Hey Everyone! I wasn’t planning on posting today but when I saw today google doodle this morning and found it it was dedicated to Michiyo Tsujimura and her work with tea to celebrate what would have been her 133rd birthday I had to write a post all about it, to help people out there learn more about the work she did with tea which in turn helped us all learn so much more in depth information about green tea.
As I said today would have been Michiyo Tsujimura’s 133rd Birthday so to celebrate her let’s have a little look into the word that she did shall we? So have you ever wondered why green tea tastes so bitter when steeped for too long? Thanks to Japanese educator and biochemist Michiyo Tsujimura, and her groundbreaking research into the nutritional benefits of green tea, science has the answers. Michiyo Tsujimura was born on this day in 1888 in Okegawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. She spent her early career teaching science. In 1920, she chased her dream of becoming a scientific researcher at Hokkaido Imperial University where she began to analyze the nutritional properties of Japanese silkworms. A few years later, Tsujimura transferred to Tokyo Imperial University and began researching the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, famed for his discovery of vitamin B1. Their joint research revealed that green tea contained significant amounts of vitamin C—the first of many yet unknown molecular compounds in green tea that awaited under the microscope.
In 1929, she isolated the flavonoid catechin from green tea. Then she extracted tannin in crystal form from green tea in 1930. These findings formed the foundation for her doctoral thesis, “On the Chemical Components of Green Tea” when she graduated as Japan’s first woman doctor of agriculture in 1932. Outside of her research, Dr. Tsujimura also made history as an educator when she became the first Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School in 1950. Today, a stone memorial in honor of Dr. Tsujimura’s achievements can be found in her birthplace of Tokugawa City.
She went on to isolate gallocatechin from green tea in 1934 and registered a patent on her method of extracting vitamin C crystals from plants in 1935. She was promoted to the role of junior researcher at RIKEN in 1942 and then researcher in 1947 before becoming a professor at Ochanomizu University when it was established in 1949. She was a professor at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School from 1950 and was the school’s first dean of the Faculty of Home Economics. She was awarded the Japan Prize of Agricultural Science in 1956 for her research on green tea and was conferred the Order of the Precious Crown of the Fourth Class in 1968. She died in Toyohashi on 1 June 1969 at the age of 80.
I think we call agree that we are incredibly thankful for the groundbreaking work that she did and I think if she could see how just how many people across the world are passionate about learning more in depth about tea she would be incredibly proud. I’m glad google chose to highlight her and help more people find their way to true teas. I love especially that this might inspire people to learn more about Japanese teas and will give Japanese tea farmers and producers the attention that they really are in need of right now and give their export numbers a bit of boost.