Tokyo Polytechnic University (TPU) originated as the “Konishi Professional School of Photography”, founded in 1923. It was established to train technicians and researchers in the field of photography, a cutting-edge expression technology at the time. The school was a pioneer in combining self-expression through photography (art) with photographic techniques (technology). It developed into a university consisting of 2 unique faculties, namely, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Arts, and has “technology-art fusion” as its unique characteristic.
In TPU’s logo, the light blue circle represents the Faculty of Engineering, the yellow circle denotes the Faculty of Arts, and the green part where they intersect represents the fusion of both faculties. However, one of the issues to be solved is that the fusion and collaboration between Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Arts are not always as active in research or education as at the time of its founding, and the uniqueness and potential capability of our university are not fully utilized.
We therefore picked “color”, which is rooted in academic disciplines such as photography, printing, and optics that are the roots of TPU, for the project as a cross-cutting research theme that is common in today’s Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Arts to form the only “International Research Center for Color Science and Art” in Japan. While cooperating with overseas universities that have color research institutions in the fields of art and engineering such as Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), Chinese Culture University (Taiwan), Chulalongkorn University of Thailand and University of Eastern Finland, we will build a solid brand for our university to be known for “color” and aim for true “fusion of engineering and art”. This is the policy of our President.
Considering the external environment and the social situation, Japan is faced with three major issues: sluggish economic growth accompanying the slump in export industries including major electronics manufacturers, a super-aging society, and education that supports Japan’s future. We are convinced that research on color will make significant contributions to solving issues in Japan, including color and design tailored for the taste of each country, the media export industry (so-called Cool Japan), for which color is an important element, and application of color to medical/nursing care, education, etc.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in 2020 is a bright topic. Our project will contribute to the innovation of color presentation technologies such as images, photographs and printing at those events. We will also participate in the “cultural power project” triggered by the event planned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs through media art work with a theme of “color” and disseminate the TPU brand to the world.
Before applying for the research branding project, we solicited research themes on color. A total of nearly 50 themes were proposed by all departments: Faculty of Engineering (Department of Media and Image Technology, Department of Life Science and Sustainable Chemistry, Department of Architecture, Department of Applied Computer Science, Department of Electronics and Mechatronics) and Faculty of Arts (Department of Photography, Department of Imaging Art, Department of Design, Department of Interactive Media, Department of Animation, Department of Game, Department of Manga). This means that all departments of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Arts can participate in and work on this research branding project. The research themes are largely classified as follows:
(1) Impact of color on human psychology and emotion, such as indoor comfort, intellectual productivity, and preference;
(2) Color and education;
(3) Color and health, medical/nursing care;
(4) Color and storage of digital archives of cultural assets, and art works;
(5) Color and media arts;
(6) Color and architecture; and
(7) Development of optical elements and devices.
In this way, while focusing on color, we will form the “International Research Center for Color Science and Art” to educate and research a wide range of interdisciplinary fields from color-related technology to art. At this Center, which is the core of the project, we will set up a laboratory to study color and human psychology and emotion, technology that enables true and high-precision color reproduction, and digital archive storage technology for cultural assets and art works under various light sources. We will also construct a new experience-based learning system that conveys the fundamentals of the science of color and the latest research results in an easy-to-understand and fun way using media arts such as photos, images, augmented reality, projection mapping, computer graphics, manga, and games. Then, we will set up a gallery that makes the results public including children and junior-high-school and high-school students. Such an education and research center does not exist in other universities in Japan, and it is the only center in Japan that takes advantage of the characteristic of our university of having a Faculty of Engineering and a Faculty of Arts.
Color science ranges from fundamental fields including physics, chemistry, mathematics, and psychology to application fields including image engineering, printing engineering, computer graphics, conservation science, and autonomous robot engineering. It is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses both engineering and artistic fields. Therefore, education and research on color science contributes to the progress of science and technology over a wide range of fields. There is almost no industry that does not use color, and it is said that the economic scale concerning color will amount to trillions of yen. Research on color, such as the color and design of products that resonate to consumers’ hearts in various countries and the media export industry called Cool Japan, has extremely important economic significance. Research on color also has great cultural and social significance, such as archiving preservation/color reproduction of cultural assets and art works, distribution of Japanese culture to the world using the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games as an opportunity, application of color to medical and nursing care for the super-aging society, and application of color to education that supports the future of Japan.
To develop a method of measuring and evaluating outcomes, a “Self-Inspection and Evaluation Committee” is established under the “University Research Support Committee” consisting of the President, the Deans of both faculties, the Dean of both graduate schools, the Executive Secretary, etc. This Committee presets evaluation indicators such as the number of papers, the number of presentations, the number of visitors to the gallery at the International Research Center for Color Science and Art, the number of open courses, and the number of international workshops, and verifies the effect by post-project evaluation. Also, at the end of each fiscal year, we will hold research presentation sessions for each project. Furthermore, for objective evaluation, we will form an external evaluation committee consisting of external experts from, for example, the Color Sciences Association of Japan, the Imaging Society of Japan, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and companies that belong to the Atsugi Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as elementary and high schools, city hall, and companies to which the university is planning to disseminate its research results.