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Famous Scientists from Japan

Updated June 14, 2019 27.4k views55 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. {#nodes}
  • 1

    Akira Endo

    Age: 87


    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 drugs,...  more
  • 2

    BirthplaceTokyo, 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 in...  more
  • 3

    Eizaburo Nishibori

    Dec. at 86 (1903-1989)


    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 Japanese...  more
  • 4

    BirthplaceTokyo, 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 his...  more
  • 5

    Hidetsugu Yagi

    Dec. at 89 (1886-1976)

    BirthplaceOsaka Prefecture, East Asia, Honshu, Osaka, Asia

    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 that...  more
  • 6

    Hiraga Gennai

    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

    Age: 71
    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

    Age: 77
    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 are...  more
  • 9
    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 bright...  more
  • 10

    Iwahashi Zenbei

    Age: 265
    Iwahashi Zenbei (岩橋 善兵衛, 1756–1811) was a Japanese scientist and optician....  more
  • 11

    Jokichi Takamine

    Dec. at 67 (1854-1922)

    BirthplaceTakaoka, Japan

    Takamine Jōkichi (高峰 譲吉, November 3, 1854 – July 22, 1922) was a Japanese chemist....  more
  • 12

    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

    Age: 164


    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. degree...  more
  • 14

    Katsuko Saruhashi

    Dec. at 87 (1920-2007)


    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 (CO2)...  more
  • 15

    Kikunae Ikeda

    Dec. at 71 (1864-1936)

    BirthplaceKyoto, 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 taste he...  more
  • 16

    Kimishige Ishizaka

    Age: 96
    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 Immunoglobulin E...  more
  • 17

    Kinji Imanishi

    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 together...  more
  • 18

    BirthplaceToyama, 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

    Dec. at 96 (1858-1954)

    BirthplaceToba, 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 industry...  more
  • 20

    Kotaro Honda

    Dec. at 83 (1870-1954)

    BirthplaceAichi Prefecture, Chūbu region, East Asia, Honshu, Okazaki

    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

    Age: 160
    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....  more
  • 22

    Kunitomo Ikkansai

    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

    Dec. at 92 (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 was...  more
  • 24

    Masanobu Fukuoka

    Dec. at 95 (1913-2008)

    BirthplaceIyo, 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 (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 (1969)....  more