1.1 Methodological Remarks
Before discussing the history of the reception and development of cell theory in Japanese biology, the three following remarks are necessary.
1. The problem of how to define cell theory. Defining cell theory is a complicated problem(Hayashi) and can not be solved within this short article. So in this article, I use "cell theory" meaning the claim that the cell is the element of almost all organisms or that almost all animals and plants consist of cell(s). It is probably the broadest meaning. But beside this literal meaning, I distinguish three distinct phases of cell theory to survey cell theory in Meiji era Japan.
(i) Cell theory as mere "fact", or microscopic fact. It is empirical and, strictly speaking, can not be regarded as "theory". This phase of cell theory is anatomical rather than physiological.
(ii) Cell theory as principle. It is a view of life such that life is defined as the aggregation of cells. This is a deductive rule, not an inductive one. The figure of typical cell or "ideal" cell appears. The concept of cell is not only anatomical but also physiological.
(iii) Cell theory as a tacit premise. As biological research developed, various fields of biology appeared. Such fields were based on cell theory. Though cell theory is not evident, biological research presupposes it.
2. We should be aware of the meaning of "reception". Beside the Western historians interested in Asian intellectual history, historians of science in Japan and other Asian countries often debated about reception of scientific theories which have its origin in Europe. In such cases, it may be likely to be presupposed that there is an orthodox theory and that the theory accepted by non-advanced countries should conform exactly to the original theory. If it turns out not to be the same, the result is often called the "deviance". In this article, I take Western cell theory for comparison but do not regard it as absolute standard.
3. In this article, I deal with botanical and zoological writings, not medical ones. Japanese traditional medicine was highly influenced by Chinese medicine. But Dutch medicine was also imported to Japan during Edo era(1603-1868), the age prior to Meiji era. Given this, it can be said that the modernization of medicine was prior to that of botany and zoology. Cellular pathology might have been transmitted to Japan in the beginning of Meiji era. But the history of cell theory in medicine is beyond the scope of this article.
1.2 First Appearance of the Concept of Cell in Japanese Biology
"Cell", translated as "saibo(ΧE)" or "saiho(ΧE)" in Japanese, was one of the technical terms which Japanese vocabulary adopted to attain the modernization of the sciences of life. Udagawa YoaniFcμΥΑj, who was a doctor of traditional medicine famous for his introduction of Western botany and chemistry, published a set of three books named Shokugaku Keigen(Ueno and Yabe[1980@11-170]) in 1834 or 1835(Yabe). It contains the word of "saibo"(Ueno and Yabe[1980 48]). This has been said to be the first example of the use of word "saibo" in Japanese(Yuasa[1957 70], Kimura et al.).
But in Udagawa's book, he does not claim that every plant consists of cells. The word "cell" was recognized at most as one of many terms in plant anatomy. Udagawa distinguished five species of grains in the wood and wrote, "roughly speaking, vertical grains are coarse and possess cells"(Ueno and Yabe[1980, 48]).
We can not claim that Shokugaku Keigen
contains first Japanese cell theory. These Udagawa's books were
3 or 4 years prior to Schleiden's famous article in 1838, which
includes the first declaration of cell theory as principle in
1.3 Cell Theory before the Meiji Era
In 1858, a book on Western botany, ZhiwuxueiA¨wj
appeared in China(Ueno and Yabe[1980@175-387]).
This is presumed as partly and rearranged translation of John
Lindley's textbook, Elements of Botany(Ueno). The
authors(or, more precisely, editors or translators)were Li Shan
Lan(P) and A. Williamson. In
1867, this book was also printed in Japan. Its title was Shokubutsu-gaku
(A¨w), namely botany. It contains
the word for cell and refers to cell theory by saying that "the
whole body of all animals and plants is assemblage of cells"(Ueno
and Yabe[1980, 184]). But in this book, cell theory is hardly
examined or justified at all. It seems that cell "theory"
in Shokubutsu-gaku is stated as a plain a priori "fact".
Cell theory was not stated as a significant new theory, but as
a plain statement of mere fact.
