Jokichi Takamine (1854-1922) and Caroline Hitch Takamine (1866-1954): Biography and Bibliography

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-46-4

Publication Date: 2012 Sept. 10

Number of References in Bibliography: 601

Earliest Reference: 1860

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Brief chronology of Jokichi Takamine and Caroline Takamine.

1827 June 18 – Seiichi Takamine, his father, is born in Takaoka city, Kaga-han (feudal domain), Etchū province, Japan. His family were samurai physicians (Kanazawa Furusato Ijinkan).
1835 March 25 – Yukiko Tsuda, his mother, is born in Takaoka, Kaga-han, Etchū province, Japan. Her family owned and operated a sake (rice wine) factory; sake is made from rice koji.
1853 July 8 – Commodore Matthew C. Perry first arrives in Japan, in Edo (today’s Tokyo) harbor with his heavily armed and menacing fleet of tall black ships. Japan has been closed to virtually all European contact since 1639 (214 years). The Japanese ask him to kindly move on to Nagasaki. He refuses and forces them to take a letter from American president Willard Fillmore which demands that ports be opened to American trade, that prisoners be treated well and given back, etc. The Japanese reject his demands and Perry withdraws from Japan knowing he would return.
1854 March 31 – Commodore Perry returns to Edo Harbor, Japan, in Feb. 1854, more heavily armed than before. After long and tense negotiations, on 31 March 1854, the Japanese sign the Treaty of Kanagawa, which “opens” Japan to the West. This ended Japan’s 200+ year policy of isolation, ushering in a new era.
1854 Nov. 3 – Jōkichi Takamine born in Takaoka (a small town on the west coast of Japan), Kaga-han (feudal domain), Fuchū province, Japan. The eldest child of a family with 6 brothers and 7 sisters, he will soon become an important part of Japan’s new era (Kanazawa Furusato Ijinkan).
1855 – When Jokichi is one year old, his mother brings him to the castle town of Kanazawa. His father, a samurai, has worked there. “Through his mastery of the Dutch language, Seiichi Takamine acquired knowledge of European modern medicine and chemistry, and was one of the few medical doctors in Japan at the time who knew both Western and traditional Japanese medical practices (Yamashima 2003, p. 95).
1862 – Jokichi enters the Merindo school of the Kaga domain. He also starts to receive calligraphy lessons from Shundai Nakamura (Iinuma 1993, Chronological record of Dr. Jokichi Takamine).
1865 – Aware of increasing pressure from the West, the samurai lord of the Kaga domain decides to send promising boys from his province to Nagasaki, which at time was the only place in Japan where fleeting glimpses of the West could be obtained. Jokichi (age 12) is one of those sent to Nagasaki (600 miles away) where he is taken into the home of Portuguese Consul Lorero to learn basic English. When the Consul was found to be more or less versed in Japanese, in 1866 Jokichi was sent to Missionary Fulbenchy’s English School in Nagasaki (Kawakami 1928, p. 6; Iinuma 1993).
1866 Aug. 5 – Caroline Field Hitch, Jokichi’s wife to be, is born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Her parents are Ebenezer Vose Hitch and Mary Beatrice Field.
1867 – The Imperial Court and the new Meiji government move from the ancient city of Kyoto to Tokyo (formerly Edo), the new capital of Japan.
1868 – Jokichi (age 15) moves to Kyoto where he studies military science at Yukinosuke Ando's private school. Soon he moves to Osaka, where he enters the Ogata private school (Iinuma 1993).
1869 – In Osaka, he enters the Osaka Medical School. Also receives analytical chemistry lessons under Prof. Litter of Osaka Chemistry School, and learns English from Prof. Osborne at Nanao Language Institute, under a Kaga domain scholarship. Soon, however, he finds chemistry more fascinating than medicine, causing him to change his original intention of succeeding his father as a practicing physician (Kawakami 1928, p. 6; Iinuma 1993).
1872 autumn – Jokichi, age 19, moves to Tokyo, the new seat of government. One of 23 students on a government scholarship, he begins to major in applied chemistry at the Imperial College of Engineering / Kobu Technical School (today’s Faculty of Engineering, Tokyo University) (Kawakami 1928, p. 7; Iinuma 1993).
1879 – He graduates at age 25 with the first graduating class from Kobu University and becomes one of the first Japanese university graduates. At the graduation ceremony, Henry Dyer, first head of the college, gives some parting words of advice. "Never forget that you live not only for yourself but also for society." At that time, young people like Jokichi were filled with a sense of mission – to serve their country. He is soon selected by the Ministry of Engineering as a full-scholarship student (one of 11) to study abroad in Great Britain (Kawakami 1928, p. 7; Daiichi-Sankyo 2012, Part 1).
1880 – Now age 27, Jokichi is sent on a government scholarship for three years of postgraduate study in Britain. This is his first trip outside of Japan. He is admitted to Glasgow University in Scotland and the Andersonian University (now Strathclyde University) where he masters industrial chemistry and electro-chemistry. During vacations he visits various chemical plants in Liverpool and Manchester and studies actual manufacturing processes for chemical fertilizers and soda products (Kawakami 1928, p. 7-9; Iinuma 1993).
