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German chemists in Japan and vice versa in the Meiji era

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A large part of the basic groundwork for Japanese chemistry was established in the Meiji era beginning at the end of the 19th century as the result of the educational and scientific contributions of German chemists in Japan and Japanese chemists who studied in Germany.

Although the development of Japanese chemistry was considerably diminished by the world wars, further development was successfully realized during the latter half of the last century thanks to the dedication of succeeding generations, in Japan as in Germany. The fact that eight Nobel Prize winners in chemistry1) appeared in Japan after 1980 reflects the steady development of chemistry in this country, resting without a doubt on the basic groundwork built through the efforts and dedication of chemists of the first generation in the Meiji era (the period corresponding to the reign of Emperor Meiji, i.e., 1868 – 1912). But let‘s start with the beginning.

Background: a new government

In 1867, the very year German Chemical Society was founded, the Edo Government, the feudal government of Japan at that time, collapsed. A new government, the Meiji Government started in the next

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