2.1 Plant Taxonomy and Cell Theory in the Early Meiji Era
From the beginning of Meiji era of 1868, Japan quickly set up national institutions of higher education and research. Japanese government had a policy of importing Western sciences rapidly. Tanaka YoshioicFjj, who was an official of Meiji government, introduced Western botanical and zoological knowledge (Kimura, Kihara, Shinoto and Isono). For example, he translated the Linnae's taxonomic table(Tanaka[1872a]) and the de Candolle's one(Tanaka[1872b]) into Japanese. They were published by Ministry of Education. But eighteenth-century taxonomic works like these do not contain any cell theory. The botanical knowledge which was required in Japan first was neither anatomical nor physiological, but taxonomic knowledge. Nonetheless, we can see some appearances of cell theory.
Abe TametoiΐΧCj and Ito YuzuruiΙ‘ͺj published a book in three volumes in 1875(Abe and Ito). They are based on English book on botany(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono). They mentioned cell theory in one, and only one, place: "the whole body of all animals and plants consists of many cells"(Abe and Ito). Because these books are the introductory text of botany mainly centered on taxonomy, there are neither any detailed descriptions nor any illustrations of cells.
Ono Motoyoshii¬μEΐj, who was a government official of the Ministry of Education, was enthusiastically introduced Western botany into Japanese. In 1874, he published a very small English-Japanese dictionary of botanical terms. This dictionary (Ono) was the first Japanese dictionary on Western botany. It includes the word saibo as the Japanese translation of "cell"(Ono[1965 46]), but details of the term were not spelled out.
After these introduction by the national government, national university became the center of research and education. In Japan, there had been many works in Japanese natural history and some introduction of Western medicine. The first Japanese national university, the University of Tokyo, had equipped its department of biology in the year it opened, 1877(Ogura). Tokyo-daigaku Seibutsu Gakkai(Biological Society of the University of Tokyo) was established in 1878(Kimura et al., Ogura). Many Europeans and Americans had taught in the early University of Tokyo. Some of them drew the curtain of Japanese modernization in the fields of sciences(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono, Watanabe).
"Cell theory(saibo-setsu)" was also imported into Japan along with botany, zoology, physiology, pathology and microscopes. Almost all of the European discoveries that had happened between the seventeenth century, when microscopists had begun micro-anatomical studies, and the late nineteenth century, when physico-chemical biology flourished, first appeared in early Meiji era Japan.
The first professor of botany at the University of Tokyo was Yatabe Ryokichi(ξcΗg). He had learned botany from 1872 to 1876 at Cornell University in the U.S.A. His renowned book Nippon Shokubutsu Zukai(Yatabe) was an influential text of Japanese plant taxonomy, written in English and Japanese. It has gorgeous and highly detailed drawings of plants. These drawings came from naked-eye observation.
Yatabe also made an abridged translation(Yatabe[1883,
1]) of Asa Gray's Lessons in Botany, which was titled Shokubutsu
Tsukai. Gray's book naturally
contained descriptions on cell. In one such passage, Yatabe writes
that "plants mainly consist of cells. This structure is called
cellular tissue"(Yatabe[1883, 282]). The cell in this passage
is not the same as cell in terms of cell theory. He wrote as if
something but cell might possibly be part of plant. In the next
chapter, Yatabe writes:
The entire body of young plants consists
of cellular tissues, as I explained in the previous chapter. And
mosses and other lower plants consist of this type of tissue,
even if they have matured. If a tall plant were made up of only
cellular tissues, the plant body would not be so strong enough
to support itself. So such plant body is also composed of more
or less wood.(Yatabe[1883, 287]).
But the component of the wood is not always
distinguished from that of the cellular tissue. He also writes
that "wood also consists of cells"(Yatabe[1883, 287]).
Among all these variations in Yatabe's descriptions, there appears
to be ambiguity in the concept of cell. On the one hand, the cell
is just a component of cellular tissue, but on the other hand,
it is a component of whole plant body. For Yatabe, that plants
consist of cells is not a priori principle but a fact which is
recognized and repeatedly discovered through microscopic observation.
If you take up pieces of leaf, stem, and
root, slice them off and observe them with microscope, you will
see that there are common components among them(Yatabe[1883, 281]).
But because there is not many good microscopes in Japan at that time, very few in Japan were able to observe cells.
As well as Yatabe's textbook, other introductory writings on botany contained cell theory. For example, Saida Kotaro, who was one of the first graduates of the Department of Botany at the University of Tokyo, mentioned cell theory in his review articles(Saida[1888a], Saida[1888b]). Tanba Keizo and others wrote a Japanese botanical textbook(Tanba, Takahashi and Shibata) based on Moritz Seubert's. The new textbook contained some simple illustrations of cells.
