History Wiki
History Wiki

This is a list of Japanese inventions and discoveries. The Japanese contributed to a number of fields. In particular, the country has played a crucial role in the digital revolution since the 20th century, with many revolutionary and widespread technologies in fields such as electronics and robotics introduced by Japanese companies and entrepreneurs. Japanese popular culture, strongly shaped by its electronic technologies, also has considerable global influence.


File:Nagoya Castle(Edit2).jpg

Nagoya Castle

See also: Japanese architecture
Japanese castle
Fortresses constructed primarily out of stone and wood used for military defence in strategic locations.[1]
A post-war Japanese architectural movement developed by a wide variety of Japanese architects including Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa and Fumihiko Maki, Metabolism aimed to fuse ideas about architectural megastructures with those of organic biological growth.[2]
Tahōtō is a form of Japanese pagoda found primarily at Esoteric Shingon and Tendai school Buddhist temples. Unlike most pagodas, it has two stories.[3]


Comic book
Kibyoshi picture books from the late 18th century may have been the world's first comic books.[4] These graphical narratives share with modern manga humorous, satirical and romantic themes.[4]
Picture scrolls that were a horizontal, illustrated narrative form produced in Japan from the end of the Nara period (8th century) through to the end of the medieval era (12th-16th centuries).[5]
File:Ogon Batto Kamishibai.jpg

The superhero Ōgon Bat from a kamishibai (1930)

A form of paper theater, combining street theatre, storytelling, and artwork. It was popular in Japan during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It has roots in Japan's etoki ("pictorial storytelling") art history, which can be traced back to 12th century emaki scrolls, such as the Choju giga ("Frolicking Critters") attributed to the priest Toba Sōjō (1053–1140).[6]
File:Manga Hokusai.jpg

Hokusai Manga (early 19th century)

Manga, comics, cartoon
Japanese comics and cartooning, known as manga, have a history dating back to the 12th-to-13th-century Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, 17th-century toba-e and kibyōshi picture books,[7] and woodblock prints such as ukiyo-e which were popular between the 17th and 20th centuries. The kibyōshi contained examples of sequential images, movement lines,[8] and sound effects.[9] Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, a set of four picture scrolls produced in the 12th and 13th centuries, has been credited as the first manga.[10] The ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, who created the Hokusai Manga, popularized the Japanese term for comics and cartooning, manga, in the early 19th century.[9][11][12]
Manga eyes
The roots of the wide-eyed look commonly associated with manga dates back to early shōjo magazine illustrations in the early 20th century. The most important illustrators associated with this style at the time were Yumeji Takehisa and particularly Jun'ichi Nakahara, who frequently drew female characters with big eyes in the early 20th century. This influenced early shōjo manga, evident in the work of manga artists such as Makoto Takahashi and Riyoko Ikeda.[13]
Shōjo manga
Japanese magazines specifically for girls, known as shōjo magazines, first appeared in 1903 with the founding of Shōjo Kai and continued with others such as Shōjo Sekai (1906) and Shōjo no Tomo (1908).[14][15] Manga began to appear in these magazines by 1910, and by the 1930s had become an essential feature of most girls' magazines. The most popular early shōjo manga, Katsuji Matsumoto's Kurukuru Kurumi-chan, debuted on the pages of Shōjo no Tomo in 1938.[16]
Superhero secret identity
The Prince of Gamma, a kamishibai character from the early 1930s, was the first superhero with an alter ego, predating Superman (debuted 1938). An interstellar prince orphaned on Earth, the Prince of Gamma had an alter-ego of a poor street urchin in Tokyo, but when danger called, he transformed into a superhero with a blue suit and yellow cape.[17][18]
Superpowered costumed superhero
Ōgon Bat, a Japanese superhero created by Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931 for kamishibai paper theater,[18] was the first costumed superhero with superpowers,[17][18] predating Superman (debuted 1938) and Batman (debuted 1939).[18]


File:Genji emaki 01003 002.jpg

Written text from the earliest illustrated handscroll (12th century) of The Tale of Genji

See also: Japanese literature and Japanese science fiction
Flying saucer
A manuscript illustration of the 10th-century Japanese narrative, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, depicts a round flying machine similar to a flying saucer.[19]
The Tale of Genji, written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century, is regarded as the first novel in general.[20]
Psychological novel
The Tale of Genji, written in 11th-century Japan, has often been considered the first psychological novel.[21]
File:Taketori Monogatari 2.jpg

Kaguya-hime returning to the Moon in The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (10th century)

Science fiction
Some classical Japanese literature contain elements of proto-science fiction. The Japanese tale of Urashima Tarō involves traveling forwards in time to a distant future,[22] and was first described in the Nihongi (720).[23] The 10th-century Japanese narrative, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, is also considered proto-science fiction.[19]
Time travel
The 8th-century tale of Urashima Tarō has been identified as the earliest example of a story involving time travel.[22]


See also: Japanese pottery and porcelain
Imari porcelain
Imari porcelain or Arita-yaki is a type of Japanese porcelain made in the town of Arita. It was widely exported from the port of Imari, Saga to Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.[24]

Incipient Jomon rope pottery (10,000–8000 BC)

Jōmon pottery
The Template:Nihongo is a type of ancient pottery which was made during the Jōmon period in Japan. The term "Jōmon" (縄文) means "rope-patterned" in Japanese, describing the patterns that are pressed into the clay. The pottery vessels crafted in Ancient Japan during the Jōmon period are generally accepted to be the oldest pottery in Japan. Bits of pottery discovered in a cave in the northwest coast of modern-day Kyushu date back to as far as 12,700 BCE in radiometric dating tests.[25] It is believed by many that Jōmon pottery was probably made even earlier than this date. However, due to ambiguity and multiple sources claiming different dates based on different dating techniques, it is difficult to say for sure how far back Jōmon Pottery was made. Some sources claim archaeological discoveries as far back as the 14th millennium BCE.[26]

Film and animation[]

See also: Cinema of Japan and Anime
3D computer graphics software
The earliest known example of 3D computer graphics software for personal computers is 3D Art Graphics, a set of 3D computer graphics effects, written by Kazumasa Mitazawa and released in June 1978 for the Apple II home computer.[27][28]
File:Pokémon episode 1 screenshot.png

Scene from the first episode of Pokémon, one of the most well-known anime.

Japanese animation, or anime, today widely popular among both children and adults across the world, began in the early 20th century.
Man with No Name
A stock character that originated with Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), where the archetype was first portrayed by Toshirō Mifune. The archetype was adapted by Sergio Leone for his Spaghetti Western Dollars Trilogy (1964-1966), with Clint Eastwood playing the role of the "Man with No Name". It is now a common archetype in Samurai films and Western films as well as other genres.[29]
File:Metal Gear REX illustration, by Yoshiyuki Takani.jpg

The mecha genre features combat scenes involving giant robots. Pictured: mass-produced versions of Metal Gear REX on a conventional battlefield.

Mecha and Super Robot
The mecha genre of science fiction was founded in Japan. The first depiction of mecha Super Robots being piloted by a user from within a cockpit was introduced in the manga and anime series Mazinger Z by Go Nagai in 1972.[30]
Postcyberpunk animation/film
The first postcyberpunk media work in an animated/film format was Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex in 2002. It has been called "the most interesting, sustained postcyberpunk media work in existence."[31]
Real robot
Real robot is a genre of anime.[32][33][34] Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) is largely considered the first series to introduce the real-robot idea and, along with The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982), would form the basis of what people would later call real-robot anime.[35]
Real-time 3D ray tracing
The first implementation of a real-time 3D ray-tracer was the LINKS-1 Computer Graphics System, built in 1982 at Osaka University's School of Engineering, by professors Ohmura Kouichi, Shirakawa Isao and Kawata Toru with 50 students. It was a massively parallel processing computer system with 514 microprocessors, used for rendering realistic 3D computer graphics with high-speed ray tracing. According to the Information Processing Society of Japan: "By developing a new software methodology specifically for high-speed image rendering, LINKS-1 was able to rapidly render highly realistic images." It was "used to create the world's first 3D planetarium-like video of the entire heavens that was made completely with computer graphics. The video was presented at the Fujitsu pavilion at the 1985 International Exposition in Tsukuba."[36]
Steampunk animation
The earliest examples of steampunk animation are Hayao Miyazaki's anime works Future Boy Conan (1978),[37] Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)[38] and Castle in the Sky (1986).[39][40]
A postmodern art form, founded by the artist Takashi Murakami, which is influenced by manga and anime.[41]


Futures contract
The first futures exchange market was the Dōjima Rice Exchange in Japan in the 1730s.[42]



Drifting competition
In 1988, Keiichi Tsuchiya alongside Option magazine founder and chief editor Daijiro Inada organised the first contest specifically for sliding a car sideway. In 1996, Option organized the first contest outside Japan[43] which began to spread to other countries.
Radio-controlled touring car
In 1991, Tamiya mounted a 1/10 scale Nissan Skyline GT-R (a Group A racer) body to a modified off-road buggy chassis[44] which was credited for the resurgence of the R/C car market in the mid-1990s[45][46]

Video games[]

