WooWoo Beliefs – A TCA Educational Series: Episode #5

NOTE: I have replaced the images in this post after a legal challenge from Dr Emoto’s office, on the basis of intellectual property violation. You can read about it here. I note that images of Dr Emoto and his water crystals appear widely across the internet on sites that are supportive of his ideas. I leave it to you to make a conclusion about why he objects to them on my site…

Water Man

This is Dr Masaru Emoto. You might remember that some time back I had cause to mention Dr Emoto in relation to the improbable H²Om ‘vibrationally charged water’, for whom he may or may not have been some kind of spokesman.* I promised in that post that we’d examine him in more detail at a later date, so here we go.

Dr Emoto believes† that human emotions, through speech or thought, effect the behaviour of water, particularly the way water crystallizes.

To put it in the very simplest of terms (and trust me, there’s not a lot more to it than simple terms): if you think bad thoughts at water while it’s freezing it will make ugly crystals, and if you think good thoughts it will make pretty crystals. Does that sound daft? Yeah, well by any sensible yardstick, it pretty much is.

Dr Emoto has also come to the conclusion that even just the words that we use to convey certain emotions and ideas will affect water! He maintains that simply writing words on the containers used to freeze water will influence the kinds of ice crystals it makes. These are similar to some of the examples to be found on the Hado‡ website (a comprehensive archive of Masaru Emoto’s ideas):


Yes, that’s right – just the written words for the French, Japanese and English language expressions for the concept of ‘thank you’ create crystals as expressively different as those in these pictures. Remarkable! And is it just me, or does the French ice crystal look flamboyant and florid, the Japanese one precise and elegant and the English one ugly, coarse and ill-defined – classic, banal racial stereotypes. I bet ‘danke’ would turn out angular and severe, with no sense of humour.

Dr Emoto, by his own admission, is not a scientist. In his ‘experiments’ with water crystallization, he has suggested that photographers use their aesthetic discretion when choosing examples that endorse his ideas. As far as science goes, then, this is something more akin to an art excursion.

What’s wrong with Dr Emoto having a charming little eccentric idea about water caring what we think about it? Well, the problem is that Emoto’s notions have been picked up by just about every lunatic in existence who has some kind of ‘water therapy’ as their cause, and then been advanced by those people as science, either directly, or just by the omission of salient details. If you were unfortunate enough to have endured the inane ‘What the Bleep Do We Know’ you will have seen exactly how Dr Emoto’s ideas are advocated: breathless slack-jawed wonder, without a shred of critical analysis (or even just common sense) in sight. Merchandizers like H²Om, who are selling nothing more than purified water, are quick to flaunt Emoto’s convictions (if it suits them) and homeopaths from here to Asheville NC, who are now clutching at anything that remotely even looks like a straw, are hitching their implausible beliefs to Emoto’s fantastical star.

And, as eccentric and, well, Japanese, as Dr Emoto comes across, it’s hard not to like him. Reading through his website you get the idea that he’s just a nutty old geezer who’s had way more attention than he should have, for an idea that is childlike and appealing in a very undemanding way. Hado is a cute, wide-eyed, uncomplicated view of the way things work – the ‘Hello Kitty’ of science.

Sadly, credulous people with little grasp of what science is actually about find the allure of Dr Emoto’s magical thinking all too seductive, and without even casually examining his process, take seriously what should properly be viewed as a quirky amusement.

As a parting thought, you might like to read Dr Emoto’s Happiness Poem at Hado. Its innocent pining for a simple solution to everything that seems ‘wrong’ with the world (by ‘fixing our broken relationship with water…’) bespeaks a guileless mind that does not want to concern itself even slightly with the complexities of the way things actually are.

If only it was that easy.


*It was kind of hard to tell. The makers of H²Om seemed to want to simultaneously align themselves with, and distance themselves from, Dr Emoto according to the usefulness of the context. A bet each way, it would appear.

†For a change, I really think that Dr Emoto is someone who genuinely does believe what he says, misguided though he may be. That puts him in a very obvious class of people, in my book – he’s just batty. He’s not as shifty and conniving as Jasmuheen, nor as smugly manipulative as Rael.

‡’Hado’, to rhyme with ‘shadow’ – apparently from two Japanese ideograms that mean wave and move.