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Japan 1870s


While at the Prepatory School of the Department of Science, Takamine had to teach the scientific method and had to dissect numerous animals such as dogs and cats. Traditionally, the job of skinning or butchering animals was associated with the untouchable class. Thus, Takamine who was born into the samurai class had to deal with the label of "butcher" while introducing animal anatomy to the first wave of Japan's future scientists and doctors.


"The appointment of Tanaka as Vice Minister of Education in 1876 marked the beginning of a vigorous effort to adopt American educational practices. This was aided by the return in 1878 from the United States of izawa Shuji and Takamine Hideo, who were instrumental in making American educational ideas and practices tremendously popular. Izawa was a graduate of a normal school in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from where he went on to Harvard for further study. Takamine was a graduate of the Oswego Normal in New York State. their influence on Japanese educational leaders of this period was profound. Izawa's Pedagogics, which was a work incorporating his studies at Bridgewater, and Takamine's translation of Johonott's [correct spelling is Johonnot] work, which was on the educational ideas of Herber Spencer, Louis Agassiz, and Pestalozzi, achieved great popularity." (Yanaga 108)


Property of Oswego SUNY (State University of New York at Oswego) Penfield Library Special Collections

From and To Date Scans
Takamine Hideo to Johann Heinrich Hermann Krusi 3.3.1878 [1] [2] [3] [4]
Takamine Hideo to Johann Heinrich Hermann Krusi 6.16.1878 [1] [2] [3] [4]
Takamine Hideo to Johann Heinrich Hermann Krusi 11.23.1878 [1] [2] [3] [4]
Takamine Hideo to Johann Heinrich Hermann Krusi 3.2.1879 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Takamine Hideo to Johann Heinrich Hermann Krusi 9.2.1879 [1] [2]    

One of his lectures...

The Tokio Times for December 7, 1878 notices an early meeting of the Biological Society of the Tokyo Dai Gaku held on Sunday, December I:
"Prof. Morse communicated some facts in relation to the Limacidae or slugs, a family he said has world-wide in distribution...Prof. Yatabe made a communication on the fructification of the Algae...Mr. Matsubara exhibited specimens of living Hydrae which had found near Uyeno...At the next meeting of the society Mr. Takamine will exhibit specimens of Amphioxus and microcopic sections of the same."

(note this article was printed after his death. The lecture took places on February 2, 1879. Dobutsugaku Zasshi THE MAGAZINE OF ZOOLOGY vol 23 n 278 Sept 1911 p 725
"Mr. Takamine, Vice director of the Tokyo Normal School presented a communication on Amphioxus. Owing to the great interest felt in this low vertebrate, and the rather vague ideas supplied by descriptions, Mr. Takamine considered himself justified in bringing it before the society. He explained its structure and its affinities with the vertebrates throught the lower fishes. His remarks were illustrated by colored diagrams, drawing on the black-board and specimens of Amphioxus he brought with him from America. He also exhibited under the microscope, transverse sections stained to show more clearlty[sic] the various regions of the body. In the course of his remarks he referred to the investigations of Kowalewsky, the great Russian emryologist, who had not only worked up the embryology of Amphioxus but of Tunicats [sic]: and a striking resemblance was shown to exist between these latter animals, formally confirmed as mollusks and the vertebrates."


"Takamine entered the Oswego State Normal School (New York).  During the 1860s in the USA, courses in what would now be called educational psychology were offered at the Oswego State Normal School...These two Japanese officials [Isawa/Izawa Shuji] happened to be present at the frontier of educational psychology in the USA.

After returning to Japan, Izawa and Takamine created a curriculum for the Normal School.  Although psychology was important in this curriculum, it did not necessarily include scientific psychology." (Sato 53).

Takamine's notions about developmental psychology are probably derived from the Principles and Praxies of Teaching by James Johonnot.  By the 1890s, Oyama Sutematsu discusses Takamine and Nakajima's ideas on incorporating Alice Bacon as a central figure of the school based on the idea of having a good model for the students.  This can be interpreted as an understanding of psychology. 

From Edward Sylvester Morse...

"Among the earlier friends I made in japan and to whom I am much indebted were...Takamine, Director of the Female Normal School, and his friends Tsunijiro Miyaoka and Seiken Takenaka" (Morse vol 1 xii-xiii).

"Mr. Takamine, a graduate of the Oswego Normal School, whose acquaintance I made on the steamer, often comes to the house. He is a charming fellow, and I ask him many questions which he answers very frankly. He was speaking of my boy and how he liked to hug him, and this led to my speaking of the different ways of manifesting affection."

Takamine, had extensive experience with working with young children while teaching in the USA, however he was never comfortable with them touching him. During that era, Japanese rarely hugged or touched one another in public to express fondness.