1883 – Jokichi returns to Japan and joins the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. His job here is to study some of Japan’s traditional industries, such as the manufacture of saké (Japanese rice wine, including koji), washi (Japanese rice paper) and indigo, with the goal of improving them. This special work of investigation was initiated by Takamine himself. He believed such industries could be improved by the application of modern science and technology (Kawakami 1928, p. 11-12).
1884 – He visits the United States as one of two Japanese commissioners to the New Orleans World’s Fair and Cotton Centennial. Intrigued by phosphatic fertilizer on display, he brings back a sample of superphosphate of lime for his research in Japan. He meets Caroline Hitch, age 18, born on 5 Aug. 1866.
1884 Dec. 14 – Earliest known U.S. article that mentions Jokichi Takamine (in the Daily Picayune {New Orleans}), titled “Society,” says: “A very enjoyable affair was given last Thursday evening at the residence of Capt. E.V. Hitch by a number of young gentlemen in compliment of charming young ladies who had a week previously acted as hosts.” Among the “pretty young ladies” at the soirée were Carrie Hitch. The many gentlemen hosts included “J. Takamini” [sic].
      "A party of young ladies and gentlemen, chaperoned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralston, of California, witnessed the performance at the St. Charles Theatre last Friday evening.” Included in the party were “Mr. J. Takamine, a distinguished Japanese nobleman now on a mission to the Exposition;” and “Miss Carrie Hitch.”
1885 Feb. 8 – Second U.S. article that mentions Jokichi Takamine (in the Daily Picayune {New Orleans}) says at the “World’s Exposition” the “event of the day was the opening of the exhibit of the Kingdom of Belgium to public investigation.” Invited guests in attendance were “Hon. J. Takamine and K. Tamari, Commissioners, of Japan;…”
1885 – Back in Japan, he becomes temporary Chief of the Patent Office for one year. He laid the foundations of patent administration in Japan.
1887-89 – Takamine is given leave from his official duties in Japan to establish the Tokyo Artificial Fertilizer Company, a factory for the manufacture of superphosphates, the first of its kind in East Asia. His partners are Eiichi (Yeji) Shibusawa, Kiyonari Yoshida, and Takashi Matsuda; he becomes technical director of the company.
      He begins by importing large amounts of phosphate rock from Charleston, South Carolina; he and his bride had visited that city on their honeymoon. His first order, from the Farmer’s Phosphate Company through Major Willis, is for more than 2,100 tons (Daily Picayune 30 Aug. 1887, 26 Feb. 1889; Japan and America, Jan. 1903, p. 69-73). Previously most of Japan’s fertilizer had been partially defatted soybean cake imported from Manchuria.
      Considering himself now financially established, he is ready to go to the U.S. to marry Caroline Hitch (Miles 1976, p. 468; Mainichi Shimbun 1994 March 25, History of Takamine).
1887 Aug. 10 – He and Caroline are married in New Orleans in a French Quarter wedding. He is age 32 years and 9 months; she is just 21. The next day the Daily Picayune (p. 8) runs a long article headlined “A Brilliant Wedding… The sequel to a happy love affair.”
      “It was an unconventional match for the era but one that would eventually cement Takamine’s ties to the USA. On their honeymoon the young couple visited fertilizer manufacturing plants in the Carolinas and then to Washington, DC, where Takamine studied U.S. patent law. Finally they traveled west to California and then sailed to Japan, where the young couple established housekeeping near the Tokyo Artificial Fertilizer Company. In short order, two sons were born” (Bennett 2002, p. 6).
1888 Aug. 28 – Jokichi Takamine, Jr. is born in Tokyo, Japan, the first child of Caroline and Jokichi.
1889 Aug. 31 – Ebenezer Takashi Takamine is born in Tokyo, Japan. Note that he was born almost exactly one year after his elder brother.
1890 – For a complex (and as yet unclear) combination of reasons, J. Takamine decides to move to the U.S. with his wife and children. According to Yamashima (2003): After putting his fertilizer company on a sound financial basis, Takamine "received a telegram from his mother-in-law informing him that a large Chicago [Illinois] distillery was interested in applying his diastase to the manufacture of whiskey. She had already been instrumental in marketing his scientific discoveries to the American business community and in founding a new company to hold the patents."
      Three days after the Takamine family sailed from Yokohama to the United States, Jokichi became seriously ill from liver trouble. At one point he prepared for the worst by writing his will. “Fortunately, by the time the ship reached Seattle Takamine’s condition had materially improved, and he was able to go ashore, though not without difficulty. A good rest in Seattle and in San Francisco refreshed him, and when he arrived in Chicago he was able to proceed with the demonstration of his distilling process…” (Kawakami 1928, p. 28)
      In Dec. 1890 he arrives in Chicago, Illinois, and (working closely with both his wife’s parents), establishes the Takamine Ferment Co. and becomes involved in a project (with the “whisky trust”) to replace malt with koji in the manufacture of whisky in order to increase the yield of whisky per bushel of corn and decrease the cost of making whisky.
1891 Feb. 18 – Joseph Greenhut, president of the massive whisky trust (whose headquarters are in Peoria, Illinois), hires Jokichi Takamine to apply his new koji process to making whisky (Klein 1985, p. 89).
