japanese people Famous Scientists from Japan

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List of notable or famous scientists from Japan, with bios and photos, including the top scientists born in Japan and even some popular scientists who immigrated to Japan. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Japanese scientists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These scientists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known scientist from Japan is included when available.

List ranges from Kunitomo Ikkansai to Shinya Yamanaka, plus much more.

This historic scientists from Japan list can help answer the questions "Who are some Japanese scientists of note?" and "Who are the most famous scientists from Japan?" These prominent scientists of Japan may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Japanese scientists.

Use this list of renowned Japanese scientists to discover some new scientists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (55 items)

1
Akira Endo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Akira Endo age 84 Akira Endo is a Japanese biochemist whose research into the relationship between fungi and cholesterol biosynthesis led to the development of statin drugs, which are some of the best-selling ...more

2
Atsumu Ohmura is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Atsumu Ohmura age 76 Atsumu Ohmura is a Japanese climatologist, known for his discovery and contributions to the theory of global dimming. Ohmura was born in the Bunkyō ward of Tokyo in 1942. In 1965 he graduated ...more

3
Eizaburo Nishibori is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Eizaburo Nishibori Died at 86 (1903-1989) Eizaburo Nishibori was a Japanese scientist, alpinist and technologist. And he is also known as the captain of the primary Japanese Antarctica wintering party. Born in Kyoto. In May 1928, ...more

4
Hideki Shirakawa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hideki Shirakawa age 81 Hideki Shirakawa is a Japanese chemist and winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of conductive polymers together with physics professor Alan J. Heeger and chemistry ...more

5
Hidetsugu Yagi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hidetsugu Yagi Died at 90 (1886-1976) Hidetsugu Yagi was a Japanese electrical engineer from Osaka. When working at Tohoku University, he wrote several articles that introduced a new antenna design by his colleague Shintaro Uda to ...more

6
Hiraga Gennai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hiraga Gennai Died at 52 (1728-1780) Hiraga Gennai was an Edo period Japanese pharmacologist, student of Rangaku, physician, author, painter and inventor who is well known for his Erekiteru, Kandankei and Kakanpu. He also wrote the ...more

7
Hiroaki Mitsuya is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hiroaki Mitsuya age 68 Hiroaki Mitsuya is a Japanese virologist famous for his role in discovery of the anti-HIV drug zidovudine as well as other anti-AIDS drugs including didanosine and zalcitabine. Mitsuya was born ...more

8
Hiroshi Komiyama is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hiroshi Komiyama age 74 Hiroshi Komiyama is a Japanese scientist. He was the president of University of Tokyo from April 2005 to March 2009. His major research fields are Chemical engineering, Environmental ...more

9
Isamu Akasaki is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Isamu Akasaki age 89 Isamu Akasaki is a Japanese scientist and Nobel Prize laureate, known for inventing the bright gallium nitride p-n junction blue LED in 1989 and subsequently the high-brightness GaN blue LED as ...more

10
Iwahashi Zenbei is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Iwahashi Zenbei Died at 55 (1756-1811) Iwahashi Zenbei was a Japanese scientist and optician.

11
Jokichi Takamine is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Jokichi Takamine Died at 68 (1854-1922) Jōkichi Takamine was a Japanese chemist.

12
Junichiro Itani is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Junichiro Itani Died at 75 (1926-2001) Junichiro Itani is considered a founder of the discipline of Japanese primatology. He was an internationally renowned anthropologist and served as a professor emeritus at Kyoto University. He ...more

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Kakichi Mitsukuri is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kakichi Mitsukuri Died at 52 (1857-1909) Kakichi Mitsukuri was a Japanese zoölogist, born at Edo. In 1873 he came to the United States, where he received the Ph.D. degree from Yale in 1879 and from Johns Hopkins in 1883. He was ...more

14
Katsuko Saruhashi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Katsuko Saruhashi Died at 87 (1920-2007) Katsuko Saruhashi was a geochemist who made some of the first measurements of carbon dioxide levels in seawater and subsequently showed the evidence in seawater and the atmosphere of the dangers ...more

