Like a number of children born in the 1950s and 60s, Alan Nagao's mother had taken the drug Thalidomide while she was pregnant with him, resulting in Alan's severe birth defects. Chosen as an Easter Seals poster child, Nagao's smile captured the attention of many people, including the president of the United States. Nagao was ridiculed in elementary school for his condition, but despite his inability to play traditional sports, he found his passion in the yo-yo. Expanding his passion to Japan, Nagao convinced an American yo-yo manufacturer to hold an event at the Tokyo Toy Fair, where seventy thousand boys came to watch Alan demonstrate his yo-yo tricks. The fad caught on in Japan, which led to the sale of over 10 million yo-yos (for which Nagao received one dollar per yo-yo sold). However, yo-yos aren't Nagao's only passion. With his love of kites, Alan became part of a professional kite team and traveled all around the world for competitions. Now the author of a famous book about kite flying, Nagao lives happily with his wife of 28 years and their children.
Original air date: October 10, 2013
HIKI NŌ #502