Action role-playing game (action RPG)
Japanese developers created the action RPG subgenre in the early 1980s, combining RPG elements with arcade-style action and action-adventure elements.[47][48] In 1983, Nihon Falcom released Panorama Toh, coming close to the action RPG formula that they later became known for.[49] The trend of combining RPG elements with arcade-style action mechanics was popularized by The Tower of Druaga,[48] an arcade game released by Namco in 1984.[50] Its success inspired the development of three early action RPGs, combining DruagaTemplate:'s real-time hack-and-slash gameplay with stronger RPG mechanics, all released in late 1984: Dragon Slayer, Courageous Perseus, and Hydlide.[51]
Active Time Battle
Hiroyuki Ito introduced the "Active Time Battle" system in Final Fantasy IV (1991),[52] where the time-keeping system does not stop.[53] Square Co., Ltd. filed a United States patent application for the ATB system on March 16, 1992, under the title "Video game apparatus, method and device for controlling same" and was awarded the patent on February 21, 1995. On the battle screen, each character has an ATB meter that gradually fills, and the player is allowed to issue a command to that character once the meter is full.[54] The fact that enemies can attack or be attacked at any time is credited with injecting urgency and excitement into the combat system.[53]
Beat 'em up
The first game to feature fist fighting was Sega's boxing game Heavyweight Champ (1976), but it was Data East's fighting game Karate Champ (1984) which popularized martial arts themed games.[55] The same year, Hong Kong cinema-inspired Kung-Fu Master laid the foundations for scrolling beat 'em ups with its simple gameplay and multiple enemies.[55][56] Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun, released in 1986 in Japan, deviated from the martial arts themes of earlier games and introduced street brawling to the genre. Renegade (released the same year) added an underworld revenge plot that proved more popular with gamers than the principled combat sport of other games.[57] Renegade set the standard for future beat 'em up games as it introduced the ability to move both horizontally and vertically.[58]
Bullet hell
The bullet hell or danmaku genre began to emerge in the early 1990s as 2D developers needed to find a way to compete with 3D games which were becoming increasingly popular at the time. Toaplan's Batsugun (1993) is considered to be the ancestor of the modern bullet hell genre.[59] The Touhou Project series is one of the most popular bullet hell franchises.
Color video game
The first color video game was the 1973 arcade game Playtron, developed by Japanese company Kasco, which only manufactured two cabinets of the game.[60]
Fighting game
Sega's black and white boxing game Heavyweight Champ was released in 1976 as the first video game to feature fist fighting.[61] However, Data East's Karate Champ from 1984 is credited with establishing and popularizing the one-on-one fighting game genre, and went on to influence Konami's Yie Ar Kung-Fu from 1985.[62] Yie Ar Kung Fu expanded on Karate Champ by pitting the player against a variety of opponents, each with a unique appearance and fighting style.[62][63] Capcom's Street Fighter (1987) introduced the use of special moves that could only be discovered by experimenting with the game controls. Street Fighter II (1991) established the conventions of the fighting game genre and, whereas previous games allowed players to combat computer-controlled fighters, Street Fighter II allowed players to play against each other.[64]
Human sprites
The first video game to represent player characters as human sprite images was Taito's Basketball, which was licensed in February 1974 to Midway, releasing it as TV Basketball in North America.[65][66]
Gunpei Yokoi was the creator of the Game Boy and Virtual Boy and worked on Famicom (and NES), the Metroid series, Game Boy Pocket and did extensive work on the system we know today as the Nintendo Entertainment System.[67]
Open world action RPG
The action role-playing game Hydlide (1984) was an early open world game,[68][50] rewarding exploration in an open world environment.[69] Hylide influenced The Legend of Zelda (1986),[51] an influential open world game.[70][71] Zelda had an expansive, coherent open world design, inspiring many games to adopt a similar open world design.[72]
Open world adventure game
The 1983 first-person adventure game, The Portopia Serial Murder Case, featured a non-linear open world,[73][74] which is considered ahead of its time.[74]

Controller of the PlayStation 2, the best-selling video game console of all time.

The Sony PlayStation was invented by Ken Kutaragi. Research and development for the PlayStation began in 1990, headed by Kutaragi, a Sony engineer.[75]
Platform game
Space Panic, a 1980 arcade release, is sometimes credited as the first platform game.[76] It was clearly an influence on the genre, with gameplay centered on climbing ladders between different floors, a common element in many early platform games. Donkey Kong, an arcade game created by Nintendo, released in July 1981, was the first game that allowed players to jump over obstacles and across gaps, making it the first true platformer.[77]
Psychological horror game
Silent Hill (1999) was praised for moving away survival horror games from B movie horror elements to the psychological style seen in art house or Japanese horror films,[78] due to the game's emphasis on a disturbing atmosphere rather than visceral horror.[79] The original Silent Hill is considered one of the scariest games of all time,[80] and the strong narrative from Silent Hill 2 in 2001 has made the series one of the most influential in the genre.[81] Fatal Frame from 2001 was a unique entry into the genre, as the player explores a mansion and takes photographs of ghosts in order to defeat them.[82][83]
File:Festival du jeu video 20080926 033.jpg

Playing Dance Dance Revolution, one of the most successful rhythm games.

Rhythm game
Dance Aerobics was released in 1987, and allowed players to create music by stepping on Nintendo's Power Pad peripheral. It has been called the first rhythm-action game in retrospect,[84] although the 1996 title PaRappa the Rapper has also been deemed the first rhythm game, whose basic template forms the core of subsequent games in the genre. In 1997, Konami's Beatmania sparked an emergent market for rhythm games in Japan. The company's music division, Bemani, released a number of music games over the next several years.
Scrolling platformer
The first platform game to use scrolling graphics was Jump Bug (1981), a simple platform-shooter developed by Alpha Denshi.[85] In August 1982, Taito released Jungle King,[86] which featured scrolling jump and run sequences that had players hopping over obstacles. Namco took the scrolling platformer a step further with the 1984 release Pac-Land. Pac-Land came after the genre had a few years to develop, and was an evolution of earlier platform games, aspiring to be more than a simple game of hurdle jumping, like some of its predecessors.[87] It closely resembled later scrolling platformers like Wonder Boy and Super Mario Bros and was probably a direct influence on them. It also had multi-layered parallax scrolling.[88][89]
Real-time strategy
Bokosuka Wars (1983) is considered to be an early prototype real-time strategy game.[90] TechnoSoft's Herzog (1988) is regarded as a precursor to the real-time strategy genre, being the predecessor to Herzog Zwei and somewhat similar in nature.[91] Herzog Zwei, released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis home console in 1989, is the earliest example of a game with a feature set that falls under the contemporary definition of modern real-time strategy.[92][93]
Tomohiro Nishikado's 1974 arcade racing game Speed Race introduced scrolling graphics, where the sprites moved along a vertical scrolling overhead track.[94]
Shoot 'em up
Space Invaders is frequently cited as the "first" or "original" in the genre.[95][96] Space Invaders pitted the player against multiple enemies descending from the top of the screen at a constantly increasing rate of speed.[96] As with subsequent shoot 'em ups of the time, the game was set in space as the available technology only permitted a black background. The game also introduced the idea of giving the player a number of "lives". Space Invaders was a massive commercial success, causing a coin shortage in Japan.[97][98] The following year, Namco's Galaxian took the genre further with more complex enemy patterns and richer graphics.[95][99]
Stealth game
The first stealth-based video games were Hiroshi Suzuki's Manbiki Shounen (1979),[100][101][102] Taito's Lupin III (1980),[103] and Sega's 005 (1981).[104][105][106] The first commercially successful stealth game was Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear (1987), the first in the Metal Gear series. It was followed by Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990) which significantly expanded the genre, and then Metal Gear Solid (1998).
Survival horror
The survival horror video game genre began with Capcom's Resident Evil (1996), which coined the term "survival horror" and defined the genre.[107][108] The game was inspired by Capcom's earlier horror game Sweet Home (1989).[109] The earliest game to retroactively be described as survival horror is Nostromo, a sci-fi survival horror game developed by Tokyo University student Akira Takiguchi for the PET 2001, with a PC-6001 port published in 1981.[110]
Tactical role-playing game (tactical RPG)
One of the earliest Japanese RPGs, Koei's The Dragon and Princess (1982),[111] featured a tactical turn-based combat system.[112][113] Koji Sumii's Bokosuka Wars (1983) is credited for laying the foundations for the tactical RPG genre, or "simulation RPG" genre as it is known in Japan, with its blend of basic RPG and strategy game elements.[114] The genre became with the game that set the template for tactical RPGs, Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi (1990).[115]
Visual novel
The visual novel genre is a type of interactive fiction developed in Japan in the early 1990s. As the name suggests, visual novels typically have limited interactivity, as most player interaction is restricted to clicking text and graphics.[116]

Martial arts[]

See also: Japanese martial arts

All-Japan Judo Championships, 2007 men's final.

Aikido was created and developed by Morihei Ueshiba in first half of the 20th century.
Jujutsu, the "way of yielding", is a collective name for Japanese martial art styles including unarmed and armed techniques. Jujutsu evolved among the samurai of feudal Japan as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent without weapons. Due to the ineffectiveness of striking against an armored opponent, the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.[117]
It began as a common fighting system known as "ti" (or "te") among the pechin class of the Ryukyuans. There were few formal styles of ti, but rather many practitioners with their own methods. One surviving example is the Motobu-ryū school passed down from the Motobu family by Seikichi Uehara.[118] Early styles of karate are often generalized as Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te, named after the three cities from which they emerged.[119]
Developed by groups of people mainly from the Iga Province and Kōka, Shiga of Japan. Throughout history, many different schools (ryū) have taught their unique versions of ninjutsu. An example of these is the Togakure-ryū. This ryū was developed after a defeated samurai warrior called Daisuke Togakure escaped to the region of Iga. Later he came in contact with the warrior-monk Kain Doshi who taught him a new way of viewing life and the means of survival (ninjutsu).[120]
Okinawan martial arts
In the 14th century, when the three kingdoms on Okinawa (Chūzan, Hokuzan, and Nanzan) entered into a tributary relationship with the Ming Dynasty of China, Chinese Imperial envoys and other Chinese arrived, some of whom taught Chinese Chuan Fa (Kempo) to the Okinawans. The Okinawans combined Chinese Chuan Fa with the existing martial art of Te to form Template:Nihongo, sometimes called Template:Nihongo.[121] By the 18th century, different types of Te had developed in three different villages - Naha, Shuri, and Tomari. The styles were named Naha-te, Shuri-te, and Tomari-te, respectively. Practitioners from these three villages went on to develop modern karate.[122]