15
Kikunae Ikeda is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kikunae Ikeda Died at 72 (1864-1936) Kikunae Ikeda was a Japanese chemist and Tokyo Imperial University professor of Chemistry who, in 1908, uncovered the chemical basis of a taste he named umami. It is one of the five basic tastes ...more

16
Kimishige Ishizaka is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kimishige Ishizaka age 93 Dr Kimishige "Kimi" Ishizaka is a Japanese scientist who discovered the antibody class IgE in 1966. His work has been regarded as a major breakthrough in the understanding of allergy. ...more

17
Kinji Imanishi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kinji Imanishi Died at 90 (1902-1992) Kinji Imanishi was a Japanese ecologist and anthropologist. He was the founder of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, and together with Junichiro Itani is considered one of the ...more

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18
Koichi Tanaka is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Koichi Tanaka age 58 Koichi Tanaka is a Japanese engineer who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for developing a novel method for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules with John Bennett ...more

19
Mikimoto Kōkichi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Mikimoto Kōkichi Died at 96 (1858-1954) Mikimoto Kōkichi was a Japanese entrepreneur who is credited with creating the first cultured pearl and subsequently starting the pearl industry with the establishment of his luxury pearl ...more

20
Kotaro Honda is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kotaro Honda Died at 84 (1870-1954) Kotaro Honda was a Japanese scientist and inventor. He invented KS steel, which is a type of magnetic resistant steel that is three times more resistant than tungsten steel. He later improved ...more

21
Kotaro Shimomura is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kotaro Shimomura Died at 76 (1861-1937) Kotaro Shimomura was a Japanese chemical engineer known for many famous inventions.

22
Kunitomo Ikkansai is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kunitomo Ikkansai Died at 62 (1778-1840) Kunitomo Kosunaki was a Japanese gun manufacturer of the early 19th century, who, after having spent several months in Edo, where he could get accustomed with Dutch wares, built Japan's first ...more

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23
Kyusaku Ogino is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kyusaku Ogino Died at 93 (1882-1975) Kyusaku Ogino was a Japanese doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. His natural father's family name was Nakamura, but Kyusaku was adopted by the Ogino family in 1901. Ogino studied ...more

24
Masanobu Fukuoka is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Masanobu Fukuoka Died at 95 (1913-2008) Masanobu Fukuoka was a Japanese farmer and philosopher celebrated for his natural farming and re-vegetation of desertified lands. He was a proponent of no-till, no-herbicide grain cultivation ...more

25
Masao Kawai is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Masao Kawai age 94 Masao Kawai is a Japanese primatologist, who forwarded the concept of kyokan as a means of studying primates in his book Life of Japanese Monkeys.

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Morishima Chūryō is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Morishima Chūryō Died at 54 (1756-1810) Morishima Chūryō was an Edo period Japanese author of popular fiction who also wrote a number of works in the field of rangaku. He wrote under many pen names, including Manzōtei, Shinra Manzō, ...more

27
Motoo Kimura is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Motoo Kimura Died at 70 (1924-1994) Motoo Kimura was a Japanese biologist best known for introducing the neutral theory of molecular evolution in 1968. He became one of the most influential theoretical population geneticists. He ...more

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Nagamichi Kuroda is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Nagamichi Kuroda Died at 89 (1889-1978) Nagamichi Kuroda was a Japanese ornithologist. His works included Birds of the Island of Java and Parrots of the World in Life Colours. He described the Crested Shelduck in 1917. He also worked ...more

29
Nagai Nagayoshi is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Nagai Nagayoshi Died at 85 (1844-1929) Nagai Nagayoshi was a notable Japanese organic chemist and pharmacologist, best known for his study of ephedrine.

30
Kazuhiro Nakaya is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kazuhiro Nakaya age 72 Kazuhiro Nakaya is a Japanese marine scientist and ichthyologist. He graduated from Hokkaido University with a BA in 1968 and with a PhD in 1972. He is professor of Marine Environment and ...more

31
Ofer Feldman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Ofer Feldman age 64 Ofer Feldman (オフェル・フェルドマン) is a Professor of Political Psychology and Political Behavior at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. Ofer Feldman was born in Israel in 1954 and moved to Japan in 1982. ...more

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Osamu Shimomura is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Osamu Shimomura age 89 Osamu Shimomura is a Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist, and Professor Emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and Boston University School of Medicine. ...more

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Oskar Kellner is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Oskar Kellner Died at 60 (1851-1911) Oskar Johann Kellner was a German agricultural scientist.

