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Artist Highlight: Hiroshi Wakabayashi & His Polarized Kaleidoscopes

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

This weeks post features the work of one of our beloved Japanese artists, Hiroshi Wakabayashi!

Hiroshi Wakabayashi
Hiroshi Wakabayashi

Known for the utilization of polarized filters within his scopes, Wakabayashi has garnered a large following among American and Japanese collectors alike thanks to the unique and captivating colors the polarization produces. Having a background in both sculpture and engineering, his scopes are equal parts whimsical and thoughtfully designed for functionality.

For those of you unfamiliar with polarized kaleidoscopes, the process involves the placement of filters on the object cell that bend light passing through it. In turn, when the viewer exposes the scope to a good light source (then sun is the best, as it emits the full spectrum of light!) the filters "trick" the cones in our eyes into seeing spectacular and distinctly vivid colors that are so saturated, they almost look "digital". This happens for two main reasons; the range of colors is caused by the light rays bending at various angles, and also because the speed of the light waves bouncing off the pieces in the object chamber have been altered. The result is an incredibly immersive and mesmerizing scope, so it is no wonder that these are some of our staff favorites, too!

Please enjoy these photos of his work, and check out our shop below if you would like to call one your own!

Hiroshi Wakabayashi
Hiroshi Wakabayashi

So which do you prefer? Poloraized or Non-Polarized kaleidoscopes?

  • Polarized Kaleidoscopes!

  • Non-Polarized Kaleidoscopes!

For more on how we perceive color, check out this article from the American Museum of Natural History!


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