First Cow-to-Monkey Kidney Transplant Performed Successfully at Dokkyo Medical School

On Dec. 12, 2004, the first successful cow-to-monkey kidney transplant was performed at Dokkyo Medical School, Tochigi, in Japan. The recipient monkey survived for one day with no sign of rejection. Read More »

Diligence of the Japanese admired in Tang Dynasty China

In 2004, an inscription on a gravestone was found at Xi’an city in Shaanxi in China, site of Chang’an, the Tang Dynasty capital from 618-907. It is the oldest example of the written name of the country of Japan. Achievements of Japanese envoys to Tang China, Nakamaro Abe-no, Makibi Kibi-no and others, were additionally engraved on it. 171 characters of the seal-engraving style in 12 lines were carved on the monument of 40 centimeters square. Read More »

Culture of syphilis germ and discovery of yellow fever by Hideyo Noguchi

Hideyo Noguchi (野口 英世) succeeded in culturing syphilis in 1911(Meiji 44). In 1913(Taisho 2), he announced that syphilis bacteria can cause progressive paralysis and tabes dorsalis. Noguchi was mentioned as a final candidate for a Nobel Prize. In 1918(Taisho 7) he went on a business trip to Ecuador where yellow fever broke out and found the pathogen that caused the disease. He developed a vaccine that saved a lot of lives. Read More »

Goto Shinpei 後藤新平: Father of Taiwan’s Modernization

Goto Shinpei後藤 新平) is considered to be the father of Taiwan’s modernization.

During the Japanese colonial period, Goto Shinpei was in charge of civil affairs at the Taiwan Governor’s Office between 1898 and 1906, during the rule of the fourth governor, Kodama Gentaro児玉 源太郎). He launched many innovative projects which would lead the way to Taiwanese economic independence from Japan. Read More »

Takuji Gotoda, Hiroyuki Ono: Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) of gastric cancer with the insulation-tipped electrosurgical knife

In the past, gastric cancer that exceeded 2cm would result in an abdominal operation, however it has become possible to remove cancer in the mucous membrane layer with an ESD. Read More »

World’s fastest electric car named “Ereca” Faculty of environment and Information Studies of Keio University, and 38 enterprises

2003. The Laboratory in the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies at Keio University and 38 enterprises in Japan.

The maximum speed of “Ereca” using Lithium-ion battery power is 370km per hour. It is a five-passenger, eight-wheel-drive car, and motors are encased in each wheel. It is 5.1m in total length, 1.9m in width and about 800 h.p. Fuel consumption is 24km/l in 10.15 running mode.

It is twice or more as good as a passenger car in the same class. It will go 300 km on one battery charge. It can be fully charged in about 5 hours using the power supply at home.

Yugama, at the peak of Kusatsu-Shirane volcano(2,160m) in Gunma Prefecture, is the most acidic lake in the world

Yugama at the peak of the Kusatsu-Shirane volcano (2,160m) in Gunma Prefecture is the most acidic, about pH1, volcanic lake. This lake measures 300m in diameter, 30m in depth and is almost circular in shape. The lake contains stagnant water in the crater, spews hydrogen sulfide and water vapor, and is accumulating sulfur on the bottom. Read More »

Koukichi Ukita: the Japanese who flew in the sky more than 100 years before Otto Lilienthal

It is generally believed that the first human who flew a glider was the German glider king, Otto Lilienthal. Yet it is said that Kokichi Ukita, a picture framer during the Edo Period, flew more than 100 years before that. Read More »

The most beautiful hotel in the world. Imperial Hotel light hall

Imperial Hotel light hall (帝国ホテルライト館) was built on September 1st 1923. It was designed by maestro Frank Floyd Wright who was so familiar with Japan as to own thousands of Ukiyoe. It is praised as a masterpiece in Japanese architecture. Read More »