But Makino TomitaroiqμxΎYj, one of the central figures of botany in the Japan of those days, disregarded cell theory. He started his botanical research as an amateur natural historian, and came to the University of Tokyo in 1884(Shibuya@Makino). He was very famous for taxonomic work on Japanese plants(Makino). He was one of the first Japanese botanists who contributed to the discovery of new species(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono). Many plants in Japan were not known to Europeans. So the first work which Japanese botanists in early Meiji era had to do was taxonomic one : describing, identifying and classifying Japanese plants and introducing them to the Western world. Makino and other taxonomists had little interest in whether a microscopic structure common to all plants might exist.
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)The first step in Japanese botanical science was the translation of European botanical science and the taxonomy of Japanese plants;
(2)We can see that descriptions of plant cells at that time look like statements of mere "fact", neither expressions of an epoch-making idea nor theory;
(3)The cell theory has secondary importance
in Japanese botany in the early Meiji era.
2.2 Matsumura Jinzo : The First Article on Cell Theory
Among Yatabe's students at the University of Tokyo was Matsumura Jinzo(ΌΊCO). Matsumura studied in Europe from 1886 to 1888 under Julius Sachs and Pfeffer, and met other famous European botanists(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono). We can imagine that he would know much about cell theory and cytology, but after returning to Japan, Matsumura himself mainly studied taxonomy(Shinoto[1932, 21], Nakai). He wrote one great taxonomic book Nippon Shokubutsu Meii(Matsumura) before studying abroad and the second taxonomic book Shokubutsu Bunka Ran'yo(Matsumura[1890e]) following his return. Neither of these refers to cells.
Matsumura wrote an English-Japanese dictionary of botany(Matsumura). It has the word of cell, but this entry "cell" has senses other than elementary organ. In other less-used cases, it can mean a sack or a hole.
But Matsumura was also the first Japanese biologist who took up cell theory as a subject of a scholarly article. In 1889, he wrote about cell theory in the journal Shokubutsu-gaku Zasshi (later called The Botanical Magazine in another English name), the first Japanese academic journal on botany. This article included the claim; "plants consist of cells. Everyone, who is learned, knows that. But few can explain the meaning of the cell" (Matsumura[1889, 412]). Matsumura's writing is the introduction of Western botany to his Japanese colleagues. In Western Europe, cell theory was unquestionably well-known to every researcher. On the other hand, there were different circumstances in Japan. There was not such Japanese cytological textbook comparable to those written by Schleiden, Hofmeister or Strasburger in Germany. Scientific research on living beings was just beginning. Cell theory had not been systematically described, or discussed as a subject in the Japan of those days.
But it is clear that few researchers make
it apparent what the cell really is. Indeed, there are very few.
There exist different views among natural historians who study
"What is a cell" is the question which the other earlier Japanese botanists had not asked, because cell "theory" had been regarded as an objective fact, not a subjective view. But Matsumura did not answer this difficult problem either. He wrote about the origin of the name "cell"(Matsumura), the growing point, intercellular substances(Matsumura[1890a]), intracellular substances(Matsumura[1890b]) and the cell organelle(Matsumura[1890c], [1890d]). His article was not very precisely detailed and did not contain any illustrations of cells. But it was the first Japanese report of ordinary knowledge of cells.
Matsumura wrote a botanical textbook for elementary school students and a introducing textbook for beginners. But in these textbooks, he did not mentioned cell theory. For example, elementary school textbook Shokubutsu Shogaku (Matsumura), written before he went abroad, has only organ-level descriptions and drawings. Kan'i Jikken Shokubutsu-gaku(Matsumura[1893a]) was a manual for botanical observation in the field. In this book Matsumura described observation with a magnifying glass, but not with microscope. It thus contains neither descriptions of cells nor illustrations of cells.
In 1893, Matsumura wrote new botany textbook(Matsumura[1893b]). He wrote this book following Sachs'. In the chapter of plant anatomy, he makes the following claims about cell theory:
Every plant, whatever species it is, consists of cell(s): the plant body has microscopic divisions, which have walls or membranes around them and contain protoplasm and other substances in them(Matsumura[1893b, 79]).