See also: Japanese philosophy
Lean manufacturing
A generic process management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) (hence the term Toyotism is also prevalent) and identified as "Lean" only in the 1990s.[123][124]
Rashomon effect
The Rashomon effect is where the same event is given contradictory interpretations by different individuals involved. The concept originates from Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Rashomon, in which a murder is described in four mutually contradictory ways by its four witnesses.[125]


Atmospheric sciences[]

Downbursts, strong ground-level wind systems that emanate from a point above and blow radially, were discovered by Ted Fujita.[126]
Fujita scale
The first scale designed to measure tornado intensity, the Fujita scale, was first introduced by Ted Fujita (in collaboration with Allen Pearson) in 1971. The scale was widely adopted throughout the world until the development of the Enhanced Fujita scale.[127]
Fujiwhara effect
The Fujiwhara effect is an atmospheric phenomenon where two nearby cyclonic vortices orbit each other and close the distance between the circulations of their corresponding low-pressure areas. The effect was first described by Sakuhei Fujiwhara in 1921.[128]
Jet stream
Jet streams were first discovered by Japanese meteorologist Wasaburo Oishi by tracking ceiling balloons. However, Oishi's work largely went unnoticed outside Japan because it was published in Esperanto.[129][130]
The microburst was first discovered and identified as a small scale downburst affecting an area 4 km (2.5 mi) in diameter or less by Ted Fujita in 1974. Microbursts are recognized as capable of generating wind speeds higher than 270 km/h (170 mph). In addition, Fujita also discovered macrobursts and classified them as downbursts larger than 4 km (2.5 mi).[126]

Biology, biomedical science, chemistry[]

File:Image from "Surgical Casebook" by Hanaoka Seishu.jpg

Image from "Surgical Casebook" (Kishitsu geryō zukan) by Hanaoka Seishu

Agar was discovered in Japan around 1658 by Mino Tarōzaemon.[131]
Antibody diversity genetics
In a landmark series of experiments beginning in 1976, Susumu Tonegawa showed that genetic material can rearrange itself to form the vast array of available antibodies.[132] He later received the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity."[133]
Aspergillus oryzae
The genome for Aspergillus oryzae was sequenced and released by a consortium of Japanese biotechnology companies,[134] in late 2005.[135]
Chirally catalyzed hydrogenations
Ryōji Noyori was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his "work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions"[136] in 1968.[137]
Conductive polymer
Hideki Shirakawa was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the discovery and development of conductive polymers".[138]
Ephedrine synthesis
Ephedrine in its natural form, known as má huáng (麻黄) in traditional Chinese medicine, had been documented in China since the Han dynasty.[139] However, it was not until 1885 that the chemical synthesis of ephedrine was first accomplished by Japanese organic chemist Nagai Nagayoshi.
Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine and his assistant Keizo Uenaka first discovered epinephrine in 1900.[140][141] In 1901 Takamine successfully isolated and purified the hormone from the adrenal glands of sheep and oxen.[142]
Mutsuo Sugiura was a Japanese engineer famous for being the first to develop a Gastro-camera (a present-day Esophagogastroduodenoscope). His story was illustrated in the NHK TV documentary feature, "Project X: Challengers: The Development of a Gastro-camera Wholly Made in Japan". Sugiura graduated from Tokyo Polytechnic University in 1938 and then joined Olympus Corporation. While working at this company, he first developed an esophagogastroduodenoscope in 1950.
Frontier molecular orbital theory and HOMO/LUMO
In 1952, Kenichi Fukui published a paper in the Journal of Chemical Physics titled "A molecular theory of reactivity in aromatic hydrocarbons."[143] He later received the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his investigations into the mechanisms of chemical reactions, with his prize-winning work focused on the role of frontier orbitals in chemical reactions, specifically that molecules share loosely bonded electrons which occupy the frontier orbitals, that is the Highest Occupied Molecular Orbital (HOMO) and the Lowest Unoccupied Molecular Orbital (LUMO).[144][145][146][147][148][149][150]
General anesthesia
Hanaoka Seishū was the first surgeon in the world who used the general anaesthesia in surgery, in 1804, and who dared to operate on cancers of the breast and oropharynx, to remove necrotic bone, and to perform amputations of the extremities in Japan.[151]
Green fluorescent protein (GFP)
In the 1960s and 1970s, GFP, along with the separate luminescent protein aequorin (an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of luciferin, releasing light), was first purified from Aequorea victoria and its properties studied by Osamu Shimomura.[152] He was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP".[153]
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
Immunoglobulin E is a type of antibody only found in mammals. IgE was simultaneously discovered in 1966-7 by two independent groups:[154] Kimishige Ishizaka's team at the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver, Colorado,[155] and by Gunnar Johansson and Hans Bennich in Uppsala, Sweden.[156] Their joint paper was published in April 1969.[157]
Induced pluripotent stem cell

Chemical structure of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in Japan in 1894 by chemist Nagayoshi Nagai.[158] n 1919, methamphetamine hydrochloride was synthesized by pharmacologist Akira Ogata.[159]
Okazaki fragment
Okazaki fragments are short, newly synthesized DNA fragments that are formed on the lagging template strand during DNA replication. They are complementary to the lagging template strand, together forming short double-stranded DNA sections. A series of experiments led to the discovery of Okazaki fragments. The experiments were conducted during the 1960s by Reiji Okazaki, Tsuneko Okazaki, Kiwako Sakabe, and their colleagues during their research on DNA replication of Escherichia coli.[160] In 1966, Kiwako Sakabe and Reiji Okazaki first showed that DNA replication was a discontinuous process involving fragments.[161] The fragments were further investigated by the researchers and their colleagues through their research including the study on bacteriophage DNA replication in Escherichia coli.[162][163][164]
Akira Fujishima discovered photocatalysis occurring on the surface of titanium dioxide in 1967.[165]
Portable electrocardiograph
Taro Takemi built the first portable electrocardiograph in 1937.[166]
Soft laser desorption, and mass spectrometric analysis of biological macromolecule
Koichi Tanaka was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules" and for the "development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules".[167] In 1987, he demonstrated that laser pulses could blast apart large protein molecules so that ions in gaseous form are produced.[168]
The statin class of drugs was first discovered by Akira Endo, a Japanese biochemist working for the pharmaceutical company Sankyo. Mevastatin was the first discovered member of the statin class.[169]
A form of diastase which results from the growth, development and nutrition of a distinct microscopic fungus known as Aspergillus oryzae. Jokichi Takamine developed the method first used for its extraction in the late 19th century.[170]
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine was the first of the water-soluble vitamins to be described,[171] leading to the discovery of more such trace compounds essential for survival and to the notion of vitamin. It was not until 1884 that Kanehiro Takaki (1849-1920) attributed beriberi to insufficient nitrogen intake (protein deficiency). In 1910, Japanese scientist Umetaro Suzuki succeeded in extracting a water-soluble complex of micronutrients from rice bran and named it aberic acid. He published this discovery in a Japanese scientific journal.[172] The Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk later proposed the complex be named "Vitamine" (a portmanteau of "vital amine") in 1912.[173]
Tooth patch
Scientists in Japan have created a microscopically thin film that can coat individual teeth to prevent decay or to make them appear whiter, the chief researcher said. The “tooth patch” is a hard-wearing and ultra-flexible material made from hydroxyapatite, the main mineral in tooth enamel, that could also mean an end to sensitive teeth. “This is the world’s first flexible apatite sheet, which we hope to use to protect teeth or repair damaged enamel,” said Shigeki Hontsu, professor at Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology in western Japan.[174]
Urushiol, a mixture of alkyl catechols, was discovered by Rikou Majima. He also discovered that Urushiol was an allergen which gave members of the Toxicodendron genus, such as Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, their skin-irritating properties.[175]
Taro Takemi invented vectorcardiograph in 1939.[166]

Food science[]


Instant noodles before boiling.

Instant noodle
Invented by Momofuku Ando in 1958.[176]
Monosodium glutamate
Invented and patented by Kikunae Ikeda.[177]
Umami as a separate taste was first identified in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University while researching the strong flavor in seaweed broth.[178]


See also: Japanese mathematics
File:Seki Kowa Katsuyo Sampo Bernoulli numbers.png

A page from Seki Kōwa's Katsuyo Sampo (1712), tabulating binomial coefficients and Bernoulli numbers

Bernoulli number
Studied by Seki Kōwa and published after his death, in 1712. Jacob Bernoulli independently developed the concept in the same period, though his work was published a year later.[179][180][181]
Two-valued Boolean algebra
In the 1930s, while studying switching circuits, NEC engineer Akira Nakashima independently discovered Boolean algebra, which he was unaware of until 1938. In a series of papers published from 1934 to 1936, he formulated a two-valued Boolean algebra as a way to analyze and design circuits by algebraic means in terms of logic gates.[182][183]
In Japan, determinants were introduced to study elimination of variables in systems of higher-order algebraic equations. They used it to give shorthand representation for the resultant. The determinant as an independent function was first studied by Seki Kōwa in 1683.[181][184]
Elimination theory
In 1683 (Kai-Fukudai-no-Hō), Seki Kōwa came up with elimination theory, based on resultant.[184] To express resultant, he developed the notion of determinant.[184]
Hironaka's example
Hironaka's example is a non-Kähler complex manifold that is a deformation of Kähler manifolds discovered by Heisuke Hironaka.[185]
Itô calculus
Developed by Kiyosi Itô throughout the 20th century, Itô calculus extends calculus to stochastic processes such as Brownian motion (Wiener process). Its basic concept is the Itô integral, and among the most important results is a change of variable formula known as Itô's lemma. Itô calculus is widely applied in various fields, but is perhaps best known for its use in mathematical finance.[186]
Iwasawa theory and the Main conjecture of Iwasawa theory
Initially created by Kenkichi Iwasawa, Iwasawa theory was originally developed as a Galois module theory of ideal class groups. The main conjecture of Iwasawa theory is a deep relationship between p-adic L-functions and ideal class groups of cyclotomic fields, proved by Iwasawa (1969) for primes satisfying the Kummer–Vandiver conjecture and proved for all primes by Template:Harvs.[187]
In 1683 (Kai-Fukudai-no-Hō), Seki Kōwa came up with elimination theory, based on resultant. To express resultant, he developed the notion of determinant.[184]
Japanese geometrical puzzles in Euclidean geometry on wooden tablets created during the Edo period (1603–1867) by members of all social classes. The Dutch Japanologist Isaac Titsingh first introduced sangaku to the West when he returned to Europe in the late 1790s after more than twenty years in the Far East.[188]
Soddy's hexlet
Irisawa Shintarō Hiroatsu analyzed Soddy's hexlet in a Sangaku in 1822 and was the first person to do so.[189]
Takagi existence theorem
Takagi existence theorem was developed by Teiji Takagi in isolation during World War I. He presented it at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1920.[190]


