Google Doodle celebrates Japanese green tea researcher Michiyo Tsujimura on 133rd birthday

Today is Japanese educator and biochemist Michiyo Tsujimura 133rd birth anniversary and Google is honouring her with a special Doodle.

If you enjoy green tea, you know not to steep it too long or it tastes bitter. Well, you have Tsujimura to thank for that knowledge.

Born in 1888, Tsujimura was the first woman in Japan to receive a doctoral degree in agriculture. She was mentored by another great female scientist – biologist Kono Yasui, who was the first Japanese woman to receive a doctoral degree in science.

Google Doodle

Google Doodle

During the course of her work, she was not readily accepted as a female scientist.

However, she first got recognition when she along with her colleague Seitaro Miura discovered that green tea had vitamin C in 1924. They published an article titled “On Vitamin C in Green Tea” which lead to an increase in the exporting of green tea to North America.

She continued her research on green tea and in 1929, she isolated catechin – an ingredient that makes the tea bitter.

The next year she isolated tannin, an even more bitter compound.

These two findings became the foundation of her thesis, “On the Chemical Components of Green Tea.”

In 1934, she isolate gallocatechin from green tea and in 1935, she registered a patent on her method of extracting vitamin C crystals from plants.

She made history as an educator when she became the first Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School in 1950. She retired in 1955 but continued to teach part-time.

Tsujimura died in Toyohashi on 1 June 1969 at the age of 80. A stone memorial in her honour can be found in her birthplace of Okegawa City.