This passage interprets cell theory as fact. But elsewhere, he relies on a narrower meaning of cell. This cell concept is newer one, which is physiological rather than anatomical. But this view of cell is exceptional in Matsumura.
In narrower sense, cell is nothing but the one containing living protoplasm. Cell without protoplasm is, therefore, to be dead and it cannot grow, does not develop itself, does not divide into two cells and shows no chemical reaction" (Matsumura[1893b, 95]).
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)Matsumura sometimes assumed cell theory as a principle, and explained some cytological facts;
(2)In his account, the physiological part of cell theory appeared;
(3)However, Matsumura was just one of the
first botanists to introduce cell theory. His main research was
taxonomic and he did not conduct research himself at the cellular
2.3 Miyoshi Manabu : First Overview on Botany
Miyoshi Manabu(ODw) was another student of Yatabe. Before he turned thirty, he had already edited botanical textbook for high school students(Miyoshi), which Matsumura supervised. In this textbook, he included a chapter on the cell, cell-wall and cell-contents. According to this explanation:
Cells composing the plant body are so concentrated
that they constitute one whole which can not be easily separated.
This is called cellular tissue. But there are also separated and
floating cells(Miyoshi[1890, 14]).
Just as Yatabe did earlier(1883), Miyoshi supposed that the cells in cellular tissue are typical cells. In one sense, the cell is the component of such tissue. But, in another sense, the cell is "the atom of plant body"(Miyoshi[1890, 14]). He discussed the cell in terms of being "the elementary organ" of plants. "The materials which constitute plant body are called the elementary organs of plants. They are cells, vessels and tissues"(Miyoshi[1890, 12]).
Miyoshi showed that cells existed in various forms. For example, he wrote about the forms of cell, the layers of the cell wall, and the patterns on the cell wall(Miyoshi[1890, 30-34]). He further wrote about development of the cell, but cell division was discussed only briefly, and there was no reference to chromosomes(Miyoshi[1890, 19-21]). The anatomical point of view was important for him. He discussed three-elementary-organ theory in another book (Miyoshi).
Later the concept of the cell as the unit of all organisms clearly appears in Shokubutsu-gaku Kogi(Miyoshi[1899a]). This book was a general textbook of botany in Japan. It had been extremely popular during the Meiji era(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono), and was revised several times(Miyoshi[1904-5], Miyoshi). In the first edition of the book, he wrote that, "the cell is the unit of living world. Not only plants but animals as well consist of cells"(Miyoshi[1899a, 125]). Miyoshi wrote many and various books, one of which was a high school textbook in which he wrote that "every plant, in every part of it, consists of such aggregation of cells"(Miyoshi[1899b, 109-110]). Miyoshi also wrote books for non-specialists(Miyoshi[1902b], Miyoshi), the former of which includes statements such as "the cell is the smallest part with which plant body is constructed"(Miyoshi[1902b, 37]). In addition, Miyoshi wrote the manuals for field observation(Miyoshi[1899c]) and microscopic observation (Miyoshi[1902a]). The latter, Jikken Shokubutsu-gaku (Miyoshi[1902a]) has many drawings of cells. Some of them are taken from European textbooks. But others are Miyoshi's own. It also has a series of illustrations of nuclear division, which are taken from Strasburger's.
Miyoshi draws figures of the typical cell, all of which have nucleus, nucleolus, cell-wall and protoplasm(Miyoshi[1890, 15], Miyoshi[1891, 74], Miyoshi[1899b, 110], Miyoshi[1899d, 100]). The former two are the same, characterized by a large vacuole. The latter two are also the same, which is without vacuole. The appearance of "ideal" cell is critical for going beyond empirical cell concept and the idea of cell theory as mere "fact".
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)The concept of cell as a unit, or atom Miyoshi termed it, of the organism is established in Miyoshi;
(2)This demonstrate how cell theory has become a principle, beyond mere "fact";
(3)Miyoshi himself conducted investigations at the cellular level and wrote botany textbooks, in which anatomical part was based on cell theory;
(4)The cell is, first and foremost, considered
to be an "anatomical" unit.
2.4 Cytological Research in Japan
According to Miyoshi, cell theory was a biological principle but it was mainly an anatomical one. This theory thus appears unrelated to other biological theories. But as research on cell developed, cell theory became the basis of other fields of biology.