Bottom quark
The bottom quark is a product in almost all top quark decays, and is a frequent decay product for the Higgs boson. The bottom quark was theorized in 1973 by physicists Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa to explain CP violation.[191]
Cabibbo–Kobayashi–Maskawa matrix
Toshihide Maskawa and Makoto Kobayashi's 1973 article, "CP Violation in the Renormalizable Theory of Weak Interaction",[192] is the fourth most cited high energy physics paper of all time as of 2010.[193] The Cabibbo–Kobayashi–Maskawa matrix, which defines the mixing parameters between quarks, was the result of this work. Kobayashi and Maskawa were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature."[194]
Cosmic neutrino, solar neutrino, neutrino astronomy
Masatoshi Koshiba was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos"[195] in the 1980s. He conducted pioneering work on solar neutrino detection, and Koshiba's work also resulted in the first real-time observation of neutrinos from the SN 1987A supernova. These efforts marked the beginning of neutrino astronomy.[196]
Electron tunneling (quantum tunnelling)
Leo Esaki was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics[197] for the discovery of electron tunneling in the 1950s.[198]
Explicit symmetry breaking
Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the origin of the explicit breaking of CP symmetry in the weak interactions. They were awarded "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature".[199]
Hideki Yukawa predicted the existence of mesons in 1934, for which he later received the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physics.[200]
Nagaoka model (first Saturnian model of the atom)
In 1904, Hantaro Nagaoka proposed the first planetary model of the atom as an alternative to J. J. Thomson's plum pudding model. Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr would later develop the more viable Bohr model in 1913.[201]
Quantum electrodynamics
Shin'ichirō Tomonaga was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for the physics of elementary particles".[202]
Spontaneous symmetry breaking and chiral symmetry breaking
Yoichiro Nambu was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics for his 1960 discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics, related at first to the strong interaction's chiral symmetry and later to the electroweak interaction and Higgs mechanism.[203]


See also: Science and technology in Japan
Airsoft originated in Japan, then spread to Hong Kong and China in the late 1970s.[204] The inventor of the first airsoft gun is Tanio Kobayashi.
Automatic power loom
Sakichi Toyoda invented numerous weaving devices. His most famous invention was the automatic power loom in which he implemented the principle of Jidoka (autonomation or autonomous automation). It was the 1924 Toyoda Automatic Loom, Type G, a completely automatic high-speed loom featuring the ability to change shuttles without stopping and dozens of other innovations. At the time it was the world's most advanced loom, delivering a dramatic improvement in quality and a twenty-fold increase in productivity.[205]
Japanese typewriter
The first typewriter to be based on the Japanese writing system was invented by Kyota Sugimoto in 1929.[206]
KS steel
Magnetic resistant steel that is three times more resistant than tungsten steel, invented by Kotaro Honda.[207]
MKM steel
MKM steel, an alloy containing nickel and aluminum, was developed in 1931 by the Japanese metallurgist Tokuhichi Mishima.[208]
Neodymium magnet
Neodymium magnets were invented independently in 1982 by General Motors (GM) and Sumitomo Special Metals.[209] It is the most widely used type of rare-earth magnet.[210]
File:QR code for mobile English Wikipedia.svg

QR code for the URL of the English Wikipedia Mobile main page

QR code
The QR code, a type of matrix barcode, was invented by Denso Wave in 1994.[211]
Tactile paving
The original tactile paving was developed by Seiichi Miyake in 1965.[212] The paving was first introduced in a street in Okayama city, Japan, in 1967. Its use gradually spread in Japan and then around the world.
Telephony experiment
In 1876, two Japanese students, Shuji Izawa and Kentaro Kaneko, participated in Alexander Graham Bell's experiments with early telephony,[213] immediately after Bell invented the telephone.[214] According to Bell, this made Japanese the second language spoken through a telephone, after English.[214]
The second man-made fiber to be invented, after nylon. It was first developed by Ichiro Sakurada, H. Kawakami, and Korean scientist Ri Sung-gi at the Takatsuki chemical research center in 1939 in Japan.[215][216]

Audio technology[]

File:Firstman SQ-01.png

Firstman SQ-01, bass synthesizer with music sequencer (1980)

Bass synthesizer-sequencer
The first bass synthesizer with a music sequencer was the Firstman SQ-01.[217][218] It was originally released in 1980 by Hillwood/Firstman, a Japanese synthesizer company founded in 1972 by Kazuo Morioka (who later worked for Akai in the early 1980s), and was then released by Multivox for North America in 1981.[219][220][221] The first influential bass synthesizer was the Roland TB-303, released in 1981, later becoming the basis of acid house music.[222]
Chorus pedal
In 1976, Roland subsidiary Boss Corporation released the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble, which was a stand-alone unit of the chorus/vibrato circuit found in the Roland JC-120 amplifier.[223] The chorus circuit from the amp was put it into a stomp box, making the CE-1 the first chorus pedal.[224] The chorus pedal went on to become a standard effects unit among guitarists.[225] Boss effects units subsequently became the de facto standard of guitar effects for decades, with many guitarists relying on them for sonic experimentation.[224]
Commercial digital recording
Commercial digital recording was pioneered in Japan by NHK and Nippon Columbia, also known as Denon, in the 1960s. The first commercial digital recordings were released in 1971.[226]
Compact Disc Digital Audio (CD-DA)
Also called Red Book, CD-DA was the compact disc audio format introduced in 1980 by Sony and Philips.[227]

Sony CDP-101 compact disc player (1982)

Compact disc player
Sony released the world's first CD Player, called the CDP-101,[228] in 1982, utilising a slide-out tray design for the Compact Disc.
CV/Gate music sequencer
In 1977, Roland Corporation released the MC-8 Microcomposer, also called computer music composer by Roland. It was the first standalone, microprocessor-based, digital CV/Gate sequencer.[229][230][231]

Roland TR-909 digital-analog MIDI drum machine (1983)

Digital-analog drum machine
While the Roland TR-808 was fully analog synthesis-based, the Roland TR-909, released in 1983, combined analogue synthesis with digital sampling.[232] Much like the TR-808's importance to hip hop music, the TR-909 holds a similar important for electronic dance music, such as techno and house music.[233][234]
Digital audio tape recorder
Heitaro Nakajima resigned from his post as head of NHK's Technical Research Laboratories and joined Sony. Four years earlier at NHK, Nakajima had commenced work on the digitization of sound and within two years had developed the first digital audio tape recorder[235]
Digital Control Bus (DCB) and DIN sync
In 1980, Roland introduced the Digital Control Bus (DCB) communications protocol, using the DIN sync interface to synchronize different electronic musical instruments. It was introduced with the Roland TR-808 in 1980, considered groundbreaking at the time, followed by other Roland equipment in 1981. It was the precursor to MIDI, which adopted most of its features from the DCB protocol, including the same type of connectors as the DIN sync interface.[236][237]

Boss Corporation's DD-3 Digital Delay effects pedal (1986)

Digital delay pedal
Boss Corporation's DD-2 Digital Delay, released in 1983, was the world's first digital delay effects unit in stomp box form. It uses a custom integrated circuit (IC) chip that was originally developed for Roland Corporation's SDE-3000 rack delay unit. It was succeeded by the DD-3 Digital Delay in 1986.[225]
Digital reverb effects pedal
Boss Corporation's RV-2 Digital Reverb, released in 1987, the world’s first digital reverb pedal. It used a new custom DSP processor developed by Boss, originally for the RRV-10 Digital Reverb in the Micro Rack series.[225]
File:Yamaha DX7 Table 4.JPG

Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer (1983)

Digital synthesizer
Yamaha built the first prototype digital synthesizer in 1974.[238] Released in 1979,[239] the Casio VL-1 was the first commercial digital synthesizer,[240] selling for $69.95.[239] The mainstream breakthrough for digital synthesis came with the 1983 release of the Yamaha DX7,[241] one of the best-selling synthesizers of all time.[242][243]
File:Technics SL-1200MK2-2.jpg

Technics SL-1200 direct-drive turntable (1972)

Direct-drive turntable
Invented by Shuichi Obata, an engineer at Matsushita (now Panasonic),[244] based in Osaka, Japan.[245] It eliminated the belts of older belt-drive turntables, and instead employed a motor to directly drive a platter on which a vinyl record rests.[246] In 1969, Matsushita released it as the SP-10,[246] the first direct-drive turntable on the market,[247] and the first in their Technics series of turntables.[246] This gave rise to turntablism, with the most influential turntable being the Technics SL-1200, released in 1972 and remaining the most widely used turntable in DJ culture for the next several decades.[246][248]
Electronic drum
At NAMM 1964, Japanese company Ace Tone revealed the R-1 Rhythm Ace, the first fully transistorized electronic drum instrument. Created by Ikutaro Kakehashi, who later founded Roland Corporation, the R-1 was a hand-operated percussion device that played electronic drum sounds manually as the user pushed buttons, in a similar fashion to modern electronic drum pads.[229][249][250]
Electronic drum machine
Nippon Columbia received a 1965 patent for an electronic automatic rhythm machine instrument. It described it as an "automatic rhythm player which is simple but capable of electronically producing various rhythms in the characteristic tones of a drum, a piccolo and so on."[251] At around the same time, Korg also introduced transistor circuitry for their Donca-Matic DC-11 electronic drum machine, some time between 1963 and 1966.[252]
Electrostatic reed organ
Yamaha engineer Mr. Yamashita invented the Yamaha Magna Organ in 1935. It was an electrostatic reed organ, a multi-timbral keyboard instrument based on electrically blown free reeds with pickups.[253][254]
Frequency modulation synthesis (FM synthesis)
In 1973,[238] the Japanese company Yamaha licensed the algorithms for frequency modulation synthesis (FM synthesis) from John Chowning, who had experimented with it at Stanford University since 1971.[243] Yamaha's engineers began adapting Chowning's algorithm for use in a commercial digital synthesizer, adding improvements such as the "key scaling" method to avoid the introduction of distortion that normally occurred in analog systems during frequency modulation.[255] In the 1970s, Yamaha were granted a number of patents, under the company's former name "Nippon Gakki Seizo Kabushiki Kaisha", evolving Chowning's early work on FM synthesis technology.[256] The first commercial FM digital synthesizer was the Yamaha GS-1 in 1980.[257]
The Roland MC-202, released in 1983, was the first groovebox. The term "groovebox" was later coined by Roland Corporation in reference to its successor, the Roland MC-303, released in 1996.[258]
There are various disputes about who first invented the name karaoke (a Japanese word meaning "empty orchestra"). One claim is that the karaoke styled machine was invented by Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue[259] in Kobe, Japan, in 1971.[260][261]
File:Roland TR-808 drum machine.jpg

Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer programmable drum machine (1980)

Microprocessor programmable drum machine
In 1978, Roland released the Roland CR-78, the first microprocessor programmable rhythm machine,[229][262] with four memory banks to store user patterns,[250] and controls for accents and muting.[262] The Roland TR-808, released in 1980, was the first drum machine with the ability to program an entire percussion track of a song from beginning to end, complete with breaks and rolls.[263] It also includes volume knobs for each voice,[236] and has bass drum decay controls that could lengthen the sound to create uniquely low frequencies which flatten over long periods,[264] which can be used to create basslines[265] or bass drops.[266] The TR-808 became one of the most influential inventions in popular music,[267][265] used on more hit records than any other drum machine,[268] and shaping genres such as dance, electronic, hip hop and pop music.[269]
File:Roland D-50.jpg

Roland D-50 linear arithmetic synthesizer (1987)

Linear Arithmetic synthesis (LA synthesis)
A type of sound synthesis invented by Roland Corporation, introduced with the Roland D-50 synthesizer in 1987.[270]Template:Rp In 1987, Roland also introduced LA synthesis to the sound card computer music market, with the Roland MT-32 sound module.[271]
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
In 1981, Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi proposed the concept of standardization to Oberheim Electronics and Sequential Circuits, and they then discussed it with Yamaha, Korg and Kawai.[272] A common MIDI standard was developed, working with Roland's pre-existing DCB as a basis,[236] by Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Kawai, and Sequential Circuits.[272][273]Template:Rp MIDI was publicly announced in 1982.[274]Template:Rp MIDI allowed communication between different instruments and general-purpose computers to play a role in music production.[231] Since its introduction, MIDI has remained the musical instrument industry standard interface through to the present day.[275] Kakehashi received the 2013 Technical Grammy Award for the invention of MIDI.[276][277]
MIDI drum machine
The first MIDI drum machine was the Roland TR-909, released in 1983.[278][279]
MIDI music sequencer
The first MIDI sequencer was Roland Corporation's MSQ-700, released in 1983.[280]
File:Roland Jupiter-6.jpg

Roland Jupiter-6 MIDI synthesizer (1982)

MIDI synthesizer
The first MIDI synthesizers were the Roland Jupiter-6 and the Prophet 600, both released in 1982.[278][279]
PCM recorder
In 1967, the first PCM (pulse-code modulation) recorder was developed by NHK's research facilities in Japan.[226]
PCM sampler
The first PCM digital sampler was Toshiba's LMD-649,[281] created in 1981 by engineer Kenji Murata for Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, who used it for extensive sampling and looping in their 1981 album Technodelic.[282]
File:Shin-ei Uni-Vibe (1968), Jimi Hendrix, EMP Museum.jpg

Shin-ei Uni-Vibe phaser effects pedal (c. 1968) once owned by Jimi Hendrix (exhibited at Experience Music Project)

Phaser effects pedal
The Uni-Vibe, also known as Jax Vibra-Chorus,[283] is a footpedal-operated phaser or phase shifter for creating chorus and vibrato simulations for electric organ or guitar. Designed by audio engineer Fumio Mieda,[284] it was introduced in the 1960s by Japanese company Shin-ei, and then released in North America by Univox in 1968.[283] The pedals soon became favorite effects pedals of rock guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower.[285]
Physical modelling synthesis
The first commercially available physical modelling synthesizer was Yamaha's VL-1 in 1994.[286]
Polyphonic synthesizer
In 1973, Yamaha invented an early multi-voice polyphonic synthesizer, the Yamaha GX-1.[287]
Polyphonic string synthesizer
Roland invented an early polyphonic string synthesizer, the Roland RS-202, in 1975. It was followed by the Roland RS-202 in 1976.[288][221]
File:Discman D121.jpg

Sony Discman D121 portable CD player (1984)

Portable CD player
Sony's Discman, released in 1984, was the first portable CD player.[289]
Programmable drum machine
Korg's Stageman and Mini Pops series, introduced in 1967, were notable for "natural metallic percussion" sounds and incorporating controls for drum "breaks and fill-ins."[290] Prior to Ikutaro Kakehashi's founding of Roland Corporation in 1972, Kakehashi had discussed the idea of a programmable drum machine while at Ace Tone, some time between 1967 and 1972.[291] In 1975,[292] Ace Tone released the Rhythm Producer FR-15 that enables the modification of the pre-programmed rhythm patterns.[293]
Stereo PCM
In 1969, NHK expanded PCM's capabilities to 2-channel stereo and 32 kHz 13-bit resolution. In January 1971, using NHK'S PCM recording system, engineers at Denon recorded the first commercial digital recordings, including Uzu: The World Of Stomu Yamash'ta 2 by Stomu Yamashta.[226]
Touch-sensitive electronic keyboard
In 1974, Roland Corporation released the EP-30, the first touch-sensitive electronic keyboard.[294]
Vowel–consonant synthesis
A type of hybrid digital-analog synthesis developed by Casio and first employed by the early Casiotone keyboards in the early 1980s.[295]
File:Original Sony Walkman TPS-L2.JPG

Sony Walkman TPS-L2 (1979)

The prototype was built in 1978 by audio-division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka. Ibuka wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips, and presented the idea to Kihara.[296]


Lithium-ion battery
In 1991, Sony and Asahi Kasei released the first commercial lithium-ion battery.[297]


The concept of a single-chip calculator was conceived by Sharp engineer Tadashi Sasaki in 1968.[298] The first single-chip calculator to be built was Busicom's LE-120A HANDY, released in February 1971.[299]
Electric calculator
The world's first all-electric compact calculator was the Casio Computer Company's Model 14-A, released in 1957.[300][301][302]
Electronic desktop calculator with on-board memory
Casio 001, released in 1965.[301]
LCD calculator
In 1973, Sharp Corporation introduced the use of LCD displays for calculators.[303]
File:Sharp QT-8D Micro Compet front view.jpg

Sharp QT-8D Micro Compet LSI calculator

LSI calculator
The Sharp QT-8D, an electronic desktop calculator released in 1969, was the first calculator to have its logic circuitry entirely implemented with LSI (large-scale integration) integrated circuits (ICs) based on MOS (metal-oxide-semiconductor) technology.[304][305][306]
Microprocessor calculator
The Busicom 141-PF, released in March 1971, was the first calculator, and first device in general, to use a microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel 4004.[307][308]
File:Sharp EL-8.JPG

Sharp EL-8 pocket calculator (1971)

Pocket calculator
The first portable calculators appeared in Japan in 1970, and were soon marketed around the world. These included the Sanyo ICC-0081 "Mini Calculator", the Canon Pocketronic, and the Sharp QT-8B "micro Compet". Sharp put in great efforts in size and power reduction and introduced in January 1971 the Sharp EL-8, also marketed as the Facit 1111, which was close to being a pocket calculator. It weighed about one pound, had a vacuum fluorescent display, and rechargeable NiCad batteries. The first truly pocket-sized electronic calculator was the Busicom LE-120A "HANDY", which was marketed early in 1971.[309]
Programmable calculator
In 1967, Casio released the AL-1000, the world's first programmable desktop calculator.[301][310]
The soroban is an abacus calculator developed in medieval Japan. It is derived from the ancient Chinese suanpan, imported to Japan in the 14th century.[311]


Digital single-lens reflex camera
On August 25, 1981 Sony unveiled a prototype of the first still video camera, the Sony Mavica. This camera was an analog electronic camera that featured interchangeable lenses and a SLR viewfinder. At photokina in 1986, Nikon revealed a prototype analog electronic still SLR camera, the Nikon SVC, the first digital SLR. The prototype body shared many features with the N8008.[312]
In 1967, Sony unveiled the first self-contained video tape analog recording system that was portable.[313]


Script error: No such module "Labelled list hatnote".

Chindogu is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, Chindogu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever. Thus, Chindōgu are sometimes described as "unuseless" – that is, they cannot be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called "useful." The term "Chindogu" was coined by Kenji Kawakami.


