I first met Hajime Sakamoto in 2005 during a ROBO-ONE competition in Tokyo. One of the most striking and impressive things about Sakamoto was his total dedication to humanoid robotics
Many of the other ROBO-ONE competitors design excellent, world-class robots but they do it primarily as a hobby. It's a way for them to express their creativity, skill, and passion away from the day to day work grind. It's a pleasant and fulfilling escape from their daily duties. But for Sakamoto, designing and building high performance humanoid robots is a way of life.
I'm not sure how old he was back in 2005 - he doesn't seem to have changed physically at all over the past seven years. Here's one of my photos from that competition:
It turns out that as far back as his early junior high school days, he wanted to 'build Gundam'. It wasn't just a childhood daydream. It was his total and complete focus, his life plan and ambition. And, that focus, that goal, hasn't wavered one iota over the years.
Along the way he's managed to compete in ROBO-ONE at the top levels; design, manufacture, and compete with championship RoboCup humanoids across the globe; and develop an international robotics business. All the while never losing sight of his ultimate goal - building Gundam.
Here's the most recent video showing Sakamoto using a master/slave setup to control a 2 meter tall robot: