Tomitaro Makino

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Tomitaro Makino

Tomitaro Makino(牧野 富太郎,Makino Tomitarō, April 24, 1862 January 18, 1957) was a pioneer Japanese botanist noted for his taxonomic work. He has been called "Father of Japanese Botany". [1] He was one of the first Japanese botanists to work extensively on classifying Japanese plants using the system developed by Linnaeus. His research resulted in documenting 50,000 specimens, many of which are represented in his Makino's Illustrated Flora of Japan. Despite having dropped out of grammar school, he would eventually attain a Doctor of Science degree, and his birthday is remembered as Botany Day in Japan.

Carl Linnaeus Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist

Carl Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus.

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Doctor of Science, usually abbreviated Sc.D., D.Sc., S.D., or D.S., is an academic research degree awarded in a number of countries throughout the world. In some countries, "Doctor of Science" is the title used for the standard doctorate in the sciences; elsewhere the Sc.D. is a "higher doctorate" awarded in recognition of a substantial and sustained contribution to scientific knowledge beyond that required for a PhD. It may also be awarded as an honorary degree.


Early life

Tomitaro Makino was born in Sakawa, Kōchi to a prestigious sake brewer. His parents died during his early childhood, and he was raised mainly by his grandmother. Though he dropped out of school after two years, he cultivated a strong interest in English, geography, and especially in botany. In 1880, he became a teacher at the primary school in his hometown, where he published his first academic botanical paper.

Sakawa, Kōchi Town in Shikoku, Japan

Sakawa is a town located in Takaoka District, Kōchi Prefecture, Japan. It is 28 km west of Kōchi City.

Kōchi Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Kōchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the south coast of Shikoku. The capital is the city of Kōchi.

Primary education first stage of compulsory education

Primary education also called an elementary education is typically the first stage of formal education, coming after preschool and before secondary education. Primary education usually takes place in a primary school or elementary school. In some countries, primary education is followed by ecosystem, an educational stage which exists in some countries, and takes place between primary school and high school college. Primary Education in Australia consists of grades foundation to grade 6. In the United States, primary education is Grades 1 - 3 and elementary education usually consists of grades 1-6.

In 1884, he moved to Tokyo to pursue his botanical interests at the University of Tokyo where he worked with Ryōkichi Yatabe. He married in 1890 and would later have 13 children.

Tokyo Metropolis in Kantō

Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2014, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was formerly named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603. It became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.

University of Tokyo national research university in Tokyo, Japan

The University of Tokyo, abbreviated as Todai or UTokyo, is a public research university located in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1877 as the first imperial university, it is one of Japan's most prestigious universities.

Ryōkichi Yatabe Japanese botanist and poet

Ryōkichi Yatabe was a Japanese botanist during the Meiji era. The standard author abbreviation Yatabe is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.


In 1887, Makino started to publish an academic journal of botany.

Academic journal peer-reviewed periodical relating to a particular academic discipline

An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research. They are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. The purpose of an academic journal, according to Henry Oldenburg, is to give researchers a venue to "impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences."

In 1936, he published Makino Book of Botany, a six volume text on botany, in which he describes 6000 species, 1000 of which he discovered. He is best known for his Makino's Illustrated Flora of Japan, published 1940, which is still used as an encyclopedic text today.

In 1948, he was invited to the Imperial Palace to lecture on botany for Emperor Hirohito.


In total, Makino named over 2500 plants, including 1000 new species and 1500 new varieties. In addition, he discovered about 600 new species.

In biology, a species ( ) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.

After his death in 1957, his collection of approximately 400,000 specimens was donated to Tokyo Metropolitan University. The Makino Herbarium in Tokyo and the Makino Botanical Garden on Mount Godai in his native Kōchi were named in his honor. He was also named an Honorary Citizen of Tokyo.

Selected works

In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Makino, OCLC/WorldCat includes roughly 270+ works in 430+ publications in 4 languages and 1,060+ library holdings. [2]

The standard author abbreviation Makino is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [3]

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