12-bit microprocessor
In 1973, Toshiba developed the TLCS-12,[314][315] the world's first 12-bit microprocessor.[316] The project began in 1971, when Toshiba began developing a microprocessor for Ford Motor Company's Electronic Engine Control (EEC) project, which went on to utilize Toshiba's 12-bit microprocessor.[316]
16-bit microcomputer
In 1977, Panafacom, a conglomeration of Fujitsu, Fuji Electric, and Matsushita, released an early 16-bit microcomputer, the Lkit-16, based on the 16-bit Panafacom MN1610 microprocessor developed in 1975.[317]
File:Panafacom MN1610 1.jpg

Panafacom MN1610, 16-bit microprocessor (1975)

16-bit microprocessor
In 1975, Panafacom developed the first commercial 16-bit single-chip microprocessor CPU,[318] the MN1610.[317][319] According to Fujitsu, it was "the world's first 16-bit microcomputer on a single chip".[318]
Compact office computer
Compact office computers originated from Japan in the early 1960s. While American offices at the time ran large minicomputers loaded with business applications, Japanese manufacturers invented highly compact office computers, with hardware, operating systems, peripheral devices and application development languages specifically developed for business applications, playing a big role in Japan's booming economy. The first office computers released in 1961: Casio's TUC Compuwriter, NEC's NEAC-1201 parametron computer, and Unoke Denshi Kogyo's USAC-3010.[320]
File:HD6417095 01.jpg

Hitachi SH-2, 32-bit microprocessor with compressed instructions (1993)

Compressed instructions
In the early 1990s, engineers at Hitachi found ways to compress RISC instruction sets so they fit in even smaller memory systems than CISC instruction sets. They developed a compressed instruction set for their SuperH series of microprocessors, introduced in 1992.[321] The SuperH instruction set was later adapted for the ARM architecture's Thumb instruction set.[322]
Digital system design, and digital computer theory
In the 1930s, NEC engineer Akira Nakashima laid the foundations for digital system design with his switching circuit theory, where formulated a two-valued Boolean algebra as a way to analyze and design circuits by algebraic means in terms of logic gates. His switching circuit theory provided the mathematical foundations and tools for digital system design in almost all areas of modern technology, and was the basis for digital computer theory.[183][323]
Electronic printer
The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968.[324][325]
File:Yamaha GS-1 FM Synthesizer Programming Computer.jpg

Yamaha programming computer for GS-1, the first commercial FM digital synthesizer (1980)

FM synthesis computer music
The Yamaha GS-1, the first commercial FM digital synthesizer, released in 1980, was programmed using a proprietary Yamaha computer, which at the time was only available at Yamaha's headquarters in Japan (Hamamatsu) and the United States (Buena Park).[326] In 1983, Yamaha modules introduced FM synthesis to the MSX personal computer.[327][328]

NEC TK-80 microcomputer kit (1976) on the left, Busicom calculator motherboard based on Intel 4004 (1971) in the center, and assembled Busicom calculator on the right

General-purpose microcomputer
The first microcomputers based on the Intel 8080, the first general-purpose microprocessor, were Sord Computer Corporation's SMP80/x series,[329] released in 1974.[329][330]
General-purpose microprocessor
The Intel 8080, released in 1974, was the first general-purpose microprocessor.[329] The 8-bit Intel 8080 was designed by Federico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima.[331]
Inkjet printer
The world's first inkjet printer was Casio's Typuter, released in 1971.[301]

Epson HX-20 laptop (1981)

Yukio Yokozawa, an employee for Suwa Seikosha, a branch of Seiko (now Seiko Epson), invented the first laptop/notebook computer in July 1980, receiving a patent for the invention.[332] Seiko's notebook computer, known as the HC-20 in Japan, was announced in 1981.[333] In North America, Epson introduced it as the Epson HX-20 in 1981, at the COMDEX computer show in Las Vegas, where it drew significant attention for its portability.[334] It had a mass-market release in July 1982, as the HC-20 in Japan[333] and as the Epson HX-20 in North America.[335] It was the first notebook-sized handheld computer,[336][333][335] the size of an A4 notebook and weighing Template:Convert/kg.[333] In 1983, the Sharp PC-5000[337] and Ampere WS-1 laptops from Japan featured a modern clamshell design.[338][339]
The first microcomputer was Sord Computer Corporation's SMP80/08,[330] developed in 1972, using the 8-bit Intel 8008 microprocessor.[329]
Microcomputer operating system
The first microcomputer with an operating system was Sord Computer Corporation's SMP80/x series,[340] released in 1974, based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor.[329][330]
File:Intel C4004.jpg

Intel 4004 (1971), 4-bit microprocessor designed by Busicom's Masatoshi Shima

The concept of a single-chip microprocessor central processing unit (CPU) was conceived in a 1968 meeting in Japan between Sharp engineer Tadashi Sasaki and a software engineering researcher from Nara Women's College. Sasaki discussed the microprocessor concept with Busicom and Intel in 1968.[298] The first commercial microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel 4004, began with the "Busicom Project"[341] in 1968 as Masatoshi Shima's three-chip CPU design,[308][341] which was simplified down to a single-chip microprocessor, designed from 1969 to 1970 by Intel's Marcian Hoff and Federico Faggin and Busicom's Masatoshi Shima, and commercially released in 1971.[341][307]
MIDI computer music
In 1982, the NEC PC-88 and PC-98 computers introduced MIDI support.[342] In 1983, Yamaha modules introduced MIDI sequencing to the MSX.[327][328]
MIDI music software
In 1983, the Yamaha CX5 MSX computer and Yamaha MSX modules came with graphical music software for digital synthesis and MIDI sequencing,[343][328] capable of synthesizing and sequencing sounds and rhythms.[344] It provided synthesis, composition tools, and a 4-track MIDI sequencer, available on different cartridges.[345]
File:Roland MPU-401.jpg

Roland Corporation's MPU-401 MIDI interface (1984)

MIDI sound card
The spread of MIDI on computers was facilitated by Roland Corporation's MPU-401, released in 1984. It was the first MIDI-equipped PC sound card, capable of MIDI sound processing[346] and sequencing.[347][348] After Roland sold MPU sound chips to other sound card manufacturers,[346] it established a universal standard MIDI-to-PC interface.[349] The widespread adoption of MIDI led to computer-based MIDI software being developed.[231]
Music Macro Language
In 1978, Japanese personal computers such as the Sharp MZ and Hitachi Basic Master were capable of digital synthesis, which were sequenced using Music Macro Language (MML).[350] This was used to produce chiptune video game music.[342]
Optical communication
Hardware elements providing the basis of internet technology, the three essential elements of optical communication, were invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa: the semiconductor laser (1957) being the light source, the graded-index optical fiber (1964) as the transmission line, and the PIN photodiode (1950) as the optical receiver.[351] Fiber-optic communication was proposed by Nishizawa in 1963.[352] Izuo Hayashi's invention of the continuous wave semiconductor laser in 1970 led directly to the light sources in fiber-optic communication, commercialized by Japanese entrepreneurs,[353] and opened up the field of optical communication, playing an important role in the communication networks of the future.[354] Their work laid the foundations for the Information Age.[351]
A logic circuit element invented by Eiichi Goto in 1954.[355] It was a digital computer element.[183]
Personal computer with built-in floppy disk drive
Sord Computer Corporation's M200 Smart Home Computer, released in 1977, was among the first home computers, and was an early personal computer to be integrated with a built-in floppy disk drive.[356]
Personal computer with built-in hard disk drive
Sord Computer Corporation's M223 Mark VI, introduced in 1979, was an early personal computer to come standard with a built-in hard disk drive.[356]
Plastic central processing unit
Shunpei Yamazaki invented a central processing unit (CPU) made entirely from plastic.[357]
Small computer
In 1967, NEC introduced the NEAC-1240, the world's first small IC computer.[358]
Stored-program transistor computer
The ETL Mark III began development in 1954,[359] and was completed in 1956, created by the Electrotechnical Laboratory.[360] It was the first stored-program transistor computer.[360][361][362]
Switching circuit theory
From 1934 to 1936, NEC engineer Akira Nakashima introduced switching circuit theory in a series of papers showing that two-valued Boolean algebra, which he discovered independently, can describe the operation of switching circuits.[363][323][182][183]
Transistor computer microprogramming
The use of microprogramming in electronic transistor computers dates back to 1961, with the KT-Pilot, developed by Kyoto University and Toshiba in Japan.[362][364]
Two-chip microprocessor
NEC released the μPD707 and μPD708, a two-chip 4-bit microprocessor CPU, in 1971.[365] They were followed by NEC's first single-chip microprocessor, the μPD700, in April 1972,[366][367] a prototype for the μCOM-4 (μPD751), released in April 1973,[366] combining the μPD707 and μPD708 into a single microprocessor.[365]
A group of several companies began the development of USB in 1994, including Japanese company NEC.[368]

Domestic appliances[]

Bladeless fan
The first bladeless fan was patented by Toshiba in 1981.[369]

Electric rice cooker

Electric rice cooker
Invented by designers at the Toshiba Corporation in the late 1940s.[370]
An automatic cooking device, invented by Mamoru Imura and patented in 2007.[371][372]



A 1970s Sony Trinitron aperture grille CRT television

Aperture grille
One of two major cathode ray tube (CRT) display technologies, along with the older shadow mask. Aperture grille was introduced by Sony with their Trinitron television in 1968.[373]
Automated teller machine (ATM)
The idea of out-of-hours cash distribution developed from bankers' needs in Japan.[374][375][376] The Japanese device was called "Computer Loan Machine" and supplied cash as a three-month loan at 5% p.a. after inserting a credit card. The device was operational in 1966.[377][378]
Avalanche photodiode
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1952.[379]
BaTiO3 (barium titanate)
Invented by T. Ogawa in 1943.[380]

