Portrait of Jokichi Takamine (1854-1922). The son of a doctor, Takamine graduated from the College of Science and Engineering of the Imperial University of Tokyo in 1879 and, with support from the Japanese government, undertook graduate studies at the University of Glasgow and Anderson College in Scotland. After returning to Japan in 1883, Takamine joined the chemistry division at the newly-created Imperial Department of Agriculture and Commerce. In 1887, he left government service and founded the Tokyo Artificial Fertilizer Company, where he later isolated a starch-digesting enzyme he named Takadiastase.
In 1890, Takamine was invited to come to the United States to develop a practical application of Takadiastase for the distilling industry. Takamine established a research laboratory in Clifton, New Jersey, where in 1901 he isolated and purified the hormone adrenaline (now called epinephrine) from animal glands, the first pure hormone to be isolated from natural sources. While living in the United States for the rest of his life, Takamine maintained close ties with Japan, aiding in the country's development of industrial dyes, nitrogen fixation, and the manufacture of Bakelite.
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