Japanese People

Famous Scientists from Japan

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Updated June 14, 2019 25.3k views 55 items

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
Age: 85

Birthplace: Japan

Akira Endo (遠藤 章, Endō Akira, born 14 November 1933) is a Japanese biochemist whose research into the relationship between fungi and cholesterol biosynthesis led to the development of statin ...more
2
Atsumu Ohmura is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Age: 77

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Atsumu Ohmura (大村 纂, Ōmura Atsumu, born 1942) 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 ...more
3
Eizaburo Nishibori is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Eizaburo Nishibori Dec. at 86 (1903-1989)

Birthplace: Japan

Eizaburo Nishibori (西堀 栄三郎, Nishibori Eizaburō, January 28, 1903 – April 13, 1989) was a Japanese scientist, alpinist and technologist. And he is also known as the captain of the primary ...more
4
Hideki Shirakawa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Age: 82

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Hideki Shirakawa (白川 英樹 Shirakawa Hideki, born August 20, 1936) is a Japanese chemist, engineer, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tsukuba and Zhejiang University. He is best known for ...more
5
Hidetsugu Yagi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hidetsugu Yagi Dec. at 90 (1886-1976)

Birthplace: Osaka, Japan

Hidetsugu Yagi (八木 秀次, Yagi Hidetsugu, January 28, 1886 – January 19, 1976) was a Japanese electrical engineer from Osaka, Japan. When working at Tohoku University, he wrote several articles ...more
6
Hiraga Gennai is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Dec. at 52 (1728-1780)
Hiraga Gennai (平賀 源内, 1728 – January 24, 1780) was an Edo period Japanese pharmacologist, student of Rangaku, physician, author, painter and inventor who is well known for his Erekiteru ...more
7
Hiroaki Mitsuya is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hiroaki Mitsuya Age: 69
Hiroaki Mitsuya (満屋 裕明, Mitsuya Hiroaki, born 1950) is a Japanese virologist famous for his role in discovery of the anti-HIV drug zidovudine (AZT) as well as other anti-AIDS drugs including ...more
8
Hiroshi Komiyama is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Hiroshi Komiyama Age: 75
Hiroshi Komiyama (小宮山 宏, Komiyama Hiroshi, born December 15, 1944) is a Japanese scientist. He was the president of University of Tokyo from April 2005 to March 2009. His major research fields ...more
9
Isamu Akasaki is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Age: 90
Isamu Akasaki (赤崎 勇, Akasaki Isamu, born January 30, 1929) is a Japanese physicist, specializing in the field of semiconductor technology and Nobel Prize laureate, best known for inventing the ...more
10
Iwahashi Zenbei is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Iwahashi Zenbei Dec. at 55 (1756-1811)
Iwahashi Zenbei (岩橋 善兵衛, 1756–1811) was a Japanese scientist and optician.
11
Jokichi Takamine is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Jokichi Takamine Dec. at 68 (1854-1922)

Birthplace: Takaoka, Japan

Takamine Jōkichi (高峰 譲吉, November 3, 1854 – July 22, 1922) was a Japanese chemist.
12
Junichiro Itani is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Junichiro Itani Dec. at 75 (1926-2001)
Junichiro Itani (伊谷 純一郎, Itani Jun'ichirō, May 9, 1926 – August 19, 2001) is considered a founder of the discipline of Japanese primatology. He was an internationally renowned anthropologist and ...more
13
Kakichi Mitsukuri is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kakichi Mitsukuri Dec. at 52 (1857-1909)

Birthplace: Edo

Kakichi Mitsukuri (箕作 佳吉, Mitsukuri Kakichi, January 15, 1857 – September 16, 1909) was a Japanese zoologist, born in Edo. In 1873 he came to the United States, where he received the Ph.D. ...more
14
Katsuko Saruhashi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Katsuko Saruhashi Dec. at 87 (1920-2007)

Birthplace: Japan

Katsuko Saruhashi (猿橋 勝子, Saruhashi Katsuko, March 22, 1920 – September 29, 2007) was a Japanese geochemist who created tools that let her take some of the first measurements of carbon dioxide ...more
15
Kikunae Ikeda is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Dec. at 72 (1864-1936)

Birthplace: Kyoto, Keihanshin, Japan

Kikunae Ikeda (池田 菊苗, Ikeda Kikunae, 8 October 1864 – 3 May 1936) was a Japanese chemist and Tokyo Imperial University professor of Chemistry who, in 1908, uncovered the chemical basis of a ...more
16
Kimishige Ishizaka is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kimishige Ishizaka Age: 94
Kimishige "Kimi" Ishizaka (石坂 公成, Ishizaka Kimishige, 3 December 1925 – 6 July 2018) was a Japanese immunologist who, with his wife Terako Ishizaka, discovered the antibody class ...more
17
Kinji Imanishi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Dec. at 90 (1902-1992)
Kinji Imanishi (今西 錦司, Imanishi Kinji, January 6, 1902 – June 15, 1992) was a Japanese ecologist and anthropologist. He was the founder of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, and ...more
18
Koichi Tanaka is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Age: 59

Birthplace: Toyama, Japan

Koichi Tanaka (田中 耕一, Tanaka Kōichi, born August 3, 1959) is a Japanese engineer who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002 for developing a novel method for mass spectrometric analyses of ...more
19
Mikimoto Kōkichi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Mikimoto Kōkichi Dec. at 96 (1858-1954)

Birthplace: Toba, Japan

Mikimoto Kōkichi (御木本 幸吉, 25 January 1858 – 21 September 1954) was a Japanese entrepreneur who is credited with creating the first cultured pearl and subsequently starting the cultured pearl ...more
20
Kotaro Honda is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kotaro Honda Dec. at 84 (1870-1954)

Birthplace: Okazaki, Japan

Kotaro Honda (本多 光太郎, Honda Kōtarō, born on February 23, 1870 in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture – February 12, 1954) was a Japanese scientist and inventor. He invented KS steel (initials from Kichiei ...more
21
Kotaro Shimomura is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kotaro Shimomura Dec. at 76 (1861-1937)
Kotaro Shimomura (下村 孝太郎, Shimomura Kōtarō, October 29, 1861 – October 21, 1937) 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
Dec. at 62 (1778-1840)
Kunitomo Ikkansai (国友 一貫斎, November 21, 1778 – December 26, 1840) was a Japanese gun manufacturer of the early 19th century, who, after having spent several months in Edo, where he could get ...more
23
Kyusaku Ogino is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Kyusaku Ogino Dec. at 93 (1882-1975)
Kyusaku Ogino (荻野 久作, Ogino Kyūsaku, 25 March 1882 – 1 January 1975) was a Japanese doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. His natural father's family name was Nakamura, but Kyusaku ...more
24
Masanobu Fukuoka is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Dec. at 95 (1913-2008)

Birthplace: Iyo, Japan

Masanobu Fukuoka (Japanese: 福岡 正信, Hepburn: Fukuoka Masanobu, 2 February 1913 – 16 August 2008) was a Japanese farmer and philosopher celebrated for his natural farming and re-vegetation of ...more
25
Masao Kawai is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Scientists from Japan
Age: 95
Masao Kawai (河合 雅雄, Kawai Masao, born January 2, 1924) is a Japanese primatologist, who forwarded the concept of kyokan as a means of studying primates in his book Life of Japanese Monkeys