The visit of Hirohito, marine biologist and Emperor of Japan, to the MBL in 1975 was a momentous event, as described here. Hirohito was greeted by MBL scientist and microscopist Shinya Inoué, one in a legacy of distinguished Japanese scientists affiliated with the MBL.
By Sabrina Gaber
I do not know what Emperors do when they are in office. I suppose they do Emperor things. I do not know how youngsters born to be Gods and Emperors at the same time are educated. I suppose they are trained on divine Emperor duties. His Majesty the Showa Emperor of Japan, Hirohito (1901-1989), was one such case, and history has already judged him in length in relation to his role during World War II. Here we want to present him as a true marine biologist, in spirit and in practice, one that would have enjoyed exclusive dedication to science. Do not forget that he became a Fellow of the British Royal Society in 1971.
Young Hirohito has been described as a shy introvert who quickly found comfort in nature in the company of his school biology teacher, Hirotaro Hattori, the man who introduced the crown prince to the pleasures and wonders of microscopic observation. Hirohito soon initiated the study of shell collections, starting his own. They both learned early on that the only way to study nature in solitude, with the necessary security conditions for a man of his stature, was to focus on marine biology sampling at sea. Read more …
Photo: Hirohito in his Biological Laboratory at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo in 1926 and 2 years before his enthronement, with his favourite tool, the microscope. Credit: EMBRC