At the age of three, Masa fell in love with nature when he saw BBC’s Life on Earth: A Natural History by David Attenborough. He watched the video recording of the TV series until it wore out. According to his mother, the scene of Hymenopus coronatus hunting a butterfly was his favorite. He admired David Attenborough as his god; he spent a lot of his childhood collecting bugs in the field, rearing them at house and recording observations.
From the influence of his father, who was an environmental microbiologist, Masa’s interest expanded to various environmental issues such as ground water contamination, ozone layer depletion, garbage problems, etc. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and master’s degree in Environmental Microbiology. Although he loved his master’s work on developing a system of microbial wastewater treatment and quantifying microbial nitrogen cycle in agricultural field, his love of bugs never died.
In 2006, he started his Ph.D. study in the soil insect ecology lab at Cornell University. He studied the spatio-temporal ecology of the annual bluegrass weevil, Listronotus maculicollis. a serious insect pest in the golf courses in the Northeast. A shift from an invisible microbial world to a visible but very close to microscopic world was not a challenge. The challenge was to evade golf balls and to fight off black flies and mosquitoes while kneeing down on the golf courses to look for the weevil.
After completion of his Ph.D. program, he joined the Shelton lab as a postdoctoral associate. Currently, he is working on ecology and management of the leek moth, Acrolepiopsis assectella, a new invasive species from Europe that damages onions and other vegetable alliums. He is developing a phenological model to predict the growth and emergence of the insect and has been trying to correlate it with the application of various management alternatives, such as conventional/organic pesticide, biological control agent and cultural management practice.
Beside his work, he enjoys and performs the Japanese Taiko drumming. He produces concerts in Upstate NY and has performed at various venues. In 2009, he received a grant from the Japanese government to have a concert tour in Upstate NY. He invited +20 Taiko drummers from Japan and performed in Ithaca, Geneva, and Rochester. The tour was filmed by NHK, the Japanese national television network, and the documentary was nationally broadcast in Japan. In 2011, he produced a charity concert for the Japan earthquake relief, and donated over $5,000 to an affected area. In 2013, he is going to bring another concert to his beloved Geneva, NY.