From Kimono to Overalls: The Industrial Transition in Japan


TRANSITION is the dominant fact of life in present-day Japan. Its centre is industry; but its range extends through social and political life, the press, indeed the entire intricate pattern of existence. And behind this transition is the power of applied science, expressed in energetic industrial research.

Practically all fields of science and most of the essential industries of Japan are being served by one or more institutes of research. As in Germany, such institutes are generally endowed by the State. Of the ninety research institutions listed by the Department of Commerce and Industry, only twenty-one are allied with private concerns. The rest are supported by the national treasury, or by prefectures and municipalities. Appropriations for research from bot h public and private sources total about $4,000,000 annually.

I visited Japan as an engineer, anxious to study the influence of research upon her industries. I endeavored to trace the development of industrial methods from their sources and to follow them to their ultimate application. I had made similar studies in England, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, and used the same method in Japan. I visited the laboratories of pure science, the birthplace of industrial technology; from these I went to the laboratories of applied science, and then to the research establishments of trade associations. I completed the cycle by studying in some detail the application of technical knowledge in factories themselves.

Thus I became acquainted with the services which research has performed for Japan’s industry, and was able to form an estimate of her present position among the industrial nations of the world.

But the purpose of my study was more than this; the future of an industrial nation rests with those who are responsible for carrying through discoveries in pure science to ultimate application in industry. The persistence, the vigor, and the rapidity with which this work is pursued determine whether a given industry in particular or an industrial nation as a whole is to prosper or to fail. There is, in fact, no surer method of forecasting industrial futures than study of the ‘time lag’ between a discovery in pure science and the application of the discovery industrially. The investor who seeks to place his money in foreign industries, the financier who is considering a foreign loan, can do no better than to study this time lag. It was with this in mind that I undertook my survey of Japanese industry.

I believe that the reader will best be able to form an opinion of Japan’s industrial future if I reverse the order of my own investigations, and speak first of representative industries, later describing representative laboratories and factories. Perhaps it is natural that the Japanese fisheries should have the first word.


I had heard much, before my visit to Japan, of the frugality of the Japanese and of their genius for painstaking detail. Frugality has been forced upon them for centuries; the endless hardships of life for the great mass of the people have required careful conservation of nature’s gifts; economy and attention to trifles have become part of the national heritage. The effect of these characteristics upon Japanese industries, particularly those concerned with food and natural resources, I found to be astonishing.

Fish is a most important item of the Japanese diet. It is said that the Japanese eat ten pounds of fish for every pound of meat, while Americans eat ten pounds of meat for every pound of fish. Yet Japanese authorities decided that much of the rice, taro, and other starchy foods so common there must be replaced by still more fish, and that each adult needs twenty-two grams of fish each day instead of the seven grams which are now the rule. So Japan set out a few years ago to triple her fish supply within fifteen years. As a result, the fisheries industry to-day presents a picture which may be compared, for careful attention to minute detail, to a great Japanese tapestry.

Japan is applying scientific knowledge to fisheries more intensively than any other nation. The design of fishing vessels, the preservation of nets, the exploitation of all available waters, including the use of rivers and lakes for fish and shellfish culture, the complete utilization of the catch, and the methods of marketing, are all receiving systematic study. Automatic machinery such as the Pacific canning factories employ is being introduced increasingly. The entire industry is subject to strict government control, which prevents excessive exploitation.

The Imperial Fisheries Institute, an agency of pure science supported by the Government, holds the commanding position in the industry, furnishing fundamental data and improving technical methods. One of its most important functions is educational. At present no less than three hundred and twenty young men are being trained in the Institute. Courses in theory and work in the laboratories are supplemented by practical experience on training ships. Graduates of these courses become captains of fishing vessels, research workers at experimental stations, designers in shipyards, instructors in the Institute, or employees of private companies.

Branches of the Institute, research laboratories, experimental stations, and hatcheries are operated in and supported by each of the forty-five prefectures of the Empire. The Chitose Hatchery, situated in Hokkaido, is one of the largest in Japan. Here, among the great salmon fisheries, fifty million salmon eggs are handled each year. Although I had seen with what care the Japanese work, and had noted with what infinite pains every phase of the hatcheries operations had been studied, I was surprised to learn that 97 per cent of the salmon eggs were successfully hatched — an achievement which no other country has approached.

