Honorary Member


Dr. Masami Akamine graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the Ryukyus in 1979, completed the Master's Program in Information Engineering at the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University in 1982, and completed the Doctoral Program in Electronic Engineering at the Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University in 1985. He joined Toshiba Corporation in the same year. He had been a Senior Fellow of the Toshiba Corporate Research & Development Center for 14 years since 2005 and a specially appointed professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University for three years since 2016. He has been a specially appointed professor at the graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University since 2019. He has made remarkable achievements as a researcher in industry and has also been active in the field of electronic information and communications, receiving the Medal with Purple Ribbon for his research on the practical application of speech synthesis.

He has long been a leader in the research and development of speech synthesis technology. In particular, he proposed a new paradigm for speech synthesis called closed-loop training. By developing the world's first speech synthesis method based on this paradigm, he has made significant contributions to the dramatic improvement of performance and the development of industry.

Until this, speech synthesis involved optimizing individual parameters for various intermediate signal processing from input to output. In contrast, the closed-loop training he developed allowed parameters to be automatically learned to minimize a distortion by formulating the distortion between the final synthetic speech and the teacher signal as an evaluation quantity. As a result, he not only significantly improved the quality of synthetic speech, but also succeeded in realizing the synthesis process, which previously required several gigabytes of memory, with only a few hundred kilobytes of memory.

This pioneering technology of speech synthesis has been widely adopted not only in Toshiba products but also in consumer equipment such as car navigation systems, electronic dictionaries, and video game machines, and social infrastructure equipment such as escalators and elevators, and has greatly contributed to the development of the industry. He has 273 related patent applications and 159 registered patents. Even today, when statistical models and machine learning have replaced speech synthesis methods, this closed-loop training paradigm is still used consistently and plays a central role in today's rapidly developing speech synthesis systems, cloud services (e.g., Toshiba's RECAIUS(TM)) and smart speakers.

At the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE), he has been a Paper Reviewer for many years, as well as the Associate Editor for the special issue of the paper, and is committed to managing and revitalizing the IEICE. He also played an essential role in various conferences related to technological promotion and academic promotion, including a member of the Multimedia Committee, ITU-T Group, Information and Communication Technology Subcommittee, Information and Communications Council, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications from 1999 to 2011, a member of the Multimedia Application Expert Committee of the Telecommunication Technology Committee from 2011 to 2018, a member of Speech Corpus Promotion Committee of National Institute of Informatics from 2015 to 2018, and a committee member of the Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University from 2016 to 2018.

He has made remarkable achievements in the field of speech synthesis, such as receiving the IEICE's continuous Best Paper Award for research on speech synthesis, the IEICE's Achievement Award for contributing to the "development and practical application of the high-quality speech synthesis method," and Milestones. Thus, he has made a significant contribution to academic development. In addition, for these achievements he has received a total of 12 awards, including Research Achievement Award of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ichimura Prize in Industry for Excellent Achievement, the IEICE's Distinguished Achievement and Contributions Award, Prime Minister's Invention Award. He also received the Medal with the Purple Ribbon as a leading expert in speech synthesis in Japan.

As mentioned above, in addition to his research achievements on speech synthesis technology, his contribution to the development of the IEICE and the field of electronic information communication is highly remarkable. We are confident that Dr. Akamine is worthy of the title of an Honorary Member of the IEICE.