1891 Feb. 20 – The first article about Jokichi Takamine’s work with koji appears in the Chicago Daily Tribune. Titled “Whiskey to be cheaper. Discovery of a new and better process of manufacture. From 12 to 15 per cent can be saved over the old method – Takamine a Japanese, the inventor – He sells his secret to the trust – It will be immediately utilized. Prospect of a reduction of the retail price,” it explains that he wants to replace malt with koji in the process of making whiskey in Peoria, Illinois. He is now a resident of Chicago. He has made tests of his new process at the Phoenix and other distilleries in Peoria. The Takamine Ferment Company is mentioned.
1891 Feb. 28 – The first article about the work of Jokichi Takamine that mentions “diastase” (a starch-digesting enzyme now, called amylase) or “koji” (the source of enzymes in making Japanese sake, soy sauce, miso, and amazake) is published. These enzymes “convert starch into sugar,” which (in the absence of salt) can then be fermented into alcohol.
      It also states that “Mr. Takamine has patented his new process in Europe and the United States” and that he has just entered into a contract with the Distillers' and Cattle Feeders' Company (whisky trust) of Peoria, Illinois (Peoria Herald, p. 8).
      In Peoria, Illinois, Mr. Takamine lives in a house at 2111 N. Jefferson St. Next to this house he builds his first laboratory in the USA in an old carriage house, which he calls “The White House”; here he would work late into the night, for he “was a hard, self-imposed taskmaster, who scarcely knew the meaning of rest" (Henry George III, 1937. Coronet, p. 168-70; East 1952, p. 111-15; Eslinger 1992).
      After leaving the home on North Jefferson Ave., the Takamine family lived for some years in the old National Hotel at Jefferson and Hamilton in Peoria (Smith 1943).
1891 March 6 – "At a meeting of stockholders of the Takamine Ferment company held yesterday in the company's offices, Room 907 Chamber of Commerce Building [Chicago], the capital stock of the company was increased from $1,000 to $10,000,000 (Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 9). Note: In 1891 the Takamine’s home in Chicago was at 255 Ontario.
1891 March 7 – A major front-page article, by the Associated Press, appears in the Los Angeles Times. Titled “Microbe straight.’ The new drink that barkeepers will serve,” it begins: "Chicago, March 6. The Takamine Ferment Company, organized by the Whiskey Trust to exploit a new process of whisky-making invented by the Japanese chemist Takamine, has increased its capital stock to $10,000,000."
1891 June 17 – Jokichi Takamine, a Japanese chemist residing in Chicago, applies for his first U.S. koji patent. However he has already secured patents in Canada, Belgium, France, and Austria-Hungary.
1891 Sept. 24 – Another major article about Jokichi Takamine appears in the Chicago Daily Tribune (p. 7). Peoria – “For several months the Distillers and Cattle Feeders' company [whisky trust] has been experimenting with the Takamine process of making whiskey." Takamine "has been here personally conducting the experiment. The distillers are so well pleased that they have decided to fit up the Manhattan distillery with new machinery. The new plan greatly reduces the cost of manufacture. A queer feature is that a species of bugs found on the rice is used instead of yeast for the fermenting process." No: A species of mold is used instead of malt.
      Takamine’s work was strongly opposed by the maltsters, who made malt by sprouting barley as a source of enzymes in the manufacture of whisky. If Takamine’s work succeeded, they stood to lose their jobs - and their companies.
1891 Oct. 8 – A fire of unknown origin, which started shortly after midnight, burns one building at the Manhattan Distillery (3 story brick building at South Water St., Peoria), which "was being fitted for experiments in the manufacture of Tackimine [sic, Takamine] whiskey." (Peoria Transcript, p. 8, col. 3).
      Peoria fire department records show that there was no major fire in 1893 – as was later often reported in literature about Takamine.
      The building that was burned down was soon rebuilt (Kawakami 1928, p. 30).
1891 Oct. 12 – Takamine applies for a key British koji patent, No. 17,374. A fungus of the genus Aspergillus is grown on steamed rice to make Taka-Moyashi and pure Taka-Moyashi. “Tané-Koji (or seed koji) or Moyashi, is a term that has been heretofore applied to a yellowish green mouldy mass, consisting of steamed rice covered by a Mycelial fungus, bearing yellowish green spherical cells, and has the property of producing both diastase and ferment cells. It has not heretofore been designated by any specific name and, and I call it ‘Aspergillus Koji.’” This is the earliest document seen in which Dr. Takamine mentions the word Aspergillus (a genus of molds / fungi) or the terms “Tané-Koji” or “ashes of trees” in connection with koji. This patent was issued on 12 Oct. 1892.
1891 – In Chicago, Takamine and his family reside at 255 Ontario. The Takamine Ferment Company has an office in the Chamber of Commerce Building, room 907. J. Takamine is president of the company, Edward Moore is secretary, and E.W. Hitch is treasurer (Chicago City Directory, p. 2241).
1892 April 17 – Yet another major article about Jokichi Takamine appears in the Chicago Daily Tribune (p. 6). He has survived the fire and now, for the first time, we learn that his koji is made from “wheat bran” which is much less expensive than other substrates for producing koji.