At the Institute and its branches investigations are continually being made into the zoölogy, life history, and migrations of various species; the nutrition value of fish, shellfish, and seaweed; the development of byproducts; the improvement of every phase of the industry. The thoroughness of these studies may be judged from a single example. A distinguished Japanese scholar, Dr. Kishinouye, spent ten years of concentrated effort studying every detail in the life and habits of the bonito. At the PanPacific Science Congress I was privileged to hear the results of his ten years’ labor summed up in a characteristically modest talk lasting but seven minutes. So well had Dr. Kishinouye learned to know the bonito that he could recognize the offspring of the parent fish wherever found; he could tell just where it had come from and under what peculiar conditions it had lived. This might be compared to knowing the life history of the parents of a child picked up on the streets of New York, through examination of the child’s physical characteristics!

Soon after my arrival in Japan, I noticed that a small cylindrical loaf was frequently to be found on the dining table of the Japanese, particularly in homes of the poor. This loaf, I later learned, was made from a fish meal or paste, and was one of the most valuable products developed in the effort to utilize the available fish supply to the last degree. Two grades of the loaf are made. The better grade, Kamoboka, comes from a species which has low market value as fresh fish. It is sold in half cylindrical loaves eight inches long and about two inches thick, weighing half a pound, at a price of about fifteen cents. The inferior grade, known as Chicua, is made from a poorer quality of fish and from scrap. It is pressed into hollow cylinders about seven inches long and an inch in diameter, and is sold at about one and one-half cents a loaf. The importance of this product in the diet of the laboring classes may be estimated from the fact that in one year a single company made and sold ten million sticks of Chicua.

The entire process of grinding, moulding, and cooking these products by automatic machinery and in accordance with the best practices of mass production was developed by the Hayatoma Fisheries Investigation Association, the closest approach to an applied research agency in the Japanese fishing industry.

About 40 per cent of all the fish now caught in Japanese waters is inedible and used as fertilizer, although an attempt is being made to convert from 20 to 30 per cent into food. With this attempt will probably come greater development of by-products — a field comparatively neglected in the past because of the pressing demands for increased fish supply. The College of Fisheries at the University of Hokkaido has made some investigations in byproducts and has developed, among other things, a fish sauce, made from cuttlefish liver, which has found a limited market. Another of its projects has been the manufacture of a moisture-proof shoe from porpoise skin.

The Union Fisheries Company (Kyodogyogyo) is the largest of the commercial companies in Japan, and would bear comparison with any of the great packing houses of Chicago. The Government sanctions the operation of only seventy deep-sea trawlers, and of these this company owns twenty-eight directly and eight through subsidiary companies. These vessels, equipped with Diesel engines and with radio, operate in pairs, making from thirty to fifty hauls on each trip of about two weeks.

The whole area of the fishing grounds where the Kyodogyogyo fleet operates is blocked off in numbered sections, each sixty-four miles square. Every morning the central office at Shimonoseki telephones to the principal markets in representative cities such as Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Tokyo, to determine the selling price of the principal varieties of fish for that day. The selling prices in the different markets are then broadcast by radio to the captains of the vessels, who in the meantime have reported their exact positions, amount of haul, and kinds of fish to t he central office. With the data received from the central office, each captain figures the exact market value of his catch, and proceeds to the port and market which the headquarters has determined are the most profitable. This plan of marketing permits uniform distribution of the catch in accordance with demand, and prevents the breaking of the market price through poor distribution.

This company is experimenting, on a small scale, with the production and marketing of frozen fillets, packed in cans. There appears to be no serious obstacle to the expansion of this enterprise, and it now seems likely that oysters, clams, scallops, swordfish, and halibut will be added to the list of canned products for export to Europe and America. One million pounds of Japanese halibut were imported to the United States last year.

The picture of Japan’s fisheries would not be complete without a brief description of the Tokyo Fish Market. In this market, one of the largest in Japan, four thousand dealers are regularly engaged, and fifteen thousand mongers come here daily for their stock in trade; two hundred common species of fish are dealt in regularly; five hundred and thirty tons of fish are handled each day. The market is subsidized by the city of Tokyo, which is now planning a new market to be built at a cost of five million dollars.

I can think of no better way of expressing the degree of refinement to which technical proficiency has attained in the Japanese fisheries than to say that the employees in hatcheries, marine biological stations, and experimental laboratories have become virtually ‘nursemaids to fish.’ The hatchery operations are carried out with as much as or more care than is expended on children in some nations. This care is strikingly illustrated in the conduct of the pearl industry.


It was in Japan, a few years ago, that a dream as old as science was realized. Professor Nagaoka found the philosophers’ stone: in his laboratory at the National Institute of Physical and Chemical Research he transformed mercury into gold. And another dream which has lived for many thousands of years is finding its fulfillment in Japan: the man-aided production of precious gems indistinguishable from those found in nature.

Pearls are being produced in Japan by the million to-day. Technical skill, developed to its highest degree, is taking a hand in one of nature’s oldest games of chance. Not content with securing one pearl from a thousand oysters, Japan’s experts are obtaining five to six hundred. And the most scientific and astute of gem experts cannot distinguish these pearls from those produced by nature unaided.

Japanese pearl culture is actually the process of helping the oyster, by a delicate surgical operation, to grow a pearl where none grew before. Long the guarded secret of one family, it has now become a million-dollar industry, employing over a thousand men and women. Only in recent years have a few foreigners been privileged to see the pearl-culture farms. It was my good fortune to be permitted to visit the Gokasho farm as a guest of the House of Mikimoto, and to receive from the son of the founder a fascinating and detailed explanation of the process.

The operation consists essentially of inserting in the mantle of the oyster, between the stomach and the kidney, a perfect sphere of Missouri River mussel shell or seed pearl about three t hirty-seconds of an inch in diameter. Upon the skillful execution of this delicate surgical operation the success of pearl culture depends. After the nucleus is inserted the oysters are set on shelves of an iron cage, each shelf containing twenty oysters, and the cage lowered below the surface of the water. In season, four hundred diving girls are employed to clean the oysters and remove foreign marine growth. Twenty or more are employed the year round to keep the cages clean and allow free entrance for water and food.

Mr. Mikimoto’s explanation of the origin of the cage, which was invented by his father and is an improvement over the original methods in pearl culture, was interesting. Formerly, he said, the oysters were spread on the bed of the ocean and women divers brought them to the surface in baskets. But parasites, crabs, and other enemies played such havoc with the oysters that a cage was devised to protect them. A further improvement was made by lifting the cages a few feet off the bottom and suspending them from the surface, and after much experiment it was learned that a staggered arrangement of cages in groups at a mean depth of fifteen feet was ideal for the feeding and growth of the oyster.

The Gokasho Bay Station is the largest and most representative of the eight pearl-culture stations now operated by the Mikimoto Company. Fifty thousand cages, pearl-oyster incubators, are in continuous operation, with an average of one hundred and forty pearl oysters in a cage, making a total of some seven million oysters under cultivation at one time. About a million would normally reach maturity each year, but the loss of oysters before maturity averages 25 to 30 per cent, so that the net yield is about six to seven hundred thousand mature oysters. The life cycle of the oyster is twelve years, and the nucleus of the culture pearl is not inserted until the oyster is four years old, as the young oysters cannot survive the operation. The five or six years after the operation bring the greatest production of pearl essence.

As a memento of my visit Mr. Mikimoto set before me a tub containing about two dozen oysters of sixthyear cultivation. Requested to open the oysters and try my luck, I was rewarded with five beautiful specimens of culture pearls, all perfectly spherical in shape, and with one exception of good color.

The perfection of the culture pearl is astounding. In spite of the efforts of scientists to devise means of finding the difference between culture and natural pearls, whether by chemical analysis, X-ray examination, or other methods, no process in practical use to-day assures positive detection of the culture pearl.


A consideration of the industries of any modern country would be incomplete without some mention of aviation. Civil aviation in Japan, as in many other countries, has not kept pace with military aviation. Although several influential groups have become intensely interested in the conquest of the air, the general public has not yet accepted aviation with the enthusiasm which is necessary for its persistent development. There has been no Lindbergh in Japan to dramatize flying for the mass of people, polar flights have been far away, and Japan has had no representative in these hazardous expeditions.

Moreover, the initial attempts to operate commercial lines were made with converted military and naval aircraft wholly unfitted for the purpose. Only during the past few years have manufacturers been enabled, through the assurance of a sufficient sale, to undertake the design and construction of planes intended solely for commercial purposes.

The general topography of the islands, presenting hazards of mountains and rice fields to make landings difficult, has also helped to discourage commercial flying. Again, the distances between important centres of population are short, and competition with the established methods of transportation is consequently difficult. Because of these adverse conditions there were in operation at the time of my visit but four established air lines, of which one is experimental.

