On the occasion of her 133rd birth anniversary, Michiyo Tsujimura, the pioneering Japanese biochemist renowned for her comprehensive study of green tea, was honored with a Google Doodle on Friday. The Doodle for September 17 commemorates her groundbreaking research on the nutritional advantages of green tea. As Japan’s first female doctor of agriculture, the scholar and educator has been recognized for her significant contributions to the field. The Google Doodle depicts Michiyo Tsujimura analyzing and isolating the chemical constituents of green tea, commemorating her 133rd birthday.

Tsujimura’s research identified the catechin and tannin components of green tea, which contribute to its bitter taste. If you are a fan of green tea, both for its taste and nutritional benefits, you may be interested in learning more about Michiyo Tsujimura.

Who is Michiyo Tsujimura

Michiyo Tsujimura was a Japanese biochemist and educator known for her groundbreaking research on green tea and its nutritional benefits. She was born on September 17, 1889, in the city of Okegawa in the Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

According to the digital archives of Ochanomizu University, where Tsujimura served as a professor, her research on green tea enabled her to identify various components, including vitamin C, which played a significant role in boosting the export of green tea from Japan to North America.

The U.S. Library of Congress highlights that green tea was one of the fastest-growing exports to the United States at one point.

Michiyo Tsujimura Early Life & Education

Tsujimura completed her education at Tokyo Prefecture Women’s Normal School in 1909 and later enrolled in the Division of Biochemical Science at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School where she was taught by Kono Yasui, a biologist who sparked her interest in scientific research. After graduating in 1913, she started working as a teacher at Yokohama High School for Women in Kanagawa Prefecture. She returned to Saitama Prefecture in 1917 to teach at Saitama Women’s Normal School.

Michiyo Tsujimura Career & Research

According to the digital archives of Ochanomizu University, Tsujimura began her career as an assistant teacher at Jinjo Higher Elementary School. She later studied under Kono Yasui at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School, which sparked her interest in scientific research. After teaching for seven years in the Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, she transitioned to a career in research.

Tsujimura employed as an unpaid laboratory assistant at Hokkaido Imperial University in 1920. During this time, her research focused on exploring the nutritional benefits of silkworms.

In 1922, Tsujimura moved to Tokyo Imperial University, but her laboratory was destroyed during the catastrophic earthquake that struck in 1923. Following her recovery, she relocated to a different laboratory to work under Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, an agriculture doctor who made significant contributions to the discovery of vitamin B1.

While conducting research in this lab, Michiyo Tsujimura and her colleague Seitaro Miura discovered that green tea was a natural source of vitamin C. This discovery led to an increase in the export of green tea to North America.

As per the digital archives of Ochanomizu University, Tsujimura’s pioneering research efforts led to her successful isolation and extraction of catechin, a bitter component of green tea, in 1929, making her the first person in the world to do so. The following year, she determined the chemical structure of tannin and was able to extract it in crystal form.

In 1932, she published her doctoral thesis titled “On the Chemical Components of Green Tea,” which included these discoveries and more, earning her the distinction of becoming Japan’s first female doctor of agriculture. Tsujimura also received a patent in 1935 for her method of extracting crystallized Vitamin C from plants.

After her research career, In 1949, Tsujimura became a professor at Ochanomizu University and also served as the first dean of its Faculty of Home Economics. Despite her groundbreaking research, Tsujimura remained passionate about education and continued to work in the field for several years, including at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo.

Throughout her career, Michiyo Tsujimura conducted extensive research on green tea, examining its chemical composition and potential health benefits. She analyzed the nutritional properties of green tea and discovered that it contained a high level of antioxidants, which could help prevent various diseases and illnesses.

Her research on green tea was considered groundbreaking and paved the way for further studies on the beverage. Michiyo Tsujimura’s work on green tea was particularly important as it highlighted the role that traditional foods and drinks could play in promoting health and preventing diseases.

Michiyo Tsujimura Awards & Achievements

Michiyo showed a keen interest in science and pursued her education in the field, becoming Japan’s first woman doctor of agriculture. Michiyo appointed as the first dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School.

Michiyo Tsujimura’s contributions to the field of biochemistry and agriculture were recognized and celebrated throughout her life. She received numerous honors and awards, including the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon in 1954, awarded with Japan Prize of Agricultural Science in 1956 for her research into green teaand the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class in 1962.

Legacy of Michiyo Tsujimura

After retiring from her position as a professor at Ochanomizu University in 1955, Tsujimura continued to lecture part-time until 1961. She then became a professor at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo, serving in that role from 1955 to 1963 when she was appointed professor emeritus.

Michiyo Tsujimura passed away on March 12, 1969, leaving behind a legacy of scientific research and advocacy for the importance of traditional foods and drinks. Her pioneering work on green tea continues to be an inspiration for researchers in the field and has helped to promote the consumption of this healthy beverage around the world.

In present times, a stone memorial commemorating Dr. Tsujimura’s accomplishments can be observed in Okegawa City, her birthplace.


Who is Michiyo Tsujimura?

Michiyo Tsujimura (1899-1986) was a Japanese agricultural scientist and the first woman in Japan to earn a doctorate in agricultural science. She is known for her pioneering work in the study of green tea and the discovery of its chemical composition.

What did Michiyo Tsujimura discover about green tea?

Tsujimura discovered that green tea contains vitamin C, catechin, and tannin. She also successfully extracted crystallized Vitamin C from plants, which was a significant contribution to the field of agriculture.

Where did Michiyo Tsujimura lives?

Michiyo Tsujimura was born on September 17, 1888, in Saitama prefecture, which is located on Honshu, the biggest island of Japan where Tokyo is situated.

What are some of Michiyo Tsujimura’s accomplishments?

In addition to her work on green tea, Tsujimura was also the first woman to earn a doctorate in agricultural science in Japan. She later became the first dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School and was awarded the Japan Prize of Agricultural Science in 1956.

Where did Michiyo Tsujimura work?

Tsujimura worked at several universities in Japan, including Hokkaido Imperial University, Tokyo Imperial University, Ochanomizu University, and Jissen Women’s University. She also worked as a teacher at several schools for women before starting her research career.

What is Michiyo Tsujimura’s legacy?

Tsujimura’s pioneering work in the study of green tea and her contributions to agricultural science have had a lasting impact. Her discovery of the nutritional value of green tea helped to increase its export from Japan to North America. She also paved the way for other women in science and agriculture, inspiring future generations of female scientists in Japan and beyond.

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