1894 Feb. 23 – Jokichi Takamine applies for his earliest patent (U.S. Patent No. 525,823) which contains the word “enzyme” (or enzymes”) or the terms “diastatic enzyme” or “taka-koji” or “tane-koji” in connection with koji. This is the first patent on a microbial enzyme in the United States. This enzyme “possesses the power of transforming starch into sugar.” This patent was issued on 11 Sept. 1894. It was the key patent in the production of Taka-diastase, a digestive enzyme.
      "Takamine, in 1894, was probably the first to realize the technical possibilities of enzymes from molds and to introduce such enzymes to industry" (Underkofler 1954, p. 98).
1894 May 25 – The directors of the Distillers and Cattle Feeders’ Company [whisky trust] have decided to adopt the Takamine process for making whisky and signed a contract with the Takamine Co. The trust, which now owns over 20 distilleries, expects to save $1,500,000 a year using the Takamine process (Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 2; Wall Street Journal, p. 1; Washington Post, May 26, p. 5).
1894 Aug. 16 – The International Takamine Co. is incorporated in Chicago, Illinois, with a capital stock of $5,000,000 to control the use of Taka-Diastase. The incorporators are Jokichi Takamine (president), Mary B. Hitch and E.V. Hitch (The North American, Aug. 18, p. 5).
1894 Dec. – "Takamine's process was put into production in December, 1894 at the Manhattan distillery in Peoria, which was equipped with new machinery for that purpose. The scientist's triumph was short lived. Within two months the Distilling and Cattle Feeding Company was in the hands of receivers appointed by the United States Circuit Court in Chicago. The receivers changed the distillery back to the old process and at Takamine's request his contracts with the trust were cancelled without remuneration to him” (East 1952, p. 111-15).
      "Ultimately, the whisky trust collapsed because of trust-busting legislation enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 1891 and the depression of 1893. The trust, for all practical purposes, ended in 1895 (Klein 1987, Journal Star {Peoria}, 10 May 1987, p. C12).
      Note: This is one unglamorous reason for the end of Takamine’s experiments in Peoria, and not because of a fire. Yet another key reason may have been that he had to be rushed to Chicago by train for an emergency liver operation. Unfortunately we do not know the date of this emergency (see Kawakami 1928, p. 30-33). It was probably after he sued the whisky trust in March 1895. After the operation, with great help from his wife, he slowly recovered. Although his future did not look bright, he refused to give up.
1895 Feb. 16 – By this time the whisky trust is in receivership – which is now in charge. The receivership is being moved from the United States court at Peoria to the office in Chicago.
1895 March 6 – “Takamine sues whisky trust. Declares it has not kept a contract and wants a remedy” – is the title of article in Chicago Daily Tribune. He “filed a petition yesterday in the United States Court against the receivers of the whisky trust. He alleges that in 1891 he entered into a contract with the officers of the trust…” which they have not honored.
1895 July – Parke, Davis & Company (a pharmaceutical company in Detroit, Michigan) is now aggressively marketing (and perhaps making) Taka-Diastase in powder form as a digestive drug, under license from Dr. Takamine (Therapeutic Notes, ad on unnumbered page; Mahoney 1959, p. 73).
      Kawakami (1928, p. 26) states: “At first Taka-Diastase was made by the Takamine Ferment Company on a comparatively small scale. Later, when its efficacy became more widely known, Parke, Davis & Company of Detroit undertook, as it still does, to manufacture it and put it more extensively on the market.”
      The royalties from this product, based on koji, soon make him a wealthy man.
      Taka-Diastase was probably the first microbial enzyme to be made commercially in the United States. Several plant enzymes were sold commercially before microbial enzymes (Dr. J.W. Bennett Sept. 2012, personal communication).
1895 – Back in Chicago, Takamine and his family reside at 6641 Woodlawn Ave. The Takamine Ferment Company has an office in the Chamber of Commerce Building, room 511. J. Takamine is president of the company, John White is secretary. (Chicago City Directory, p. 1701).
1896 May 23 – J. Takamine, still residing in Chicago, applies for a U.S. patent on a process for removing glycerin from used printers’ rollers.
1897 Dec. – With Parke, Davis & Co. as his patron, Takamine moves his family to New York and establishes an independent laboratory on East 103rd Street in Manhattan [New York] (Bennett 1988, p. xi).
1897 – John Jacob Abel, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, announces the discovery and isolation of crystalline “epinephrine.” A year later Otto von Furth in Europe announces the discovery of “suprarenin” (Kawakami 1928, p. 41-42; Bowden et al. 2003, p. 49). Yet neither of these relatives of adrenaline is isolated in its pure form.
1898 Feb. 28 – Takamine’s most important (and most brilliant) scientific article to date, titled “Diastatic substances from fungus growths,” is published in the Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry (London) (p. 118-20).
1899 – J. Takamine applies, in Japan, for the degree of Doctor of Chemical Engineering. He receives this doctoral degree the same year (W.W. Scott 1922, p. 371). From now on he may be called “Dr. Takamine.”
1899 – Sankyo Shoten is founded in Japan to distribute Taka-Diastase, imported from the USA.