Yet I found many indications of a growing consciousness in the public mind of the possibilities of aviation. A conspicuous example is the Imperial Flying Association, which, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Nagaoka, has recruited thirty thousand men from all walks of life for the active and popular support of aviation. Since its establishment ten years ago the Association has received a million yen ($500,000) in subscriptions and donations. The money is largely expended on propaganda work intended to stimulate public interest. The distribution of literature, the posting of cash prizes for aviation contests, the staging of aerial shows and demonstrations, and the publishing of a journal devoted to aviation are among its activities.

Realizing the importance of providing the initial impetus for the industry and avoiding t he mistakes made in aeronautics abroad, the Imperial Government appropriated twelve thousand yen for a comprehensive survey of the problems of domestic and foreign aviation. The Bureau of Civil Aviation is charged with the task of framing a plan for government subsidy of commercial operating companies, and also with the formulation of a national air policy. To assure an adequate supply ol trained pilots, the Bureau placed four young men in the Army Aviation School for a nine months’ course in ground and flying instruction, graduating them as qualified pilots. Four other men are similarly trained each year with hydroplanes.


The silken kimono symbolizes Japan for most of us. Its startling contrasts might symbolize also the Japanese silk industry, for it is an industry of contrasts. Study of the making of silk in Japan leads us at one moment in directions where progress is so rapid that we follow it with difficulty, and the next moment shows us areas where there has been little development for centuries.

It is well to recognize at once that every advance in the silk industry of Japan is of vital concern to us in this country. Ninety per cent of Japan’s entire output of silk is exported to the United States. Japan is virtually the production department and the United States the sales department of a great international enterprise. The interdependence of the two nations resulting from their relations in this industry was well illustrated by a remark which a leading executive of the industry made to me. ‘The price of United States Steel Common on the New York Stock Exchange,’ he said, ‘is infinitely more important to the economic well-being of Japan than the current quotation of the yen by local banks. In fact, one is cause, the other effect.’

The principal emphasis of research in sericulture is on agricultural and biological studies affecting the silkworm and its feeding. The development of timesaving mechanical processes has been retarded by the abundance of cheap labor. If an automatic machine could be invented to replace hand labor in reeling thread it would be such a great forward step in the economy of silk manufacture that it would materially affect the cost of silk lingerie in America.

The process of making the raw silk itself presents a different picture. The research work of the industry is centralized in the Imperial Japanese Sericulture Experiment Station, which has a total annual budget of $200,000. Six branch stations operate in various parts of the silk-producing regions of Japan. The Experiment Station endeavors to improve the races of silkworms, to facilitate their distribution, and to promote scientific sericulture among the rural population. Its work begins with the breeding of pure races of silkworms, and its departments carry on studies in the chemical composition of mulberry leaves, the parasites of silkworms, the technology of raw-silk manufacture, and methods of classifying from the cocoon stage to actual manufacture.

By its work in the rural districts the Station is doing much to improve the quality of the nation’s silk production. The first generation of hybrid silkworm eggs is distributed to farmers free of charge. Nearly seventy thousand silkworm-egg cards are also distributed annually by the Station, and special lectures by experts on the processes of reeling and spinning silk are given from time to time in the centres of the industry.

An important phase of the work is the training of filature instructors. Each year twenty-five male and seventy female attendants are given courses of training lasting five months; over fourteen hundred persons have already completed this course. Short lecture courses on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms are also given. The Station is housed in modern laboratory buildings, and an important feature is a museum which contains a detailed record of the development of the raw-silk industry both in Japan and abroad.

In an effort to trace the influence of pure research on the methods employed in a representative silk mill, I visited the plant of the Katakura Silk Thread Company. Almost, if not wholly, alone among the manufacturing companies, the Katakura plant supports a research laboratory. Japanese manufacturers have been in close coöperation with the buyers of raw silk in America. Standards and specifications have been established, frequent visits of exchange committees have taken place, and as a result the processes of raw-silk manufacture in the more progressive companies have reached a fairly high state of development, although most of the methods outside of the experimental section of the Katakura plant are of the conventional silk-thread-mill type. In this experimental section, various types of improved reeling machines imported from Italy and other countries are constantly being tested. But as yet no improvement in the sunkencocoon method of reeling has been introduced.

This method is a notable example of the excessive use of hand labor. Girl operators, earning an average daily wage of thirty-eight cents, are employed exclusively. In silk mills, as in other industries in Japan, particularly outside the centres of population, the employees work seven days a week, with two days off each month. In the Katakura plant, seven hundred girls are housed in company dormitories, and extensive welfare facilities are provided.