Prior to 1890, a few reports on cytological research existed. Ito Tokutaro[1888b], who studied in America and England, reported the research on protoplasm by Walter Gardiner, English botanist, in Shokubutsu-gaku Zasshi. But it was the report on English research, not research taking place in Japan. Ito's own research(Ito[1888a]) was microscopic one but had the flavor of natural history.
Japanese cytological research began with Ikeno Seiichiro(rμ¬κY)and Fujii Kenjiro(‘δY). Ikeno(1894) studied conjugation of Zygnema, one genus of Chlorophytina. Ikeno investigated cycad. He first published an article on cell formation of cycad(1896a). Fujii studied the formation of pollen tubes. Fujii and Miyake KiichiiOξικj had studied under Strasburger in Bonn. Tahara Masatoic΄³lj, Kuwada(or Kuwata) YoshinariiKc`υj and Sakamura ToruiβΊOj studied under Fujii(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono).
Tahara, Kuwada and Sakamura played central roll in the foundation of Japanese plant cytology(Yuasa). Ishikawa Mitsuharu(Ξμυt)(M.Ishikawa) and Tahara(Tahara)investigated the chromosome. Kuwada(Kuwada) investigated mitosis of the rice cell. Shibata KeitaiΔcjΎj, who was the founder of Japanese biochemistry, first did cytological studies(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono).
The cytological researchers wrote about cell formation, nucleus, chromosome and mitosis. These are the terms which can not make sense without cell theory. Each researcher investigated one species of plant. But they had more general perspectives on cell division, chromosome, mitosis and so on. Cell theory was tacit premise of their research.
Ikeno was aware of such condition and insisted that taxonomy owes its modernization to cytology. He wrote:
The form of plant varies, as I wrote before, according to the external conditions, in terms of adaptation to environment. So in investigating phylogeny of plants, we have to set importance on the function of plants, which goes deep inside, dose not get in touch with the external world directly and is little influenced by it. The reproduction of plants is, I presume, such function, goes deep inside the plant body and is independent of external world(Ikeno[1906, 128-129]).
Ikeno is well-known for his discovery of the sperm of cycas. The discoveries of how plants reproduce are derived from the study of germ cells.
Tahara wrote a textbook on plant cytology and histology(Tahara). He realized that cytology was the basis of whole biology. He wrote in the preface of his textbook that:
Cytology and histology are very important sciences both in botany and in zoology. They are not only very interesting in themselves, but they also forms the basis of other sciences, for example, physiology and taxonomy. So whoever studies biology first is in great need of learning the outline of cytology and histology"(Tahara[1914, i-ii]).
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)Cytological research started around 1900 in Japan;
(2)Cell theory was one of the tacit premises in such research;
(3)Cytology became one of the basis of all
3.1 The Beginning of Japanese Zoology and Cell Theory
@ Tanaka Yoshio also published books on subjects of zoology(Tanaka[1873-77], Tanaka) . These books have beautiful illustrations of animals with their names, but have nothing to do with cell theory.
The first professor of zoology in Japan was Edward Sylvester Morse, who taught at the University of Tokyo from 1877 to 1879. He was famous for his lecture on evolution theory, which was translated into Japanese and published in 1883(C.Ishikawa). On the other hand, his lecture and his textbook included little microscopic research(C.Ishikawa, Morse[1970-1971], Morse). He was of little help to his students' study on cellular level very muchiMorse[1970-71], Isonoj. Tanba Keizo and others wrote a Japanese zoological textbook(Tanba, Shibata, Takamatsu) based on some Western textbooks on zoology. But this new textbook did not contain any microscopic knowledge.
Some zoologists introduced cell theory of animals. Charles Otis Whitman was a successor of Morse, and taught from 1879 to 1881 at the University of Tokyo. He was an American, but studied at la Stazione Zoologica di Napoli and under K.G.F.R. Leuckart in Leipzig(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono, Watababe ). Whitman had up-to-date scientific knowledge, taught zoology, especially embryology, and instructed students on how to use microscope and microtome (Whitman, Iwakawa, C.Ishikawa, Watanabe).