1900 – The Takamine Ferment Company still has an office in Chicago at 138 Washington, room 1011. J. Takamine is still president and Edward Moore is secretary (Chicago City Directory). The Takamine family now lives in New York City and no longer has a residence in Chicago.
1900 summer – Takamine begins his research on adrenalin (American J. of Pharmacy, 1901, p. 525).
1900 June – Keizo Uenaka (in misspelled Wooyenaka by Dr. Takamine in April 1901) succeeds in crystallizing adrenaline. Uenaka is a young chemist Takamine had hired from Japan to work in his private laboratory at East 103rd St., Manhattan, New York City, on a project to isolate the active principal of the adrenal glands of sheep, suggested to Takamine by Parke, Davis & Co. (Bennett 1988, p. xi; Yamashima 2003, p. 98-99).
      It is widely stated in academic works that John Jacob Abel (of Johns Hopkins University) and Jokichi Takamine discovered epinephrine (adrenaline) independently; some give credit to Abel for discovering it first, but to Takamine for isolating the pure substance (Bennett 2001; Yamashima 2003).
1900 Nov. 5 – Takamine first applies for a patent on his process for the isolation of adrenalin, the active principle of the suprarenal glands (U.S. Patent Nos. 730,196 to 730,198; Yamashima 2003, p. 98-99).
      This is the first hormone to be isolated in pure form, and is thus a landmark in the history of medicine, biochemistry, and physiology (Lehninger 1975, p. 1059).
      This patent process for adrenalin becomes very complex; it is the first natural substance (a substance found in nature) ever to be patented. In one lawsuit (Parke-Davis v. Mulford) in April 1911, Judge Learned Hand expressed his perplexity as a non-scientist in having to rule in such a precedent-setting case. He ruled in favor of Takamine (Mahoney 1959, p. 74). Yet intense debate still swirls on the central question decided by Hand: Can an isolated or purified natural substance be patented? (Harkness 2011, p. 363-99).
1901 March 19 – Takamine applies for a trademark on “Adrenalin” (Yamashima 2003, p. 98-99).
1901 April 15 – Takamine’s first scientific paper on Adrenalin, titled “The blood-pressure-raising principle of the suprarenal glands – A preliminary report,” is published in Therapeutic Gazette (Detroit) – a journal published by Parke, Davis & Co.
1901 June 6 – Dr. Takamine first formally announces the discovery of Adrenalin in a scientific paper read before a convention of the American Medical Association in St. Paul, Minnesota. The paper is titled “The Active Principle of Suprarenal Glands.”
1901 Nov. – Takamine publishes his findings on adrenalin in an article titled “Adrenalin the active principle of the suprarenal glands and its mode of Preparation,” in The American Journal of Pharmacy. Nov. p. 523-31.
      Also in 1901 Parke, Davis & Co. introduced adrenaline to the medical profession (Bett 1954, p. 523).
      The combined royalties from Taka-Diastase and Adrenalin, plus the income from his growing businesses in Japan, will soon make Dr. Takamine an increasingly wealthy man. He begins to look for creative ways to use his wealth to help others and to promote friendship and understanding between Japan and the United States.
1901 Nov. 29 On his way to Japan, Dr. Takamine begins a speaking tour of the British Isles. He is lauded everywhere he goes for his good humor, interesting talks, and scientific ability (Chemist and Druggist {London}, Dec. 7, p. 911).
1902 Jan. 18 – In an article about adrenaline titled “The blood-pressure-raising principle of the suprarenal gland” published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, Takamine gives his title and address as: M.D., 475 Central Park West, New York City.
1902 May 17 – Dr. Takamine, with his wife and sons, departs from Japan for San Francisco on the Japanese steamer America Maru (Japan Weekly Mail, p. 550).
1902 Aug. 14 – Caroline Takamine buys the Takamine family’s first land at Merriewold Park (Sullivan County, New York). She buys many parcels but the actual acreage is not show on the land deed. The family bought land here and was admitted to the Park community largely because Caroline’s younger sister, Marie Morelle Septima Hitch, had married Henry George, Jr., an early Merriewold member. Note that this land was purchased a little more than 2 years before Jokichi Takamine was given Sho-Foo-Den (Shofu-Den).
1903 Jan. – The first significant biography of J. Takamine is published – from a Japanese viewpoint (Japan and America, Supplement, p. 69-73).
1904 April 30 – The Louisiana Purchase Exposition (informally known as the “St. Louis World’s Fair”) opens in St. Louis, Missouri, continuing until Dec. 1. Japan has a major pavilion. Dr. Takamine is a member of the jury.
1905 March 15 – Dr. Takamine establishes The Nippon Club, a gentleman’s club for Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals in New York City. Initially it occupies a townhouse at 334 Riverside Drive. In 1908 it was at 44 W. 85th St. In 1912 it moved into a Renaissance Revival building at 161 West 93rd St., designed for the Club by the architect John Vredenburgh Van Pelt and erected in 1912. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec. 1941), the building was seized by the federal government (Japan in New York, 1908; Wikipedia, at Nippon Club).
