|Born : November 3, 1854, Takaoka, Toyama, Japan
Died : July 22, 1922, New York City, USA
Chemist, University of Tokyo
Known for : industrial enzymes production like Takadiastase
Dr. Takamine was born in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture in November 1854. His father was a doctor, his mother a member of a family of sake brewers. He spent his childhood in Kanazawa, and was educated in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.
He did postgraduate work at the University of Glasgow and Anderson College in Scotland. He returned to Japan in 1883 and joined the Chemistry Division at the Department of Agriculture and Commerce. He learned English as a child from a Dutch family in Nagasaki and, as a result, always spoke English with a Dutch accent.
He worked for the Department of Agriculture and Commerce until 1887. He then founded The Tokyo Artificial Fertilizer Company, where he isolated the enzyme which he named Takadiastase. Dr. Takamine developed his diastase from koji, a fungus used in the manufacturing of soy sauce and miso.
Takamine met Caroline Hitch, his future wife, in New Orleans, when he went there as co-commissioner of the Cotton Exposition in 1884. He later emigrated to the USA and established his own research laboratory in New York City. Despite setting up his personal lab, he licensed the exclusive production rights for Takadiastase to one of the largest US pharmaceutical companies: Parke Davis and Co. This business initiative made Dr. Takamine a millionaire.
In 1901 he isolated and purified adrenaline from animal glands, becoming the first to accomplish this in glandular hormones.
In 1905 he founded the Nippon Club in Manhattan.
Many of the beautiful Cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin, of Washington DC, were donated by the Japanese authorities, and Dr. Takamine.