Biography of Tokiji Ishikawa
Tokiji Ishikawa was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, son of a Government officer. He studied at the Engineering Faculty of Tokyo Imperial University, and worked as an engineering trainee of the Japanese Imperial Navy (Kaigun Itakusei). After graduating BSc in 1904, Ishikawa was employed at Sasebo Naval Arsenal, one of four principal naval shipyards owned by the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Ishikawa enrolled at the University of Glasgow in 1916 as a research student to undertake research in the area of Metallography, the study of the physical structure and components of metals. He was accompanied by two other Japanese research students, Takehiko Hattori and Osao Takigawa, who also carried out research on similar subjects.
At this time, Europe was in the middle of the First World War I, and the new alloy material ‘Duralumin’, which was developed by Germany for building the aircrafts such as the Zeppelin, was at the forefront of metallurgical research. It was when a Zeppelin was shot down over British soil that Ishikawa joined British investigators in order to obtain a scrap of this material, which he took back to Japan.
Upon his return, Ishikawa was employed by Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd in order to establish the production of Duralumin in Japan. At the end of the First World War, Japan won a contract with the manufacturers of the Zeppelin, and Ishikawa along with 13 other researchers and engineers were dispatched to Germany to observe the process of making Duralumin. After their observations, the development of the alloy succeeded in Japan, and in 1919, Ishikawa’s research was awarded the Japan Academy Prize for outstanding research achievements in the area of scholarship.
Ishikawa continued to engage in the development of propellers and engines of battleships, which led to his appointment as Vice Admiral of the Naval Engineering Department in 1930. In 1938, he established the Castings Research Laboratory in Waseda University, a predecessor of the Kagami Memorial Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology and became the first director of the laboratory.
Due to his involvement as a military officer during the Second World War, Ishikawa was removed from Waseda University in 1946. He passed away in 1964, aged 84.