Olympus, Endoscope for medical treatment

In 1950, chief engineer of Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. (now Olympus オリンパス) Mutsuo Sugiura and his subordinate Shoji Fukami developed the gastrocamera, the first in the world. From this technology an endoscope and a fiberscope have also been developed. As of 2007, Olympus’ endoscope represents 70% of the world share. Read More »

Sadayakko: The first Japanese actress who charmed the rest of the world

Sadayakko (貞奴), whose birth name was Sada Oguma, made an appearance at a Geisha parlour at age seven and was patronized by Hirobumi Ito at fifteen. After that she married Otojiro Kawakami, who was famous for a satirical verse titled “Oppekepe”. In 1899, Sadayakko joined Otojiro’s first Japanese touring theatre to America and made her debut as the very first Japanese actress in the country as “Madame Sadayakko”. At that time, because of a Japanese boom in the West, famous artists such as Van Gogh, Manet and Monet got to learn a lot from woodblock prints (or woodcuts) made by Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro. Read More »

Invention of ‘snap-off blade cutter’

Yoshio Okada, the Okada company (the present OLFA Corporation) founder, invented the world’s first ‘snap-off blade cutter’ in 1956( Showa 31) . Read More »

Nagasaki Airport: The Worlds First Seadrome

Nagasaki Airport (長崎空港) opened as the world’s first authentic seadrome on May 1, 1975. Located on Minoshima Island it floats almost in the centre of Omura Bay in Nagasaki Prefecture. Read More »

Bloodless Surrender of Edo Castle in Meiji Restoration

On March 14,1868, Katsu Kaishu 海舟, as a royal retainer of Tokugawa Shogunate, negotiated with Saigo Takamori 西郷 隆盛, who was in charge of revolutionary forces, the peaceful surrender of Edo Castle to avoid the civil war in Edo, now is Tokyo. Read More »

Gottfried Wagener, “The Father of Modern Japanese Ceramics”, appreciated Japan

In the early Meiji era, Gottfried Wagener, a foreign scientist hired by the Japanese government, noted in “Nippon no Kogyo no Hoshin” (The Policy on Japanese Industries):
“If Japan desires to compete with foreign nations in industrial fields, this country should enduringly preserve its unique sense of taste and artistic mentality. Never allow the Japanese people to forget this.” And he appreciated the Japanese aesthetic sense and technical capability.

Yamaoka Tesshu 山岡鉄舟

Yamaoka Tesshu 山岡 鉄舟(1836-1888) was an outstanding sword master in the Late Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meiji era, often considered to be the last of the great swordsmen of Japanese martial history. He was also a noted Zen master and an accomplished calligrapher. Read More »

Ajinomoto KK Supplies Most of the World’s Medical Amino Acid

In 1956 Morishita Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. launched the sale of the first amino acid crystal infusion (Moriamin,) introducing this medical treatment to the world. Now Ajinomoto KK (味の素) accounts for 60% of the world’s share of amino acid for medical treatment. Read More »

The original lyrics of “Kimigayo” were the oldest in the world

The national anthem of Japan, “Kimigayo”, is a song of celebration, expressing our wish that the Emperor’s reign would last for all the eons that it would take for tiny pebbles to mass together into a great moss-covered boulder. Read More »

World’s finest ballpoint pen

January 2005. MITSUBISHI PENCIL (三菱鉛筆). 0.18mm in ball diameter. PILOT CORPORATION (パイロット) put the finest ballpoint pen in the world, 0.13mm in width of line, on the market, in March 2004, the year before. The pen point is super-hard and 0.23mm in diameter, and super-minute-grain biotechnology Polymer ink is used. The ballpoint pens of 0.15mm in width of line were manufactured 100 million or more, and sold the most in the world.

France attracted by Japan’s National Flag ‘Hinomaru’

At the time of Japan’s modernization during the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the beautiful ‘Hinomaru’ design attracted a great deal of attention from ambassadors of many countries. France sent formal delegates of her government to Japan, and asked the new Meiji Administration to sell the ‘Hinomaru’ design to France for five million yen (equivalent to twenty billion yen at the present time). Read More »