"I asked Takamine, who has been absent for two and a half years, if he did not rush into her [Takamine Kinuko, his mother] arms and give her a good hug and kiss? He answered, after pausing a moment, "No, I could not; it would have been very embarrassing; but I shook her hand getting hold of the left one, and startled her by the vigor with which I did it, and she thought I was entirely foreignized!...he believed that affection and affectionate demonstrations could be cultivated and that he had more tender regard for his brothers since he had been in America than he had had before." (Morse vol 2 385)

During Morse's trip amongst the Ainu in Hokkaido, "With Yatabe and his assistant, Takamine, Sasaki and me, this made a cavalcade of eight horses...Suddently, for no apparent reason, three of our horses ran away, and I was on one of them...Sasaki was ahead, Takamine next...Everything portable was shed: first hata; then strings and straps broke and tin botanical boxes, bags, and packages came off, one after the other, and the road was strewn for a long distance with these objects...As an indication of the progress I was making in horsemanship I managed to hold on to everything; my pith sun hat, my colored eyeglasses, and a cigar-holder with lighted cigar were undisturbed. Just before the runaway, Takamine had folded his red flannel blanket under him to ease the asperities of the pack-saddle. He was directly ahead of me, and as he bounced up and down, his black hair flying in the wind, his blanket became unfolded and little by little sagged on one side and finally came off in the road. Had I been an experienced horseman, I should have anticipated the shy that was sure to come. I did not, however, and was laughing at the way Takamine was bumping up and down on his naked saddle when my horse shied with such violence that I was nearly thrown into the road.” (Morse vol 2 30-31)

“The proper way in kneeling is to turn the hands inward, and as you see it often, you notice the failure to do it, as much as if one should use the left hand in shaking hands. Mr. Takamine, who was a page to daimyo, illustrated the proper way of bringing in a tray holding food. It is held with two hands on a level with the eyes, and on approaching the prince one should kneel and present the tray and then, still on the knees, move backward, and rising, back out of the room.” (Morse 37)

“In the afternoon Dr. Bigelow and I were invited by Mr. Takamine to dinner at his house at Koishikawa, Mr. Miyaoka and his brother Mr. Takenaka, coming for us to show us the way. The house and garden were in pure Japanese style. One room only was furnished with bed, high desk, tables, chairs and the like, as Mr. Takamine, a graduate of the Oswego Normal School…Among other features of interest he had an archery range. I tried shooting, but found the bow very awkward, as their method of release with the arrow on the right of the bow is so different from our method of shooting. He had also a croquet ground and his mother, a sweet old lady, and Takamine’s brother played… (Mrs. Takamine played violin)…” (Morse 211-212)

“Mr. Takamine, Director of the Female Normal School, went with me to the Imado District, where there are a number of potteries, and endeavored to get some information about the potters. But the people seemed rather stupid, sluggish, or indifferent, and I could not arouse in them any interest in the matter. I finally left with the conviction that the blighting effects of some rude Englishman must have been responsible for their stupidity or aversion. The contrast with the Kyoto potters was marked.Takamine invited me to dinner at his house…After dinner Mr. Takamine conducted us to the tea-rooms, where there were utensils for cha—no-yu and invited me to make ceremonial tea, which I did, after a fashion. Afterwards Takamine guided me to the Eta district. The Eta were formerly looked upon as unclean; they worked in hides and leather, carried off the bodies of animals, and were in a general way the scavengers of the city. No one was allowed to marry into the class; they were shunned and abhorred, though some of them were wealthy. They were compelled to live apart from the people in a certain district and no one ever went through their region… [deserted and quiet district, they make drums made from animal hide]…The children were spinning tops and running about as in other places but a certain serious atmosphere was there without question. I met at the Normal School and educated Ainu from Sapporo in Yezo [learned that Ainu made no pottery] The Ainus draw the arrow with the thumb and bent forefinger. It will be interesting to ascertaining whether the lowest savages have this simple method of releasing the arrow and if the higher races have a more complex method.” (Morse 354)

“I hurried to Takamine’s house, where he had invited a northern archer to shoot for me that I might sketch the attitude of the hand in drawing the arrow….The Japanese use a long wrested glove with two or three fingers and a thumb, the thumb greatly thickened. There is a groove at the base to catch the string, and a strap secures the glove firmly about the wrist. [sketches] The release is somewhat difficult to acquire, but it is just as strong as that of our people, which consists in pulling the string back with the tips of three fingers.” (Morse 361)

“Takamine told me a good story of a famous judge, Itakura of the time of the first shogun, who used to sit behind a screen when he heard evidence and grind tea at the same time. The stone mill is quite heavy, and to grind the tea properly the mill must rotate slowly. He sat behind the screen so as not to see the witness’s face; otherwise he might be prejudiced; and he had to repress his emotions, otherwise he would grind the tea rapidly and thus ruin the powdered tea.” (Morse 400)

"There is no hoop or skipping-rope; indeed, in the latter game they would shake down their nicely arranged hair. The children clasp their hands together and pound them on their knees making a peculiar sound which they call 'money'; our children do the same thing. They also have the play of seeing who can stare the longest withought smiling. Takamine told me that when the children eat an orange they play with it by making a shallow cup with a segment of the rind, and hten nipping off the end of the segment, squeeze a few drops of juice into the cup, thus pretending to drink sake. The children have many ways of utilizing such objects for toys." (Morse vol 2 403)

Takamine Hideo