Death by research

AND this in the name of research — seriously, what’s wrong with these kids?

This is the story: technology student builds concrete canoe, goes out to test in dangerous river, drowns. Just wanted to see if it would float properly, you see.

Ken Kitamura, 19, was not alone in this project. This is how the Japanese Mainichi Daily News reports it

Kitamura, a student at the Osaka Institute of Technology, built the canoe along with other members of the university’s civil engineering culture research club.

And this, the best part:

Kitamura was not wearing a life jacket. Police are continuing to investigate.




  1. Deeply Dippy · August 18, 2009

    Errrr, what’s the point you’re trying to make here? That concrete doesn’t float, that the student should have been supervised or that he failed to wear a life vest?

    Concrete can float – here’s a link to a wiki article on Mulberry Harbours –

    Giant temporary harbours, made by the British and *floated* across the Channel to be sunk in position on the French coast.

  2. Chindu Sreedharan
    Chindu Sreedharan · August 19, 2009

    Suspected as much, DD, that it would float — thanks for the links. Just marvelling at the casualness of the whole project, including all those things you mention. Result: one very dead kid.

  3. Manu · October 1, 2013

    After your article on Gatward, I was going to pull you up for beginning this one with a conjunction.
    Apparently you’re in good company though: P G Wodehouse, Nabokov, Albert Einstein…
    So I guess I learned something new instead :)

    And yes, the real tragedy of Kitamura’s death was that it was so unnecessary.

Leave a Reply