Kyoichi Tanaka, chairman and founder of contact lens manufacturer
Menicon Co., Ltd., last year received two prestigious awards. On June
28, 2013, at its annual meeting in San Diego, the American Optometric
Association honored Mr. Tanaka's life's work with its Legends Award. Two
months later, on August 29 at its 17th Symposium - held in
Kyoto - the International Society for Contact Lens Research conferred on
him its Lifetime Contribution Award.
Encounter with the American officer's wife at the optical shop. (Photo: Business Wire)
Today, still "genki" (vigorous) at 82, Mr. Tanaka maintains a
strong interest in the arts and still keeps one eye on the business he
pioneered in 1951, now headed by his son Hidenari Tanaka. His life and
career have spanned an almost unfathomable trajectory of progress in
contact lens technology.
In November, 1950, as Japan was recovering from WWII, Mr. Tanaka was a
young optician in Nagoya, near his hometown, working in a shop
frequented by U.S. military personnel. One day an American officer's
wife came in to have her glasses adjusted, and mentioned in passing that
she had contact lenses in her purse.
Having never seen contact lenses before, Mr. Tanaka was excited. So as
politely as he could with his rudimentary English, he asked to see them.
"Oh no," the woman replied, wrapping her arms around her handbag.
"They're very expensive and it would be terrible if they got broken."
Although disappointed, h was so intrigued by the idea of contact lenses
that he set out to make his own, from scratch. Within three months,
testing prototypes in his own eyes, he had crafted his first wearable
corneal contact lenses. From there, Mr. Tanaka never looked back as he
built what has become a thriving global enterprise, respected in the
profession and industry as a force in vision innovation.
As Menicon completes its 63rd fiscal year, we continue to
look forward to serving the vision needs of people on every continent.
But in this month when progress is measured each year, we like to look
back, to give thanks and marvel at how far we have come from our humble
For the rest of the story of Kyoichi Tanaka's early career, see The
Man Who Invented the Japanese Contact Lens: www.menicon.com/corporate/images/stories/pdf/chairmans-biography.pdf
Headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, and represented in over 80 countries,
Menicon Co., Ltd. is the only contact lens company in the world
dedicated to every aspect of the field from material development and
lens design to manufacturing of lenses and lens care solutions. Menicon
offers an expanding portfolio of innovative lenses, packaging and
related products that maximize user comfort and convenience. The company
is also the world's largest producer of gas-permeable contact lenses.
For more information, visit menicon.com
or contact Yoko Kido: firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Optometric Association represents approximately 36,000
doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants
and technicians. Doctors of optometry provide two-thirds of all primary
eye care in the United States. For more information, see: www.aoa.org
Established in 1978, the International Society for Contact Lens Research
(ISCLR) is committed to international communication in all fields of
contact lens research: materials, eye care, clinical practice,
compliance and epidemiology. For more information, see: www.isclr.org
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140313005497/en/
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