Shuji Nakamura with blue laser in 2015

Blue laser
In 1992, Japanese inventor Shuji Nakamura invented the first efficient blue LED.[381] Nakamura invented it with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, for which the three of them were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.[382]
Color LCD
The LCD color display was invented by Sharp Corporation's Shinji Kato and Takaaki Miyazaki in May 1975,[383] and then improved by Fumiaki Funada and Masataka Matsuura in December 1975.[384] The first LCD color televisions were invented as handheld televisions in Japan. In 1980, Hattori Seiko's R&D group began development on color pocket LCD televisions.[385] In 1984, Epson released the ET-10, the first full-color, pocket LCD television.[386]

Typical 3LCD (RGB) projector showing separated polarizers

Color LCD projector, and 3LCD
Epson developed the 3LCD color projection technology in the 1980s, and licensed it for use in projectors in 1988.[387] The first color LCD video projectors were Epson's 3LCD-based VPJ-700, released in January 1989,[335] and an LCD color video projector released by Sharp Corporation in 1989.[388] Epson's 3LCD technology went on to be adopted by about 40 different projector brands worldwide.[387]
Color plasma display
The world's first color plasma display was produced by Fujitsu in 1989.[389]
Continuous wave semiconductor laser
Invented by Izuo Hayashi and Morton B. Panish in 1970. This led directly to the light sources in fiber-optic communication, laser printers, barcode readers, and optical disc drives, technologies that were commercialized by Japanese entrepreneurs.[353]Template:Rp
File:Early TV experiment by Takayanagi.jpg

A recreation of Kenjiro Takayanagi's pioneering 1926 electronic television experiment, at NHK Broadcasting Museum in Atagoyama, Tokyo

Electronic television
In 1924, Kenjiro Takayanagi began a research program on electronic television. In 1925, he demonstrated a cathode ray tube (CRT) television with thermal electron emission.[390] In 1926, he demonstrated a CRT television with 40-line resolution,[391] the first working example of a fully electronic television receiver.[390] In 1927, he increased the television resolution to 100 lines, which was unrivaled until 1931.[392] In 1928, he was the first to transmit human faces in half-tones on television.[393]
Fiber-optic communication
While working at at Tohoku University, Jun-ichi Nishizawa proposed the use of optical fibers for optical communication, in 1963.[352] Nishizawa invented other technologies that contributed to the development of optical fiber communications, such as the graded-index optical fiber as a channel for transmitting light from semiconductor lasers.[394][395] Izuo Hayashi's invention of the continuous wave semiconductor laser in 1970 led directly to light sources in fiber-optic communication, commercialized by Japanese entrepreneurs.[353]
Glass integrated circuit
Shunpei Yamazaki invented an integrated circuit made entirely from glass and with an 8-bit central processing unit.[357]
Graded-index optical fiber
Jun-ichi Nishizawa patented the graded-index optical fiber in 1964.[351]
Handheld projector
In January 1989, Epson released the first compact LCD projector, the VPJ-700.[335]
File:Sony watchman fd210.jpg

Sony Watchman handheld television (1982)

Handheld television
In 1970, Panasonic released the first television that was small enough to fit in a large pocket, the Panasonic IC TV MODEL TR-001. It featured a 1.5-inch display, along with a 1.5-inch speaker.[396]
Ion implantation
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1950.[397]
JFET (junction gate field-effect transistor)
The first type of JFET was the static induction transistor (SIT), invented by Japanese engineers Jun-ichi Nishizawa and Y. Watanabe in 1950. The SIT is a type of JFET with a short channel length.[398]
LCD large-screen television technology
Sharp Corporation invented the first large LCD displays in 1986, based on color TFT LCD technology.[399] In 1988, Sharp introduced the first commercial large LCD television, a 14" TFT LCD model with active matrix addressing. The release of Sharp's large LCD TV in 1988 led to Japan launching an LCD industry, which developed large-size LCD displays, including TFT computer monitors and LCD televisions.[400]
LCD television
The first LCD televisions were invented as handheld televisions in Japan. In 1980, Hattori Seiko's R&D group began development on color LCD pocket televisions.[385] In 1982, Seiko Epson released the first LCD television, the Epson TV Watch, a wristwatch equipped with an active-matrix LCD television.[401][335] In 1983, Casio released a handheld LCD television, the Casio TV-10.[402]
LED-backlit LCD
The world's first LED-backlit LCD television was Sony's Qualia 005, released in 2004.[403]

Layers of a PIN diode, invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1950

PIN diode/photodiode
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa and his colleagues in 1950.[404]
Radio-controlled wheel transmitter
Futaba introduced the FP-T2F in 1974 that was the first to utilize a steering wheel onto a box transmitter.[405] KO Propo introduced the EX-1 in 1981 that integrated a wheel with a pistol grip with its trigger acting as the throttle. This became one of the two types of radio controlled transmitters currently for surface use.[406][407]
Semiconductor inductance
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1957.[397]
Semiconductor laser
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1957.[379][351]
Solid-state maser
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1955.[379]
Solid-state optical fiber
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1964.[397]
Static induction thyristor
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1971.[379][408]
Static induction transistor
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa and Y. Watanabe in 1950.[409]
Surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED)
A display technology for flat panel displays. Canon began SED research in 1986.[410]
File:ASUS Eee White Alt-small.png

Laptop with color TFT LCD display

LCD displays incorporating thin film and transistors were demonstrated in 1970 by J. Kishimoto from Canon[411] and Katsumi Yamamura from Suwa Seikosha (Seiko),[412] and further developed by Sharp Corporation in 1976.[413] In 1977, a TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD display was demonstrated by a Sharp team consisting of Kohei Kishi, Hirosaku Nonomura, Keiichiro Shimizu and Tomio Wada.[414] In 1980, Hattori Seiko's R&D group began development on color pocket LCD televisions, which led to the release of the first commercial TFT LCD displays by three of its subsidiaries.[385] One of its subsidiaries, Citizen Watch, introduced the Citizen Pocket TV, a color TFT LCD handheld television,[385][415] with a 2.7-inch display, in 1984.[415] By 1985, two other Seiko Hattori subsidiaries had also introduced TFT LCD handheld televisions, with Seiko's color micro-TV and the Epson ELF.[385]
Trinitron cathode ray tube (CRT) aperture grille television invented by Sony's Susumu Yoshida in 1968.[380]
File:GE 1N3716 tunnel diode.jpg

1N3716 tunnel diode (Esaki diode)

Tunnel diode (Esaki diode)
It was invented in August 1957 by Leo Esaki, Yuriko Kurose and Takashi Suzuki when they were working at Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, now known as Sony.[416][417][418][419]
Tunnel injection
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1958.[397]
Varicap (variable capacitance diode)
Invented by Jun-ichi Nishizawa in 1959.[397]

Game controllers[]

In 1982, Nintendo's Gunpei Yokoi elaborated on the idea of a circular pad, shrinking it and altering the points into the familiar modern "cross" design for control of on-screen characters in their Donkey Kong handheld game. It came to be known as the "D-pad".[420] The design proved to be popular for subsequent Game & Watch titles. This particular design was patented. In 1984, the Japanese company Epoch created a handheld game system called the Epoch Game Pocket Computer. It featured a D-pad, but it was not popular for its time and soon faded. Initially intended to be a compact controller for the Game & Watch handheld games alongside the prior non-connected style pad, Nintendo realized that Gunpei's design would also be appropriate for regular consoles, and Nintendo made the D-pad the standard directional control for the hugely successful Nintendo Entertainment System under the name "+Control Pad".
Motion-sensing controller
Invented by Nintendo for the Wii, the Wii Remote is the first controller with motion-sensing capability. It was a candidate for Time's Best Invention of 2006.[421]

Memory and storage technology[]


Betamax (top) and VHS (bottom) tapes were respectively created by Japanese companies Sony and JVC.

Betamax was an analog videocassette magnetic tape marketed to consumers released by Sony on May 10, 1975.[422]
Blu-ray Disc
After Shuji Nakamura's invention of practical blue laser diodes,[423] Sony started two projects applying the new diodes: UDO (Ultra Density Optical) and DVR Blue (together with Pioneer), a format of rewritable discs which would eventually become the Blu-ray Disc.[424] The Blu-ray Disc Association was founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology alongside with nine companies: five from Japan, two from Korea, one from the Netherlands and one from France.
File:CD-ROM Drive (Dell).jpg

CD-ROM drive

The CD-ROM format was developed by Japanese company Denon in 1982. It was an extension of Compact Disc Digital Audio, and adapted the format to hold any form of digital data, with a storage capacity of 553 MiB.[425] CD-ROM was then introduced by Denon and Sony at a Japanese computer show in 1984.[338]
Compact Disc (CD)
The compact disc was jointly developed by Philips (Joop Sinjou) and Sony (Toshitada Doi). Sony first publicly demonstrated an optical digital audio disc in September 1976. In September 1978, they demonstrated an optical digital audio disc with a 150 minute playing time, and with specifications of 44,056 Hz sampling rate, 16-bit linear resolution, cross-interleaved error correction code, that were similar to those of the Compact Disc they introduced in 1982.[426]
File:DVD-Video bottom-side.jpg

Sony DADC manufactured DVD, introduced in 1995

Digital video disc (DVD)
The DVD, first developed in 1995, resulted from a cooperation between three Japanese companies (Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic) and one Dutch company (Philips).
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM)
The Toshiba Toscal BC-1411 electronic calculator, which debuted in 1965,[427][428] introduced an early form of DRAM built from discrete components.[428]
File:USB flash drive.JPG

