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Apr. 13, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Apr. 26, 2012

Massage Chairs

In Japan, stress is a part of life. Giving and receiving massages, particularly shoulder massages, is a Japanese institution. And over the last several decades, the massage chair has become an equally important part of Japanese life. The world's first massage chair was invented in Osaka in 1950. Its creator was an amateur inventor who wanted his frail daughter to be able to have a shoulder massage, even when he wasn't around. Since then, massage chair technology has come a long way. The latest models can massage the whole body, and they use technologies like computers, optic sensors and pneumatic pumps.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is massage chairs. We look at their state-of-the-art Japanese engineering and their little-known history.