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Reiji Okazaki is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Reiji Okazaki Died at 45 (1930-1975) Reiji Okazaki was a pioneer Japanese molecular biologist, known for his pioneer research on DNA replication and especially for describing the role of Okazaki fragments which he discovered ...more

35
Ryuzo Yanagimachi is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Ryuzo Yanagimachi age 89 Ryuzo Yanagimachi is a Japan-born US based scientist. He has made numerous key contributions to the study of mammalian fertilization. He is a pioneer of assisted fertilization technologies such ...more

36
Shiba Kōkan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Shiba Kōkan Died at 71 (1747-1818) Shiba Kōkan, born Andō Kichirō or Katsusaburō(勝三郎), was a Japanese painter and printmaker of the Edo period, famous both for his Western-style yōga paintings, in imitation of Dutch oil painting ...more

37
Shinya Yamanaka is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Shinya Yamanaka age 55 Shinya Yamanaka is a Japanese Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher. He serves as the director of Center for iPS Cell Research and Application and a professor at the Institute for Frontier ...more

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38
Shirai Shigeru is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Shirai Shigeru Shirai Shigeru is a Japanese ichthyologist specializing in elasmobranchs, especially sharks. He graduated from University of Tokyo's Zoology Department with a PhD in Fisheries Science. He is an ...more

39
Susumu Tonegawa is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Susumu Tonegawa age 78 Susumu Tonegawa is a Japanese scientist who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for his discovery of the genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity. Although he won ...more

40
Syukuro Manabe is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Syukuro Manabe age 86 Syukuro "Suki" Manabe is a Japanese meteorologist and climatologist who pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change and natural climate variations.

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Takaaki Musha is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Takaaki Musha age 66

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Takao Suzuki is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Takao Suzuki age 92 Takao Suzuki is a Japanese sociolinguist, He is the author of ことばと文化, translated into English as Words in Context. Suzuki argues that: Sociolinguists do not pay enough attention to the subtle ...more

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43
Taro Takemi is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Taro Takemi Died at 79 (1904-1983) Taro Takemi was a Japanese physician who served as 11th President of the Japan Medical Association for 25 years from 1957 to 1982, and also served as President of the World Medical Association ...more

44
Tatau Nishinaga is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tatau Nishinaga age 78 Tatau Nishinaga is the fifth president of Toyohashi University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Nagoya University in 1967. He became a professor at the ...more

45
Tatsuji Nomura is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tatsuji Nomura Died at 91 (1922-2013) 'Tatsuji Nomura M.D., Ph.D. was a pioneer in the development of laboratory animals with the aim of assuring reproducibility of experimental results in medical research. He was Director of the ...more

46
Ted Fujita is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Ted Fujita Died at 78 (1920-1998) Tetsuya Theodore "Ted" Fujita was a prominent Japanese-American severe storms researcher. His research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and ...more

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Tokushichi Mishima is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tokushichi Mishima Died at 82 (1893-1975) Tokushichi Mishima was a Japanese metallurgist. He discovered that aluminum restored magnetism to non-magnetic nickel steel. He invented MKM steel, which was an extremely inexpensive magnetic ...more

48
Tomoko Ohta is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tomoko Ohta age 84 Ohta, Tomoko is a Japanese scientist working on population genetics/molecular evolution. She graduated from the Agriculture Department of the University of Tokyo in 1956. She obtained her Ph.D. ...more

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Tsuneko Okazaki is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tsuneko Okazaki age 85 Tsuneko Okazaki is a Japanese scientist known for her discovery and research of Okazaki fragments along with her husband Reiji. Okazaki graduated from Nagoya University, School of Science in ...more

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Tsutomu Shimomura is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Tsutomu Shimomura age 53 Tsutomu Shimomura is an American physicist and computer security expert. He is known for helping the FBI track and arrest hacker Kevin Mitnick. Shimomura is currently CEO and CTO of Neofocal ...more