On the whole, the conventional methods of silk manufacture are so firmly entrenched in Japan that only the most progressive companies are making any effort to improve the processes; and, even in these, cheap labor effectively blocks rapid progress. I have discussed the possibilities of the introduction of automatic machinery with experts both in Japan and in the United States, and they agree that the early development of such machinery is unlikely under present conditions.


Nowhere are the peculiar qualities of Japanese character more in evidence than in the laboratory. Here the thoroughness, the genius for detail, and the impelling curiosity of the Japanese find outlet. In no other country does the research worker live so intensely in his work. Despite the Japanese ability for organization, individual genius finds full expression in the laboratory. The complete organization of the American laboratory, in which a thousand men work under a director to accomplish a common end, has no counterpart in Japan.

The most important, the largest, and the best-equipped research institute in Japan is the National Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, which compares favorably with the foremost organizations in the world, such as the

Bureau of Standards, the National Physical Laboratory in England, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Germany. The National Institute was founded in 1917. Thirteen laboratory buildings are occupied by departments of chemistry, physics, optics, and electrotechnics. Several other buildings are devoted to industrial research laboratories and shops. With a staff of three hundred, including one hundred and twelve actual research workers, the Institute operates on an annual budget of about a half-million dollars.

Although the Institute is subsidized by the Imperial Government, the industries which submit research projects are required to pay the actual cost of investigation or to support fellowships for the specific work. When a patentable discovery results from a research investigation, 50 per cent of the profits realized by industrial application and sale of the product is returned to the Institute, and of this 25 per cent goes to the inventor.

Some of the most remarkable discoveries of modern science have come out of the Institute. In the laboratory of Professor Nagaoka, one of the most eminent physical chemists in Japan, classical investigations in the structure of matter are always in progress. I have already mentioned one of Professor Nagaoka’s most brilliant achievements, the transmutation of mercury into gold on a laboratory scale.

The present keen interest of medical science and even of the general public in vitamins is not by any means confined to the Occident. In the applied industrial research laboratories of the Institute, the manufacture of vitamin A cod-liver-oil capsules has been carried to the point of commercial-scale production. Experiments are in progress also for extracting the valuable item of diet, vitamin C, from Japan green tea. A synthetic indigo, reported to be as good as dyes produced by similar processes in Germany, is another product of the laboratories. One section of the chemical research laboratory is devoting much attention to the development of pure chemical derivatives from human hair. Of thirty or more derivatives already developed, one offers the possibility of a specific cure for tuberculosis.

One of the most important and extensive of the national laboratories supported by the Government is the Imperial Combustibles Research Laboratory — another result of Japan’s determination to utilize to the highest degree her natural resources. As one engineer expressed it, ‘Japan’s limited coal supply makes it imperative for us to develop scientific methods for obtaining every atom of energy from our available supply.’

This laboratory is divided into several sections, which are specifically charged with the exact determination of the nature and structure of coal, the development of low-temperature carbonizing processes, the development of coal derivatives, the utilization of brown coal, and the extraction of oil from shale. The work of the Institute is important not to Japan alone, but to the entire world. American and European engineers who have followed the laboratory’s work agree that Japan is gaining world leadership in the field, and that in the future other countries will look to the East for knowledge of combustibles. While other countries may be more richly endowed with natural resources, nowhere is the supply of such resources infinite; and their conservation is each year becoming a matter of greater importance. I am sure that Japan’s attitude toward her natural resources might well be emulated by many other nations.

Research is being applied even to art in Japan, and an old order, established through thousands of years, is changing. The pottery industry, including the famous Satsuma ware, still largely depends upon trade secrets handed down through families from generation to generation. But the Government, through the Pottery Experimental Station at Kyoto, is introducing scientific study into the industry, and attempting to create a more coöperative spirit.

I was surprised to find that the work of the Experimental Station was being directed largely toward the production of original designs for pottery. To an American, design might seem the proper province of free imagination; yet science is being successfully applied to it. Extensive and minute studies are made of bamboo, cherry, chrysanthemum, to find in them new motifs for design. A table lamp originated in the laboratory is fashioned after a miniature bamboo tree, and the finest details of color, form, and texture are reproduced. The lamp is both artistic and useful, and can be made at reasonable cost.

