Kono Yasui


May 20, 2022

Kono Yasui (Easy Kono, February 16, 1880-March 24, 1971) is a Japanese botanist and cytologist. He is a Ph.D. in Science (Doctor of Science, The University of Tokyo, 1927). She is the first female doctoral degree holder in Japan. After working as a professor at Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School (39 years old) and a professor at Ochanomizu University, she is an emeritus professor at Ochanomizu University (72 years old). In an era of intense gender discrimination, she followed the path of a pioneer with the adjective "Japan's first" for many things as a female scientist, and she paved the way for female scientists. With her degree in Yasui, female doctors will appear in other fields as well. Born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1880. She graduated from Kagawa Prefectural Normal School, she graduated from Women's Higher Normal School, and she became a teacher. She traveled to the United States at the age of 34 and studied cytology at the University of Chicago and coal science at Harvard University. After she returned to Japan, she continued her research as a part-time job at Tokyo Imperial University, while she was a professor at Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School. She was 47 years old in 1927, when she studied coal, and she received her first PhD (Doctor of Science) from Tokyo Imperial University. She has been involved in the launch of the cytology magazine Cytologia since 1929, and continued to produce until her later years. She was instrumental in establishing the Women's National University, and she played an important role in the conversion of Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School to Ochanomizu University in 1949. In 1953, the "Yasui-Kuroda Scholarship Fund" was established at Ochanomizu University with the aim of encouraging research in the natural sciences. She received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1955, the Order of the Precious Crown in 1965, and died at her home in 1971.


Childhood and Education

Born on February 16, 1880 in Sanbonmatsu-mura, Ochi-gun, Sanuki Province, Ehime Prefecture (currently Sanbonmatsu, Higashikagawa City, Kagawa Prefecture, see Sanbonmatsu Station) as the eldest daughter of nine sisters and brothers in a wealthy merchant house. Growing up with her parents who value her education, in her childhood she was encouraged to read Yukichi Fukuzawa's An Encouragement of Learning. She graduated from Kagawa Prefectural Normal School (currently Kagawa University) Women's Club and then Women's Higher Normal School (currently Ochanomizu Women's University) Science in 1898, and was a teacher at Gifu Women's High School and Kanda Kyoritsu Girls' School for three years. Served.

Advancement and research

When the new graduate school was established at the Women's Higher Normal School in 1905, she enrolled as the only science research student, and she majored in zoology and botany under the guidance of Professor Yutaro Iwakawa. In 1905, her dissertation "On the Weberian apparatus of the carp" published in her first year of graduate school was published in "Zoological Journal" and became Japan's first academic paper by a female scientist. She graduated from the Graduate School of Women's Higher Normal School in 1907, and when she was hired as an assistant professor at the school, she moved her research to plant development. Her research caught the eye of Kiichi Miyake, a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo Imperial University, and under the guidance of Miyake, she had the opportunity to study plant cytology. In 1911, at the recommendation of the professor, she was the first Japanese woman to publish a paper on the life history of Japanese pepper algae in the overseas (UK) journal "Annals of Botany". Her dissertation in this international journal was a great help for her later study abroad in the United States to help her, who had not graduated from college in Japan, be able to study in her graduate status. became.

Study Abroad and Coal Research

In 1912, Kiichi Miyake recommended studying abroad in Germany, but the application for studying abroad was rejected by the Ministry of Education because "I don't think women will accomplish anything valuable in the field of science." In 1914, when she was 34, she was admitted to study in the United States at the recommendation of Kenjiro Fujii, a professor of science at Tokyo Imperial University. However, as a condition for her study abroad, "housework research" was added in addition to "science research", and there was an implicit restriction that she would continue her lifelong research without getting married. She studied cytology at the University of Chicago.