1904 Nov. 25 – Dr. Jokichi Takamine, who now resides at 45 Hamilton Terrace in New York City, is given three Japanese buildings which were brought to this country and formed the main Japanese pavilion at last year’s world’s fair in St. Louis, Missouri, as a reward from the Emperor for his service to the Imperial Japanese Commission. The buildings will be re-erected at Dr. Takamine’s summer home at Merriewold, Sullivan County, about 75 miles northwest of Manhattan. The foundations for the buildings have already been laid (Republican Watchman {Monticello, New York}, p. 1; New-York Tribune, 27 April 1905, p. 11). He renames the buildings Sho-Foo-Den, which means “Pine Maple Hall.”
1906 Sept. – J. Takamine applies, in Japan, for the degree of Doctor of Pharmacology by presenting a thesis of his and his curriculum vitae (Miles Laboratories 1988, p. 1). He is awarded this doctoral degree the same year (W.W. Scott 1922, p. 371).
1907 May 19 – The Japan Society is organized in New York at a gathering where General Kuroki, hero of the Russo-Japanese War, was visiting. Its goal was to “facilitate personal contact and mutual understanding between the Americans and the Japanese.” Dr. Takamine was the “moving spirit” and the Society’s first vice-president. (Kawakami 1928, p. 55).
1908 – Dr. Takamine gives the address of his residence as 45 Hamilton Terrace, New York City. Telephone: 1309 Audubon; his office address as 521 W. 179th St. Telephone: 95 Audubon (Japan in New York, Japanese Directory).
1909 – Jokichi Takamine and his family move into an elegant six-story (including basement) beaux-arts townhouse at 334 Riverside Drive, between 105th and 106th streets, on the upper west side of Manhattan, New York City. The townhouse was occupied until 1908 by the Nippon Club, which Dr. Takamine founded in 1905. A photograph of this house, taken in 2001, is posted at
1909 Sept. 19 - Prince and princess Kuni of the Japanese Imperial family visit Sho-Fu-Den on their way from Europe back to Japan. Princess Kuni was pregnant at the time with Princess Nagako Kuniyoshi, who later married Emperor Hirohito on 24 Jan. 1924 inside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Caroline found the formal visit exhausting; although she spoke very little Japanese, she was expected to play the role of accomplished hostess to the royal couple (New York Times, 20 Sept. 1909; de Mille 1978, p. 123-26).
      Note: The date of this visit is often given incorrectly as 1907.
1910 Sept. 30 – Jokichi Takamine and a committee of Japanese residents give 2,100 cherry trees and a memorial bronze tablet to the city of New York. They are to be planted around Grant’s Tomb on Riverside Drive to commemorate the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. But the trees are infested and have to be destroyed. So the committee tries again, hoping the trees will arrive in the spring of 1912 (Fairchild 1938, p. 410-15; National Park Service 2006).
1910 – The Takamine Ferment Company still has an office in Chicago at 138 Washington, room 703. (Chicago City Directory, p. 1659).
1912 March 28 – The first of thousands of cherry blossom trees is planted in the West Potomac Park surrounding the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Funding for the trees came from Dr. Takamine. “But, as a private businessman, scientist, and goodwill ambassador, Dr. Takamine didn’t think he should be ‘out front’ on this, so he and Japan’s Consul General in New York agreed that the gift should be made through official channels…” (Washington Post, p. 2; Bennett 2001; Malott 2012).
      Also in 1912, Dr. Takamine gave 50 cherry trees to Parke-Davis in Detroit in token of his appreciation for the kindness and good-will the company had shown him during the past seventeen years (Mahoney 1959, p. 64-81).
1913 – Takamine travels to Japan. Sankyo Shoten in Japan, now growing rapidly, is reorganized as a joint stock company and incorporated under the new name Sankyo Co., Ltd. Dr. Jokichi Takamine, living in the United States, becomes the company's first president.
1913 – Takamine is awarded the Imperial Academy Prize for his discovery of adrenalin. He is also elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Science (Iinuma 1993; Yomiuri Shinbun 25 March 1994).
1913 – Dr. Takamine lists the address of his office and laboratory as “550 W. 173rd St., N.Y.C. (American Political Science Association, “List of members,” p. 37; Physicians’ Who’s Who, p. 332).
1915 – For his scientific and entrepreneurial accomplishments, the emperor of Japan decorates Dr. Takamine with the Order of the Rising Sun, Fourth Class (New York Times 23 July 1922, p. 19).
1915 Sept. 29 – Ebenezer “Eben” Takashi Takamine marries Ethel Johnson in New York City (New York Times, Sept. 30). By marrying a non-citizen, Ethel gives up her U.S. citizenship. Eben’s second marriage was to Odette Jean on 25 July 1928. His third marriage was to Catherine McMahon on 2 Oct. 1943. Eben had no children.
1915 Nov. – Takamine Laboratory, Inc. is moved to (or established at) Clifton, New Jersey. It does both manufacturing and research (Scott 1922, p. 370-72).
1917 June 4 – Jokichi “Joe” Takamine, Jr. is married to Hilda Petrie. The place of marriage is unknown. They have two children: Caroline Yuki Takamine (born 20 May 1923) and Jokichi Takamine III (born 6 Feb. 1924, in Passaic County, New Jersey).
1919 July – Caroline Takamine (residing at 334 Riverside Dr.) sells what was her husband’s laboratory and office at 553 West 173rd St. He apparently no longer needs it (Real Estate Record and Builders’ Guide, July 26, p. 67).