The laboratory also concerns itself with the improvement of pottery machinery, the reduction of material costs, and the development of new applications for pottery. Its findings are not patentable, and can be used without payment by any concern in the industry. An extensive museum containing pottery from all parts of the world is maintained by the Station.


Among the representative industrial plants which I studied was the Oji Paper Company. Although the principal product of this company is newsprint paper, the Oji Company and its subsidiary plants manufacture practically all types of paper, including stationery, wall paper, and cigarette paper.

The company’s mills operate continuously, seven days a week, the employees, as in the silk mills, receiving two days off each month. The mill operates on two shifts, day and night, one beginning at six in the morning, the other at six in the evening. The average wage for men is $1.05 a day; for women, $.75 a day. The company maintains a housing system, supply stores, and free baths for its employees.

The plant itself, following the best American practices of mass production, is well equipped with automatic and semi-automatic machinery; a noticeable feature, however, particularly in the presence of many hazardous operat ions, is the complete absence of any safety devices. An interesting commentary on the equipment of Japanese industrial plants, which seems to be an indication of the trend of t he times, is the gradual replacement of English by American machinery.

The Nippon Electric Company presents many contrasts to the paper mill. I learned from Mr. Ohata, the operating vice president, that ‘a gradual displacement of foreign engineers is continually in progress, an increasing number of engineering graduates from the imperial universities stepping into their places, and gradually taking over the technical administration of the basic industries of Japan.’ This is happening rapidly in the Nippon Electric Company.

Its employees are, in general, of a much higher type than those in the paper mill, and receive an average wage of from $2.25 to $2.50 per day. The wages of toolmakers run as high as $3.50 per day. Seventy men are employed in engineering design and drafting, and a small section of twenty men engages in experiment, principally with broadcasting equipment and loud speakers.


The inherent weakness of the organization of research in Japan is the gap between the agencies of pure research and those of applied science operating in the industries.

One reason for this is that a too generous subsidy has been extended by the Imperial Government to national research institutes, and in some instances to agencies which should manifestly be supported by industry itself. The incentive for the establishment of private agencies, which would have resulted naturally from industrial competition, has suffered from government regulation of industry. Officials seem to realize that the ideal to be attained is a gradual reduction of government subsidies and the establishment of research organizations on a self-sustaining basis, but no concerted effort toward this ideal is in evidence. The Japanese executive does not respond to the idea of research. He is intent upon production and dividends.

Until recently, also, Japan suffered from industrial indigestion, brought about by successive attempts to bolt German, English, French, and American methods, advisors, and products, often wholly unsuited to her own special economic needs. Now Japan has outgrown her dependence on imported technical knowledge, which is rapidly being supplied by her own people. Thirty thousand engineers are enrolled in the national engineering societies of Japan — a fact suggesting in itself the phenomenal industrial growth which has been able to absorb so large a number of technical workers.

It is readily apparent that Japan’s universities and technical schools are far too remote from the interests of her industries. At present there is practically no coöperation between the engineering school and the factory, a situation unfortunate not only because the university laboratory is not rendering to industry the direct assistance which it is capable of giving, but also because the universities are turning over to industry engineering graduates without any grasp of indust rial needs or conditions. From a practical point of view, their training is deficient, and industry must take over at its own expense, and with resultant loss of efficiency, the task left uncompleted by the university.

What is especially needed is some national agency to act as a clearing house, a bridge to span the gap between pure science and industry. This seems an obvious function of the National Research Council of Japan. Some discussion of this project during my visit may result in its being undertaken. A national agency to interpret the technical problems of industry to pure research, and to influence the programme of scientific research in such a direction as to be helpful to industry, would be of vital importance.

But whatever the defects in the organization of industry and science in Japan, the advances in recent years have been truly phenomenal. In the last analysis, these advances are due to the native Japanese ability, and to the outstanding characteristic of the intelligent Japanese, which is, if my observation be true, an inquiring mind and a hunger for knowledge. No opportunity is lost by any Japanese in any station of life to come in contact with foreigners and to acquire as much new knowledge as he can. The Japanese take great care to make a detailed record of newly acquired information, and lose little time in its application.

From my own observations and from the comparative data available, I should place Japan fourth among the nations of the world in the organization and scope of her research activities. I should rate Germany first, the United States second, England third, and Japan fourth. I will hazard the prophecy that within ten years two important changes in relative position will take place in this list of the Big Four in the international contest for industrial supremacy.