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March 2009 Front and back

Front and back ?

Now look at the three pictures below.This is a picture of a mask of the main characters from a Toei Animation.(Cure Dream of Precure Five)

The first photo is from the right, the next is from the front, and the last is from the left.It is a small photograph, so you may have to look carefully before you realize it, but when you are looking from the right, it appears as if it looks at the right, the center is looking at the front, and from the left, it seems looking at the left.That means!This mask turns its face along with your movement.You may say that the mask is chasing you.(Of course, this mask is not moving, you are the one who moved.)What makes this happen?

You may have noticed that this mask looks a little strange. Well, it was actually photographed from the back side.When you take the picture of the front side of a mask, which looks at the front, and look at it from the right, it appears looking at the left, thus looking away from you.This is because the mask is not moving and keeps looking straight ahead even when you are moving.And that actually makes sense.

In other words, if you look at a mask normally, it stays where it is, just as is. but when you turn it around, it starts looking at you.Please try it for yourself if you have a chance.I imagine that things like Noh masks should give even more realistic experience.Things have spirits of their own, and sometimes they are awakened when the other world emerges...! ?

We could possibly attempt to explain such phenomena in the “paranormal” context (rather trivial kind) .

Anyone can witness the above with the proper setting such as adequate lighting etc. In this sense, you can accept that the mask keeps looking at you as an undeniable fact (given that you are an innocent and open-hearted kind…).However, I also suspect that well-educated folks might well react with the reservation: "Something's wrong".

This phenomenon/sensory perception takes place with multiple elements involved.Firstly, the mask is presented with the back side, and we are not used to see such a thing as the back of the face.Therefore, once we recognize the face of the mask, we overlook the fact that it is the wrong side. We simply see it as a face.When the lighting is uniform and we move to the left, the right side of the nose becomes more visible than the left (because it is dent).That gives us the impression that the face is turning to the left.Similarly, it will turn to the right when you move to the right.Therefore, the mask appears following and keeps looking at you.

Let me explain in further detail: the fact that the nose points out in nature is a solid fact based on common sense and experience in our memory center.The nose part, which is actually concave (on the back side) yet perceived as convex with our anticipation. Then, this perception mixes with the actual visual information and results in false recognition of the face orientation.

Many kinds of paranormal phenomena have been reported on TV, but I think most of them are not out of ordinary events. They can be explained as normal phenomena.

It can be troublesome as we may convince ourselves that it is indeed a strange phenomenon when we accept the perceptional experience as is.In addition, it can be difficult to accurately determine what is true unless it is a matter of science.The absolute truth is often unclear or uncertain, and if you feel like it, you can come to a variety of conclusions (even the opposite ones) by choosing the part you want to adopt and adding words to it, without changing the statistical data.In any case, it will be extremely important, not only in everyday life but also in the political and business settings, to develop an eye for capturing the essential truth and hidden intentions beyond the superficial correctness.To that end, I always encourage people to acquire knowledge, enhance reading comprehension skills, and expand cultural knowledge.

I wrote on this topic afresh as I recalled the explanation I gave over the phone, as a response to a TV show audience, to the TV staff in charge of that show, “Ito’s Table” which was on air until a few years ago.At the end, it was a little too difficult to create a footage that could attract broad viewer's interest. So, it was not presented on air .

Shigeru Eiho