Among Whitman's first-year students were Sasaki Chujiroi²XΨYj, Iwakawa TomotaroiβμFΎYj and Iijima IsaoiΡ@j. Five years after graduation, the former two cooperated to make zoology textbook(Iwakawa and Sasaki). They wrote the following about cell theory:
If a man makes a slice of plant or animal body and illuminates it under an appropriate microscope, you can see that it consists of a mass of many small bodies which are similar to each other. This mass is the element of organism and is called "cell"(Iwakawa and Sasaki[1885, 5]).
We can see that cell is regarded as a component and that cell theory is thought to be a form of knowledge which is empirically understood. Iwakawa also mentioned cell in his English-Japanese dictionary of biology(Iwakawa[1884, 43]).
Iijima wrote a large book on parasites(Iijima) and a small manual for animal observation(Iijima). The former is a book on natural history of parasites. The latter is a book which deals with structure and habit of some animals. Neither book had anything to do with cell theory.
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)The introduction of cell theory in zoology occurred later than that of botany;
(2)Cell theory is not always thought to be significant in Japanese zoology before 1890. Identification of species(and at most their phylogenic relation) was the most important thing;
(3)Empirical and anatomical cell theory barely
3.2 Cell Theory and Zoology after around 1890
The first Japanese professor of zoology at the University of Tokyo was Mitsukuri Kakichi(₯μΐg), who wrote a popular introductory book on zoology(Mitsukuri), in 1895(Yatsu). Mitsukuri intended to make zoology widely known(Mitsukuri[1895, 3]). He discussed not only animal taxonomy but also much of anatomy, development, reproduction and distribution of animals(Mitsukuri). Regarding the definition of the cell, in this book he wrote, "the technical term for the mass of protoplasm with a nucleus is a 'cell'"(Mitsukuri[1895, 203]). He regarded the cell as the mass of protoplasm more than the unit of organism. It is true that the membrane of animal cell is not as distinct as that of plant, but his view of protoplasm as living matter should be remarked. Compared to botany, the role of the cell membrane was underestimated in zoology.
Mitsukuri further claims that, "the human body consists of innumerable cells"(Mitsukuri[1895, 203]). He attempted to demonstrate this with many examples, including microscopic drawings of cells from the inside of the cheek and dandruff flakes. Cell theory is showed to be inductively justified, and to be regarded at most as mere "fact", not as a principle.
Iwakawa wrote zoology textbook(Iwakawa). It was a taxonomic book, but contained the following description of the cell: "protoplasm forms a small mass of definite form, when it constitutes organism. This mass is called cell.₯₯₯₯₯₯Cell is the unit of the organism"(Iwakawa[1891, 5]).
As well as Mitsukuri, Iijima is said to have been a leader of Japanese zoology in Meiji era(Ueno). He learned in Leipzig under Leuckart, who also taught Whitman. The opening chapter of his textbook(Iijima) is titled "The Concept of the Animal", the chapter of general remarks on animals. The cell theory appears in this chapter: "all the bodies of every animal and plant consist of what we call cells. The cell can be said to be the unit of organic structure"(Iijima[1891, 3]). In one of the revised editions of this textbook, the same phrase exists(Iijima[1906, 3]). But the illustrations are very different. In the old version, there is only one simple illustration(Iijima[1891, 3]). But the revised version has three microscopic illustrations of cells: an egg of sea urchin, a cell of epithelium of newt and two species of nerve cell(Iijima[1906, 3]). Iijima mentioned cell theory repeatedly but not in detail. As early as in 1889, Iijima wrote about cell theory in his high school textbook as following: "protoplasm becomes a small mass of definite form, as it constitutes organism. This is called cell"(Iijima[1889, 5]).
From around 1890, Japanese zoological research in relation to cell accumulated, and cell theory began to be directly applied to particular researches. Former taxonomic research had little relation to cell theory.
Dobutsu-gaku Zasshi, which was the first Japanese academic zoological journal, was first published in 1888. In the journal' first volume, Iijima reported on the embryology of chickens(Iijima[1888b]). The illustration in his article shows cell division. But his article is not cytological but embryological.
Embryology was the only one of the fields of Japanese zoology that cell theory was related to in Meiji era. Kenkichi Nagahama(1892) wrote the article "Hassei-gaku Ryaku-shi(Short History of Embryology)" in Dobutsu-gaku Zasshi. He put a great deal of emphasis on cell theory in embryology, writing that, "in 1839, botanist Schleiden and zoologist Schwann discovered at the same time that all organisms consist of cells"(Nagahama[1892, 16]). Nagahama further wrote that," the two years of 1838 and 1839 are remarkable from the view point of embryology. Schleiden and Schwann first made clear that every organism, whether an adult or an embryo, is composed of basic elementary organs named cell. The discoveries made by both researchers were quickly known to other researchers"(Nagahama[1892, 18]).