1921 May 17 – Jokichi Takamine writes his last will and testament. He asks that his body either be dissected for the advancement of science or cremated and the ashes buried partly in the USA and partly in Japan (New York Times 1922 Aug. 4).
1921 June – Jokichi Takamine and his wife move out of their six-story townhouse at 334 Riverside Drive, Manhattan, New York City. They move to 93 Boulevard, Passaic, New Jersey (New York Times 1921 June 24;
1922 June 14 (approx.) – Jokichi Takamine converts to Catholicism, from Buddhism, the religion of his birth, while in the hospital only 6 weeks before his death. He told his wife, Caroline, who had converted to Catholicism before he did, that “the one thing missing in his life he felt could be supplied only in a belief in God” (New York Times 1922 July 26, p. 13).
1922 July 22 (Saturday) – Jokichi Takamine dies in New York City at age 68. He died at Lenox Hill Hospital of a complicated kidney disease – chronic nephritis (death certificate). His death warranted a full-column obituary in the New York Times. He was “perhaps the best known Japanese in this country.” He and Caroline had been married for nearly 35 years. His body was taken to his home at 93 Boulevard, Passaic, New Jersey, where it remained until Monday afternoon (July 23, p. 19).
1922 July 24 (Mon.) – This afternoon his body is taken to the Nippon Club (which he founded and was for 18 years the president) at 161 West 93rd St., where a memorial service is held at 6 o’clock in the evening. His coffin is “surrounded by more than 300 floral pieces from prominent Japanese and American friends… An American and a Japanese flag were crossed on his breast, symbolical of his efforts to cement the friendship between the two countries.” A moving tribute to Dr. Takamine is published today in the New York Times (July 23, p. 19; July 24. p. 14).
1922 July 25 (Tues.) – His body is taken to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where funeral services are held at 10:30. Rev. Father William B. Martin, acting rector of the Cathedral and Master of Ceremonies at the funeral, tells how six weeks earlier he had converted to Roman Catholicism from Buddhism (New York Times July 26, p. 13).
1922 – After August 3, when his will is filed for probate in Paterson, New Jersey, he is buried in a stately Takamine family mausoleum that his wife established at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. The Catholic church bars cremation and there is no interest among physicians in dissection (New York Times Aug. 4).
1923 June 17 – Caroline Takamine first tries to sell the Takamine land and buildings at Merriewold via three large display ads in the New York Times real estate section. The ads begin: “Cost over $250,000. For sale $70,000. Sho-Foo-Den, Merriewold Park, Sullivan County. Twenty acres in restricted preserve of fifteen hundred acres…” But no buyer is found.
1926 Aug. 16 – Caroline Hitch Takamine and Charles Pablo Beach are married at St. Augustine Cathedral (the main Catholic church) in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona (marriage certificate). Caroline had gone to Vail, south of Tucson, Arizona, to be with her youngest son, Eben, who was there for health reasons, recovering from the breakup of his first marriage, and staying with Charles P. Beach, a ranch hand living on a ranch in or near Vail (De Mille 1978, p. 256-57).
1926 Aug. 22 – The first, best, and most important biography of Dr. Takamine ever written is published in Japan. The title is Takamine hakase [Dr. Takamine], by Matasaku Shiobara (Tokyo: Ozorosha; 244 p.). Shiobara was Takamine’s close friend and business associate.
1928Jokichi Takamine: A Record of His American Achievements, by K.K. Kawakami is published (New York, NY: William E. Rudge, x + 74 p.). This is the first English-language book-length biography of Dr. Takamine and it contains a wealth of valuable information. Yet the lack of many key dates is frustrating. Agnes de Mille (1978, p. 126) says: “It was written under the supervision and at the request of Caroline and it reads like a public relations tract.”
1928 Dec. 8 – Charles and Catherine Beach, after having been married for more than 2 years, make their first land purchase – 320 acres southwest of Vail, Arizona. At some unknown date they build a very nice ranch which they call “El Rancho de los Ocotillos” (land deed).
1930 Feb. 22 – Jokichi (“Jo”) Takamine, Jr. dies in New York City. He fell (or was pushed), while intoxicated, from a 14th floor hotel window. He is buried in the family mausoleum established by his father at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York (New York Times, Feb. 23).
      His brother, Eben, takes over as president of the Takamine Laboratory in Clifton, New Jersey.
1930 June 16 – Caroline H. Beach (formerly Caroline Takamine Beach) sells most of her land and Sho-Fu-Den at Merriewold to John Moody through his Moodyson Corporation. On 3 May 1939 she sells two remaining parcels (Lots 13 and 14) to Anna A. Moody.
1935 March 6 – Charles P. Beach makes his biggest land transaction to date. He swaps his homestead land near the Navajo reservation to the north for 1,987.43 acres of equivalent value in Township 17S Range 15E south of Vail, Arizona (land patents and deeds).
1935 March 31 – Santa Rita in the Desert, a small but exquisite Roman Catholic chapel at Vail, Arizona, is dedicated by the bishop of the Tucson diocese to the memory of Jokichi Takamine. A gift from Caroline Takamine Beach, it was conceived of and designed by Caroline and her husband Charles and constructed during 1934-35. Rita is the saint of the impossible. The chapel is active to this day (Consulich 1935; Grigsby 1996).
