terukazu Nishimura, the founder of the ROBO-ONE humanoid robot entertainment movement.
Over ten years ago he had a dream. That, in itself, isn't unusual. Everyone has dreams and aspirations. But Nishimura took it on himself to make his dream a reality. It didn't come easy. He had to take a lot of personal and financial risks, and he put his own personal credibility on the line as he convinced, cajoled, and encouraged everyone from major companies like Bandai and Sunrise, to smaller companies including Kondo and Futaba, plus a raft of hobbyists to get involved.
Of course it took the hard work and dedication of over a hundred volunteers and participants over the past decade to make the ROBO-ONE movement the success it is today.
Without Nishimura, without his dream, and without his unflagging focus and commitment, none of this would have happened. The lives of so many robot fans and builders, not just in Japan but all over the world, would be less enriched and a little sadder. His gift, his dream, has already blessed and inspired several generations.
So, when I see this photo, when I see the broad, happy, engrossed smile on Nishimura's face, I know, and I'm sure he knows, that it's all been worthwhile. I hope he understands the debt of gratitude and appreciation that all of us owe to him.