USB flash drive, with flash memory chip on the left

Flash memory
Flash memory (both NOR and NAND types) was invented by Dr. Fujio Masuoka while working for Toshiba c. 1980.[429][430]
Floppy disk (magnetic disk)
The first floppy disk was invented by Yoshiro Nakamatsu at the Tokyo Imperial University in 1950.[431][432] He later received a Japanese patent in 1952,[433][434] and a 1958 American patent, for a magnetic disk record sheet.[435] Nippon Columbia planned to commercialized his magnetic disc sheet recorder in 1960.[436] He licensed a number of patents to IBM,[433][437][438] reaching licensing agreements with them in the 1970s.[431][439][440]
Glass hard disk drive platter
In 1990, Toshiba's MK1122FC was the first hard drive to use a glass hard disk drive platter, replacing the earlier aluminium platters. Glass platters had several advantages, such as greater shock resistance, compared to aluminium platter.[441]
Helical scan
Dr. Norikazu Sawazaki invented a prototype helical scan recorder in 1953.[442]
Holographic data storage
In 1975, Hitachi introduced a video disc system in which chrominance, luminance and sound information were encoded holographically. Each frame was recorded as a 1mm diameter hologram on a 305mm disc, while a laser beam read out the hologram from three angles.[443]
LaserDisc digital data storage
In 1984, Sony introduced a LaserDisc format that could store any form of digital data, as a data storage device similar to CD-ROM, with a larger capacity of 3.28 GiB.[338]
File:Floppy disc.jpg

Verbatim 3½-inch floppy diskettes

Micro floppy disk (3½-inch floppy disk)
Sony invented the 3½-inch floppy disk format, called the micro floppy disk. The first commercial micro floppy disk drive was the Sony OA-D30V, released in 1981.[444]
Perpendicular recording
Perpendicular recording was first demonstrated in the late 19th century by Danish scientist Valdemar Poulsen, who demonstrated that sound could be recorded magnetically. In 1976, Dr. Shun-ichi Iwasaki (president of the Tohoku Institute of Technology) recognized the distinct density advantages in perpendicular recording. In 1978, Dr. T. Fujiwara began an intensive research and development program at the Toshiba Corporation that eventually resulted in the perfection of floppy disk media optimized for perpendicular recording and the first magnetic digital data storage devices using the technique.[445]
VHS (Video Home System)
The VHS was invented in 1973 by Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano who worked for JVC.[446]

Sony U-matic videocassette recorder tape

Videocassette recorder
The first machines (the VP-1100 videocassette player and the VO-1700 videocassette recorder) to use the first videocassette format, U-matic, were introduced by Sony in 1971.[447]
Video tape recorder
Dr. Norikazu Sawazaki invented a prototype video tape recorder in 1953, based on helical scan technology.[442]


File:Actroid-DER 01.jpg

DER-01, a Japanese actroid (an android intended to be very visually similar to humans)

The world's first android, DER 01, was developed by a Japanese research group, The Intelligent Robotics Lab, directed by Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, and Kokoro Co., Ltd. The Actroid is a humanoid robot with strong visual human-likeness developed by Osaka University and manufactured by Kokoro Company Ltd. (the animatronics division of Sanrio). It was first unveiled at the 2003 International Robot Exposition in Tokyo, Japan. The Actroid woman is a pioneer example of a real machine similar to imagined machines called by the science fiction terms android or gynoid, so far used only for fictional robots. It can mimic such lifelike functions as blinking, speaking, and breathing. The "Repliee" models are interactive robots with the ability to recognise and process speech and respond in kind.[448][449][450]
Karakuri puppet
Template:Nihongo are traditional Japanese mechanized puppets or automata, originally made from the 17th century to the 19th century. The word karakuri means "mechanisms" or "trick".[451] The dolls' gestures provided a form of entertainment. Three main types of karakuri exist. Template:Nihongo3 were used in theatre. Template:Nihongo3 were small and used in homes. Template:Nihongo3 were used in religious festivals, where the puppets were used to perform reenactments of traditional myths and legends.
Ninja robot
Invented by Shigeo Hirose, it is capable of climbing buildings and a seven-ton robot capable of climbing mountainous slopes with the aim of installing bolts in the ground so as to prevent landslides.[452]
Robotic exoskeleton for motion support (medicine)
The first HAL prototype was proposed by Yoshiyuki Sankai, a professor at Tsukuba University.[453] Fascinated with robots since he was in the third grade, Sankai had striven to make a robotic suit in order “to support humans.” In 1989, after receiving his Ph.D. in robotics, he began the development of HAL. Sankai spent three years, from 1990 to 1993, mapping out the neurons that govern leg movement. It took him and his team an additional four years to make a prototype of the hardware.[454]

Space exploration[]

Interplanetary solar sail spacecraft
IKAROS the world's first successful interplanetary solar sail spacecraft was launched by JAXA on 21 May 2010.[455]


File:Seiko SND555P1 Chronograph.jpg

A Seiko quartz wristwatch using the chronograph function (movement 7T92).

Automatic quartz
The first watch to combine self-winding with a crystal oscillator for timekeeping was unveiled by Seiko in 1986.[456]
LCD watch
Tetsuro Hama and Izuhiko Nishimura of Seiko received a US patent dated February 1971 for an electronic wristwatch incorporating a TN LCD display.[457] Sharp Corporation mass-produced TN LCD displays for watches in 1975.[303]
Myriad year clock
The Myriad year clock (万年自鳴鐘 Mannen Jimeishou, lit. Ten-Thousand Year Self-ringing Bell), was a universal clock designed by the Japanese inventor Hisashige Tanaka in 1851. It belongs to the category of Japanese clocks called Wadokei.[458]
Quartz wristwatch
The world's first quartz wristwatch was revealed in 1967: the prototype of the Astron revealed by Seiko in Japan, where it was in development since 1958. It was eventually released to the public in 1969.[459]
Spring Drive
A watch movement which was first conceived by Yoshikazu Akahane working for Seiko in 1977 and was patented in 1982. It features a true continuously sweeping second hand, rather than the traditional beats per time unit, as seen with traditional mechanical and most quartz watches.[460]


Aircraft Carrier
Hōshō was the world's first purpose-built aircraft carrier to be completed. She was commissioned in 1922 for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Hōshō and her aircraft group participated in the January 28 Incident in 1932 and in the opening stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War in late 1937.[461]
File:0 series Yurakucho 19670505.jpg

A bullet train in Tokyo, 1967

Bullet train
The world's first high volume capable (initially 12 car maximum) "high-speed train" was Japan's Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which officially opened in October 1964, with construction commencing in April 1959.[462] The 0 Series Shinkansen, built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, achieved maximum passenger service speeds of 210 km/h (130 mph) on the TokyoNagoyaKyotoOsaka route, with earlier test runs hitting top speeds in 1963 at 256 km/h.[462]
Electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission
In early 1987, Subaru launched the Justy in Tokyo with an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT) developed by Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns Subaru.[463]
Hydrogen car
In 2014, Toyota launched the first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai.[464] The Mirai has a range of 312 miles (502 km) and takes about five minutes to refuel. The initial sale price was roughly 7 million yen ($69,000).
Kei car
A category of small automobiles, including passenger cars, vans, and pickup trucks. They are designed to exploit local tax and insurance relaxations, and in more rural areas are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle.[465][466]
Spiral escalator
Mitsubishi Electric unveiled the world's first practical spiral escalator in 1985. Spiral escalators have the advantage of taking up less space than their conventional counterparts.[467]


Fire balloon
A fire balloon, or balloon bomb, was an experimental weapon launched by Japan from 1944 to 1945, during World War II.[468]
File:Antique Japanese (samurai) katana met museum.jpg


The katana originated in the Muromachi period (1392–1573) as a result of changing battle conditions requiring faster response times. The katana facilitated this by being worn with the blade facing up, which allowed the samurai to draw their blade and slash at their enemy in a single motion. Previously, the curved sword of the samurai was worn with the blade facing down. The ability to draw and cut in one motion also became increasingly useful in the daily life of the samurai.[469]
The shuriken was invented during the Gosannen War as a concealed weapon, primarily for the purpose of distracting a target.[470]

Wireless transmission[]

Meteor burst communications
The first observation of interaction between meteors and radio propagation was reported by Hantaro Nagaoka in 1929.[471]
Yagi antenna
The Yagi-Uda antenna was invented in 1926 by Shintaro Uda of Tohoku Imperial University, Sendai, Japan, with the collaboration of Hidetsugu Yagi, also of Tohoku Imperial University. Yagi published the first English-language reference on the antenna in a 1928 survey article on short wave research in Japan and it came to be associated with his name. However, Yagi always acknowledged Uda's principal contribution to the design, and the proper name for the antenna is, as above, the Yagi-Uda antenna (or array).[472]

Writing and correction implementations[]

File:Fullmark Correction Tape 2.jpg

Model B in Pink

Correction tape
Correction tape was invented in 1989 by the Japanese product manufacturer Seed. It is an alternative to correction fluid.[473]
Gel pen
The gel pen was invented in 1984 by Sakura.[474]
Rollerball pen
The first rollerball pen was invented in 1963 by the Japanese company Ohto.[475]


Artificial snowflake
The first artificial snowflake was created by Ukichiro Nakaya in 1936, three years after his first attempt.[476]
Canned coffee
Canned coffee was invented in 1965 by Miura Yoshitake, a coffee shop owner in Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.[477]
The first emoji was created in 1998 or 1999 in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita.[478]
Fake food
Simulated food was invented after Japan’s surrender ending World War II in 1945. Westerners traveling to Japan had trouble reading Japanese menus and in response, Japanese artisans and candlemakers created wax food so foreigners could easily order something that looked appetizing.[479]
The first imageboards were created in Japan. Later English language imageboards such as 4chan would be created.[480]
Yoshizawa–Randlett system
The Yoshizawa–Randlett system is a diagramming system used for origami models. It was first developed by Akira Yoshizawa in 1954. It was later improved upon by Samuel Randlett and Robert Harbin.[481]
Textboards like imageboards were invented in Japan. However, unlike imageboards, textboards are relatively unknown outside of Japan.[480]

See also[]

  • Science and technology in Japan
  • List of Chinese inventions
  • List of Indian inventions and discoveries
  • List of Korean inventions
  • Timeline of historic inventions
  • Ten Japanese Great Inventors
  • List of automotive superlatives - list of first by Japanese cars


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