1946 Feb. 20 – John Moody sells his land and Sho-Fu-Den at Merriewold (Sullivan County, New York) to Melvin Chester Osborn – who proceeds to commercialize and desecrate it.
1953 Feb. 16 – Ebenezer “Eben” Takashi Takamine becomes a U.S. citizen under the terms of the McCarran-Walter Act, which went into effect in Dec. 1952. Unfortunately, his father was never able to become a U.S. citizen (The Call {Paterson, New Jersey}, Nov. 4). Prior to about 1952 Japanese were generally considered to be “unassimilable.”
1953 Aug. 28 – Ebenezer Takashi Takamine, Dr. Takamine’s youngest son, dies at Passaic, Bergen County, New Jersey. He was age 63. He is buried in the family mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York City (New York Times, Aug. 29).
      His wife, Catherine McMahon Takamine takes over as president of the Takamine Laboratory in Clifton, New Jersey.
1953 Nov. 3 – Kanazawa, Japan, holds a four-day celebration to commemorate the centennial of Jokichi Takamine’s birth. The U.S. Ambassador to Japan and the executive vice-president of Parke, Davis & Co. (Homer C. Fritsch) were among those who gave addresses. Catherine McMahon Takamine (wife of Eben) presents a large portrait of Dr. Takamine (The Call {Paterson, New Jersey}, Nov. 4, 1953).
      Note: This four-day celebration was held in 1953, not in 1954 as often reported later.
1954 Nov. 25 – Caroline Takamine Beach dies in Arizona. She is buried in the family mausoleum established by her first husband, Jokichi, at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.
1956 Feb. 21 – Charles P. Beach, “well known Southern Arizona cattleman,” announces the sale of his 33,000-acre ranch near Mt. Fagan to Mrs. Star G. Simpson. The property was listed at $200,000 (Tucson Daily Citizen, Feb. 21, p. 8).
      The “Mt. Fagan ranch” ranch is sold again on 27 April 1959 for $1.25 million to a developer who plans to subdivide it (Tucson Daily Citizen, p. 1).
1956 March 7 – Miles Laboratories, Inc. purchases Takamine Laboratory, Inc. at Clifton, New Jersey (Mahoney 1959, p. 75, 154; News {Paterson, Jersey}, 3 Feb. 1956).
1967 Nov. 25 – Charles P. Beach, husband of Caroline Takamine Beach, dies at his home (at 2153 Juanita St.) in Vail, Colorado (Tucson Daily Citizen, Nov. 27, p. 48). On 11 July 1968 his estate was valued at $487,548.
1970 – Parke, Davis & Co. is acquired by Warner-Lambert (Wikipedia at Parke-Davis).
1984 Sept. 17 – Elinor W. Osborn (widow of Melvin Chester Osborn) of Monticello, New York, sells her land and Sho-Fu-Den (Sullivan County, New York) to the Japanese Heritage Foundation for $600,000.00.
1987 – Major structural repairs are made to Shofu-Den in Merriewold, New York, and a new copper roof is put on (Colson & De Mille 1989).
1988Takamine: Documents from The Dawn of Industrial Microbiology is published by Miles Laboratory (Elkhart, Indiana). The Preface, a biography of Jokichi Takamine by Joan Bennett, is especially interesting. The first such biography published since 1928, it introduces Takamine to a new generation of readers.
1988 – The enzyme plant in Clifton, New Jersey, is closed (Dawson 1994).
1990 June – Solvay Enzymes Inc. (Elkhart, Indiana) purchases the enzyme business (started by Dr. Takamine) from Miles Laboratories (Dawson 1994).
1994 – Japanese Heritage Foundation, Inc. publishes an artistic booklet titled Shofu-Den (19 pages), designed to find a source of funding for restoration or a buyer for this very beautiful and valuable Japanese palace. It is also a marvelous source of images (many color) of and information about Shofu-Den and Dr. Jokichi Takamine.
2000 June – Warner-Lambert (which owns Parke-Davis) is acquired by Pfizer (Wikipedia at Parke-Davis).
2002 Jan. – “Takamine Jokichi and the transmission of ancient Chinese enzyme technology to the West,” by H.T. Huang is published as a book chapter in Chan et al. Huang observes: "When we talk of technology transfer in the last hundred years, we tend to think of the traffic as flowing entirely from West to East.”
2002 May 14 – Japanese Heritage Foundation, Inc. sells its land and Sho-Fu-Den (Sullivan County, New York) to Sho-Fu-Den LLC. The land is owned by Osamu (“Sam”) Ikeda and Mr. Tomio Taki.
2003 May – Tetsumori Yamashima of Japan, writing in the Journal of Medical Biography (p. 95-102), gives the best description seen to date of Dr. Takamine’s route to the discovery of adrenaline, together with an excellent biography.
2005 – Sankyo Co. Ltd. is acquired by Daiichi to form Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.
2012 – Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. makes an excellent online color English-language 47-minute documentary titled “The Story of Jokichi Takamine: Japan’s Goodwill Ambassador” to celebrate the centennial of the planting of Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C.
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