Palin's glasses a winner for inventor

The Japanese designer of Sarah Palin’s glasses thanked her today for creating a sales boom.

The Japanese designer of Sarah Palin’s glasses thanked her today for creating a sales boom.

Kazuo Kawasaki said his company normally sold around 12,000 pairs a year, but since the Republican vice-presidential candidate shot to prominence last month they have had orders for 9,000.

“She is very good-looking. She would look good in any glasses,” Mr Kawasaki said at Masunaga Optical Manufacturing in Tokyo.

The clear-rim MP-704 glasses, made of super-light titanium, have become all the rage in the US where they cost about $400.

Mr Kawasaki, 59, an engineering professor at Osaka University, also designs arty syringes, artificial hearts, kitchen sponges and wheelchairs – including his own that he uses after a traffic accident 30 years ago.

He believes his glasses are becoming a hit because people appreciate how scientifically and ergonomically they are designed so wearers barely feel their presence.

He said he shares what he sees as some common political sentiments with Mrs Palin.

“I am quite right-wing. I am a nationalist in the sense I believe in the Japanese aesthetic.”

An award-winning designer who has contributed to the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Mr Kawasaki has seen his glasses on celebrities before, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and actress Whoopi Goldberg.

But he has never got quite the stunning reception as he has had this time around with Palin.

“I want to say, ’Thank you,’ to Ms. Palin,” he said with a smile. “I want people to realize how fantastic Made in Japan technology can be.”

Mr Kawasaki, who believes design offers solutions to social problems, not just trendy appearances, was careful to add he was not taking sides in the presidential race.

“Whether it becomes Mr Obama or Mr McCain, I want to ask him to build peace in the international order,” he said.

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