It was widely diffused knowledge that every organism, including animals and plants, consists of cell(s). But it was mere knowledge. It had little relation to how most research was actually conducted. But some researchers studied on the cellular level, and especially embryologists studied ways of cell divisions(Iijima[1888b]).
Ishikawa Chiyomatsu(ΞμηγΌ), as well as Iijima, underlined cell theory in zoology. C.Ishikawa was Morse's student, studied under August Weismann and made an effort to propagate evolution theory. He was famous as an editor of Morse's Lecture and the author of Shinka Shin-ron(New Evolution Theory). But we can also find writings which underlined cell theory in C.Ishikawa's work as following:
We know that the lowest organism, whether
it is an animal or a plant, is no more than one cell and that
higher organism is made from clustering cells. The cell is, therefore,
the center of biological research and naturally has something
to do with botany and zoology. The cellular research is indispensable
for medicine as well(C.Ishikawa et al.[1894, 1]).
He also discussed the structure of cell and the division of the cell in detail(C.Ishikawa, C.Ishikawa et al.). The cell is regarded as a key concept of life sciences. It is the subject of the first part of the zoological textbook of C.Ishikawa(C.Ishikawa, C.Ishikawa et al.). But Ishikawa himself conducted little research on cellular level(Kihara, Shinoto and Isono).
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)In 1890s, Japanese zoologists, especially Iijima Isao and Ishikawa Chiyomatsu, understood the importance of cell theory;
(2)They regarded cell theory as their basic principle;
(3)The typical cell in zoology was egg cell whereas the one in botany was the cell in cellular tissue, and the animal cell was regarded as a mass of protoplasm;
(4)But there were little cytological researches
within 19th century.
3.3 Yatsu and Introduction of Cytology
In 19th century, Japanese zoology was in the stage of observational research. The tools for observation progressed in the nineteenth century, and the microscopic observation of animals, especially of their development, appeared also in Japan.
Japanese embryologist Yatsu NaohideiJΓΌGjcame back from America in 1907. Five years after that, he began to write a series of articles on the cell called "Saibo-gaku Kowa(Lecture on Cytology)" in Dobutsu-gaku Zasshi. They were epoch-making articles in the history of Japanese zoology. He intended to establish cytology in Japan and discussed a rough outline of his idea. Yatsu introduced experimental research to Japan(Isono). He wrote:
Cytology is, not to speak, the science of the cell. But it is a mistake to regard it as a morphological science such as anatomy or histology. Cytology has a broad meaning. It means research on physiology, development, inheritance, the problem of sex, in short, many things which have relation to the cell(Yatsu[1912, 14]).
Clearly he regarded studies on cell as the basis of biological sciences. He discussed many things relating to cell. His cell is not only anatomical but also physiological.
He wrote the history of the idea of cell and cell theory as "the history of cytology"(Yatsu[1912a, 15-16]). He stated not only form of the cell(Yatsu[1912b]) but also internal structure of the cell(Yatsu[1912c], Yatsu[1912d]). He discussed cell division and mitosis(Yatsu[1912e], Yatsu[1912f], Yatsu[1912g], Yatsu[1912h]). Then he moved from cell in general to germ cell. He discussed egg(Yatsu[1912i]) and sperm(Yatsu[1913a], Yatsu[1913b]), in their variety and development. Furthermore, he wrote about anomaly of the cell(Yatsu[1913c]) and about fertilization(Yatsu[1913d]). Similarly he discussed reproduction from the viewpoint of cytology(Yatsu[1913e]).
The cell Yatsu discussed is not a cell of one species but a cell in general. He draw an illustration of cell "model"(Yatsu[1912b, 21]). It was not said but presupposed that all animals consist of cell(s).
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)Zoological cytology was just beginning at the end of Meiji era;
(2)The leader of zoological cytology in Japan
was Yatsu Naohide. He had the view of cell theory as a tacit premise.
Biological theory has had close relation to social theory. Cell theory is not exceptional. But I can not discuss all of social theories related to cell theory. I deal with only some writings of representative biologists.
