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Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the World’s First High Speed Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the World’s First High Speed Train

On October 1, 1964, the world‘s first high speed train, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen started operation between Tokyo and Osaka. With more than 400,000 passengers per working day, it is considered to be the world’s busiest high-speed line. The Origin of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen Even though construction work started in 1959, the plans for the high speed train were made in the 1940s. It was planned to achieve a maximum speed of 150 km/h…
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Yamamoto Tsunetomo and the Way of the Samurai

Yamamoto Tsunetomo and the Way of the Samurai

On June 12, 1659 (other sources report June 11, 1659 – according to the Julian calendar July 13), Japanese Samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo was born. He is best known for the publication of his compiled commentaries and aphorisms about the life of the Samurai under the title of Hagakure, a word that can be translated as either In the shadow the Leaves or The Hidden Leaves. Above all, the Way of the Samurai…
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The Revenge of the 47 Ronin

The Revenge of the 47 Ronin

In Genroku 15, on the 14th day of the 12th month (元禄十五年十二月十四日, Tuesday, January 30, 1703), in revenge for the death of their prince Asano, 47 Ronin invade the house of the Japanese Shogunate official Kira Yoshihisa in Edo and kill him and his male followers. The story of the 47 Ronin is one of the most celebrated in the history of the samurai. Described by Japanese historians as a ‘National Legend’,…
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Momofuko Ando and the Secret of Instant Noodles

Momofuko Ando and the Secret of Instant Noodles

On March 5, 1910, Taiwanese–Japanese inventor and Businessman Momofuku Ando was born. Ando is known as one of the inventors of instant noodles, instant ramen, and Cup Noodles. He founded Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd. Ramen – the Student Super Food Poor college students around the globe know that every day is a good day for instant (ramen) noodles. They are filling, incredibly cheap as well as fast and easy to prepare.…
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Hideki Yukawa and the Existence of Mesons

Hideki Yukawa and the Existence of Mesons

On January 23, 1907, Japanese theoretical physicist and the first Japanese Nobel laureate Hideki Yukawa was born. Yukawa shared the 1949 Nobel Prize for Physics for “his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces.” “Reality is cruel. All of the naivete is going to be removed. Reality is always changing, and it is always unpredictable. All of the balance is going to be destroyed.”…
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Tetsuya Theodore Fujita’s Research on Severe Storms

Tetsuya Theodore Fujita’s Research on Severe Storms

On October 23, 1920, Japanese-American meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore Fujita was born. Fujita’s research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons revolutionized the knowledge of each. Together with his wife Sumiko, Fujita developed the Fujita scale (F-scale, Feb 1971) for measuring tornadoes on the basis of their damage. On October 23, 1920, Japanese-American meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore Fujita was born. Fujita’s research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms,…
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William Edwards Deming and Total Quality Management

William Edwards Deming and Total Quality Management

On October 14, 1900, American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant William Edwards Deming was born. Deming often is referred to as the father of “Total Quality Management.” After World War II, he contributed to Japan‘s economic recovery by recommending statistical methods of quality control in industrial production. His method embraced carefully tallying product defects, examining their causes, correcting the problems, and then tracking the results of these changes on…
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Henry Faulds and the Forensic Use of Fingerprints

Henry Faulds and the Forensic Use of Fingerprints

On June 1, 1843, Scottish physician and missionary Henry Faulds was born. Faulds became a missionary in Japan, where he worked as a surgeon superintendent at a Tokyo hospital, taught at the local univeristy, and founded the Tokyo Institute for the Blind. He is probably best known for his study of fingerprints, where he became convinced that each individual had a unique pattern. Historic Use of Fingerprints It is believed that fingerprints…
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Hideo Shima and the Bullet Train

Hideo Shima and the Bullet Train

On May 20, 1901, Japanese engineer Hideo Shima was born. Shima was the driving force behind the building of the first bullet train, the Shinkansen, linking Tokyo and Osaka in Oct 1964. Shima also led Japan‘s space development programme until 1977 at Japan’s National Space Development Agency. Shima was born in Osaka as the son of a prominent railway engineer and educated at the Tokyo Imperial University in 1925, where he studied…
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Betamax and the Video Format Wars

Betamax and the Video Format Wars

On May 10, 1975, Sony released a consumer-level analog videocassette magnetic tape recording format called Betamax. Today, the format is obsolete, having lost the videotape format war to VHS with Betamax recorders ceased production in 2002. The first efforts at video recording, using recorders similar to audio recorders with fixed heads, were unsuccessful. The problem was that a video signal has a much wider bandwidth than an audio signal (6 MHz vs…
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