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Unit 4

4.2 ๐Ÿงช Science and Research

3 min readโ€ขnovember 16, 2020

Caroline Koffke

Katelyn Lien


๐Ÿงช Science and Research

Japan is known for its scientific research and has made significant contributions to many fields of science. There are many research institutions in Japan that promote scientific advancements and allow Japanese scientists to continue their work.

Below are some of the largest and most well-known Japanese research organizations.

Japan Science and Technology Agency (็ง‘ๅญฆๆŠ€่ก“ๆŒฏ่ˆˆๆฉŸๆง‹)

  • Japanese government agency that funds basic research and commercialization of revolutionary technology
  • Headquarters in Kawaguchi, Saitama
  • Founded in 1996
  • Over 1,200 employees as of April 2019
  • Aids in distribution of science and technology information
  • Maintains close relationship with universities to foster collaborative research
  • Has published about 6,000 research articles

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (ๆ–‡้ƒจ็ง‘ๅญฆ็œ)

  • Founded in 2001
  • Minister, 2 State Ministers, 2 Parliamentary Vice-Ministers, and 2 Deputy Ministers
  • Further divided into

    • Minister's Secretariat

      • Manages MEXT's overall policies

      • Performs administrative functions like community relations and policy evaluation

    • Director-General for International Affairs

      • Assists in activities of the Japanese National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

      • Promotes international collaboration through education, science, and culture

    • Department of Facilities Planning and Disaster Prevention

      • Promotes improvement in earthquake resistance and disaster prevention strategies

      • Advocates for enhancement of national university campuses to support educational and research activities

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

  • Founded in 1932
  • Independent Administrative Institution
  • Fosters young researchers and promotes international scientific exchange
  • Awards grants for scientific research

๐Ÿซ Many Japanese universities also conduct scientific and technological research. Some of the leading Japanese universities are The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Waseda University.

Nobel Prize Recipients

๐ŸŽ–๏ธ Japan has an impressive list of Nobel Prize laureates who have been honored for their excellence in their area of study.

Here are a few recent Japanese recipients:

2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

  • Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, Shuji Nakamura
  • Awarded for invention of blue LED lights (energy-saving light source)
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-L87WtMgzso10.png?alt=media&token=88d702fe-85e5-4b05-a05a-e09e35485f5a

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

  • Tasuku Honjo
  • Awarded for discovery of new cancer immunotherapy (shared with James P. Allison)
  • Discovered the enzyme activation-induced cytidine deaminase of AID

2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

  • Akira Yoshino
  • Fellow of Asahi Kasei Corporation and professor at Meijo University
  • Awarded for the development of lithium-ion batteries (shared with John B. Goodenough and M. Stanley Wittingham)
  • Batteries now widely used in cellphones and computers

๐Ÿ›ฐ๏ธ Space Exploration

JAXA, or the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, is Japan's national aerospace research and space agency. It was formed in 2003 after three independent organizations merged.

Currently, its headquarters is in Chลfu, Tokyo, and the president of the agency is Hiroshi Yamakawa. It has over 1,500 regular staff members and many domestic and international researchers.

JAXA is one of the participating agencies involved with the International Space Station. Japan often works as a partner with NASA and the countries' most recent collaborative project is the Artemis.

Japan has successfully launched many high-profile science missions like the HALCA, in which multiple telescopes are used to study astronomical objects and the Hayabusa, which brought back an asteroid sample to Earth.

Koichi Wakata is a well-known Japanese astronaut, or uchลซ hikลshi (ๅฎ‡ๅฎ™้ฃ›่กŒๅฃซ). He has spent more than 11 months in space and was the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station. He has also been part of 4 NASA Space Shuttle missions.

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-rp2cvU4ikjDs.png?alt=media&token=94e36347-a658-41cb-a34c-b4c1ce5eb732

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

๐Ÿ’ฅ Strive for a Five Vocabulary

  • hakken (็™บ่ฆ‹): to discover
  • kenkyลซ (็ ”็ฉถ): to research
  • kenkyลซsha (็ ”็ฉถ่€…): experimenter
  • kagakusha (็ง‘ๅญฆ่€…): scientist
  • jikken (ๅฎŸ้จ“): experiment
  • kenbikyล (้ก•ๅพฎ้ก): microscope
  • kakushin (้ฉๆ–ฐ): innovation
  • deita (ใƒ‡ใƒผใ‚ฟ): data
  • keikaku (่จˆ็”ป): plan
  • hลhล (ๆ–นๆณ•): method
  • chishiki (็Ÿฅ่ญ˜): knowledge
  • uchลซ (ๅฎ‡ๅฎ™): outerspace
  • butsuri (็‰ฉ็†): physics
  • kagaku (ๅŒ–ๅญฆ): chemistry
  • kakudai (ๆ‹กๅคง): to enlarge

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