The son of a medical practitioner, he was a chemist by training but also an inventor and an entrepreneur whose interests lay firmly in applying and manufacturing his scientific discoveries.
In America, almost 121 years ago, he seized every opportunity to get involved in business ventures and set up companies to patent and produce innovative technology based on much coveted research and development.
He maintained that the fruits of business should be ploughed back into society and constantly strived to promote international goodwill. He was especially committed in developing friendship between Japan and the United States, as an uncrowned ambassador and, as a philanthropist, he did his utmost to further other scientific technology.
Significant contributions made by Dr. Jokichi Takamine to science, industry and society:
- Taka-diastase: the world’s first microbial enzyme
- Adrenalin: the world’s first hormone in pill form
He was also involved in the following:
- Chemical fertilizer
Research and development:
- National Science Laboratory > Institute of Physical and Chemical Research
- Brewing Laboratory > Laboratory for Liquor Process Research
- Patent and trademark system
- Takamine ferment – Technical Licensing
- Process licensing
Industry and commerce:
- Japan’s first Chemical Fertilizer Company
- Tokyo Chemical Fertilizers > Dainippon Fertilizer > Nissan Chemical Industries Ltd.
- Takamine laboratory > Miles > Bayer > Solvay > Genencor > Danisco
- He gave advice to his friend who created the TOYODA Society to renamed it TOYOTA to expend his business into car's industry
He was instrumental in:
- The Kurobe Dam, Kurobe railroads
- The Unazuki hot springs
- The Nippon Club
- The Japan society
- The Japan Association
- The America-Japan Society Inc.
- Cherries trees gifted to Washington DC
Dr. Takamine, who successfully developed Takadiastase and Adrenalin, collaborated with various well-known figures in America, and played an essential role in the birth and growth of business strategy in his native Japan.
He worked closely with Edison on carbolic acid, which is the basic component in Bakelite.
He was introduced to automobile magnate Henry Ford by Edison, which resulted in Sankyo becoming local agents for Ford Automobiles.
After retiring from the Department of Farming and Commerce, Dr. Takamine continued his research into traditional fermentation processes in Japan, in parallel with his endeavour to manufacture fertilizer.
In 1890, when the American Whiskey Association, that had patented the use of Aspergillus oryzae in the production of alcohol, made an offer he could not refuse, he moved to America with his two children. This patent was the 35 year-old Doctor’s first foreign patent, however it heralded the onset of a wave of misfortune for the Doctor. The manufacturing of Whiskey was progressing well, but fire broke out in the much-awaited factory and one of the buildings was totally destroyed.