Evolution theory was often applied to man and its society. So-called social Darwinism appeared also in Meiji era Japan. It brought the idea of social competition or cooperation. Cell theory was also applied to human society. It proposed the analogy between society and organism, and compared the members of the society to the cells.
Matsumura did not stated such analogy. But he stated two views, which reflected the view of "life". One view is that cell is an independent organism. The other view is that each cell is a component of organism. He did not adjudicate which is the right view(Matsumura[1889, 412]), but preferred the latter view(Matsumura[1890b, 43-44]).
Iwakawa and Sasaki discussed the differentiation and wrote as following: "it is called the physiological division of labor. The difference between higher animals and lower ones is due to the extent to which this division advances"(Iwakawa and Sasaki[1885, 8-9]).
The central figures in popularizing biology in Meiji Era were Ishikawa Chiyomatsu and Oka AsajiroiuσYj. Oka stated little on cell theory(Oka, Oka, Oka). When mentioned, he did from the viewpoint of evolution theory(Oka[1906, 149-152]). On the other hand, C.Ishikawa wrote about cell theory.
In 1903, he wrote an essay, in which he argued that the "human body is not only organic body comparable to human society but also a society in which the division of labor advanced very much. Each cell which constitutes this society plays one part required of it"(C.Ishikawa[1935, 134]).
Common to all of these three views is that cell is the part depending on the whole. The cell could be regarded as "individual" which has some independence. But this view is rejected by Matsumura. From the viewpoint of the division of labor, this view is not be maintained. The priority of the whole to the part can easily be applied to totalitarian social theory. But these biologically based views of society did not always spread. Popularizer such as C.Ishikawa took up these arguments, but specialists such as Yatsu remained silent.
In this section, we can conclude the following:
(1)People in a society was compared to cells in an organism by a few biologists.
(2)They put importance on cell's dependence rather than its autonomy.
The concept of the cell was first introduced to Japan before the Meiji era. But Japanese researchers in the biological sciences apprehended cell theory for the first time in the early Meiji era. The cell "theory" in early Meiji era Japan was more properly something apprehended as mere "fact" or "microscopic fact". In the early Meiji era, some introductory books on zoology or botany were published. But many of them centered taxonomy and stated no microscopic observation, much less cell theory. Others referred to cell theory but not in detail. Cell theory was not regarded as important for biological sciences. The vestige of the concept of cell as the component of cellular tissue remained. Cell "theory" was seen to be simply a fact with no more broader implications. In the early Meiji Era, Japanese biology was in the stage of taxonomic work and the first genuine introduction of Western biological sciences.
After around 1890, more detail introduction of cell theory appeared. In botany, Matsumura first wrote short introductory articles. Matsumura did not always mentioned cell theory in his many botanical books, but he regarded the cell as anatomical unit and cell theory as principle beyond mere fact. Following Matsumura, Miyoshi called cell "atom" of organism, wrote many textbooks and popular botanical books, introduce cell theory and cytological knowledge. But his research is not always cytological. Cytological research in Japanese botany started around 1900 by Ikeno, Fujii, Tahara, Kuwada, Sakamura. With their investigations, cytological knowledge about cell division, chromosome, mitosis and fertilization had accumulated. For them, cell theory was tacit premise and each biological fields were based on cytological research.
The introduction of cell theory in zoology occurred later than that of botany. Before 1890, cell theory is not always thought to be significant in Japanese zoology as in Japanese botany. After around 1890, embryologists took paid attention to cell theory. In zoology, cell was grasped as a mass of protoplasm. The microscopic research in zoology was introduced by Whitman. In 1890s, his student Iijima and C.Ishikawa repeatedly discussed cell theory. They regarded cell theory as important principle for zoology. In those days, cell theory was physiological rather than anatomical. But it was after Yatsu wrote outlines of cytology in Dobutsu-gaku Zasshi that zoologists were engaged in cytological research.
Cell concept and cell theory were applied
to social theory. People in a society was compared to cells in
an organism by a few biologists. They put importance on cell's
dependence rather than its autonomy.
I express my deepest thanks to Anne Mcknight,
Hirono Yoshiyuki, Matsubara Yoko, Moriwaki Yasuko, Okabe Kaname,
Saito Hikaru, Sato Keiko, Shibuya Akira, and Shinoda Mariko.
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