Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

suffering from the relapsing fever of Europe were first discovered by Obermeier in 1873; hence the name Spirochata obermeiri. In 1904 Dutton and Todd, and Ross and Milne simultaneously discovered another variety of spirochæta in the blood of those who contracted the disease known as African tick fever. This species is called Spirochata duttoni. In 1905 Koch discovered the third species which is known as Spirochæta kochi. The fourth species, Spirochæta novyi, was found by Norris in 1906 in New York in the blood of a patient with relapsing fever. But none of these scientists succeeded in obtaining in vitro a culture of any of these spirochætæ. Upon Dr. Noguchi falls the honour of having discovered the method of growing these organisms for medical purposes.

There are several other discoveries which must be recorded to Dr. Noguchi's credit. He is the first scientist who pictured the germ of syphilis. With Dr. Flexner, he also discovered the germ of infantile paralysis. The improvement by him of the Wassermann reaction is one of the most important achievements of the age.

Not content with the study of human diseases, Dr. Noguchi carried his investigation into the world of venomous reptiles. Indeed, he is one of the greatest authorities on snake venom. While in the University of Pennsylvania, he began to take interest in the snake. Dr. S. Weir Mitchell was then studying snake venom in the light of the modern conception of the action of toxins. Noguchi became Dr. Mitchell's pupil, and studied the subject with such ardour that for a time he virtually lived with the snakes. Before Dr. Noguchi, the French scientist, Calmette, was the greatest authority on snake venom. To-day Noguchi stands foremost in the list of investigators in this peculiar field of research. If you call on him at the Rockefeller Institute, he will usher

you into a little room literally lined with dried and bottled snake venom.

Most of us have heard of Dr. Simon Flexner or of Dr. Alexis Carrel, the two greatest authorities on medical science. The former is the head of the Rockefeller Institute, the latter the recipient of the Nobel prize for 1912. Well, Dr. Hideyo Noguchi is recognized as the equal in scientific attainment of either Flexner or Carrel. And yet who ever heard anything about this Japanese scientist? It is no wonder. He shuts himself up in his laboratory in the Rockefeller Institute year in, year out, and never cares to see anybody or to talk with anybody. Even in the Japanese community in New York

is a stranger. As a writer in the Chicago Daily News says, “he is a quiet, reserved, matter-of-fact sort of man, who regards newspaper attention as a thing to be avoided when possible, and to be deprecated when it cannot be avoided." Yet this modest, obscure man may one of these days win the Nobel prize. His name is bound to become immortal.

Dr. Noguchi owes Dr. Flexner a debt of gratitude for his achievements in America. It was Dr. Flexner who discovered him. When Flexner was sent to the Philippines to investigate the causes of the epidemic of dysentery then harassing the American army, he stopped in Japan to consult with such foremost bacteriologists as Dr. Kitasato. Noguchi, then a very young man, was introduced to Dr. Flexner by Kitasato. The American scientist took an interest in Noguchi and asked him to accompany him to the Philippines as his assistant. While in the Philippines the young Japanese rendered Dr. Flexner a valuable service, assisting in the investigations which resulted in the discovery of the bacillus of dysentery. After their work in the islands was completed, Noguchi

came to America with Dr. Flexner and became his assistant in the University of Pennsylvania. When Flexner became the head of the Rockefeller Institute, Noguchi followed him. But for the opportunity offered him by the generosity of Dr. Flexner, Noguchi might not have been able to carve out for himself such a brilliant career of service and usefulness to all humanity.

Apart from the achievements of Dr. Takamine and Dr. Noguchi, there is but little which the Japanese can be proud of. Only a very few Japanese, having graduated from American colleges, have been made members of faculties of universities. The most notable example is that of Dr. Asakawa, assistant professor of Oriental History in Yale University. Because of the difficulty of mastering the English language, the Japanese are greatly handicapped in securing such professional positions. In the field of literature, Mr. Adachi is perhaps a solitary figure.

Perhaps we are justified in mentioning those few Japanese who have made remarkable records in the world of business. New York has, of course, a number of successful Japanese merchants, but these Japanese, with the exception of Arai and Moremura, came here with considerable capital or as agents of large firms in Japan. Of those Japanese who came empty-handed to this country and built up fortunes by dint of sheer industry, shrewdness, and foresight, we must mention George Shima, exaggeratedly called the Potato King of California. One of the Japanese pioneers in the Golden State, Shima was up to fifteen years ago little more than a “boss," supplying labourers to large orchardists or operating farms under lease contracts. But he saw a fortune in store for him in the apparently barren delta of the San Joaquin River. The islets in the lower reaches of that mighty stream were covered with a dense growth of reeds and shrubs, and were frequently inundated. The appearance presented was altogether too forbidding to attract white farmers. Shima, backed by an American firm which owned the delta, tried his hand in developing the waste lands. For an experiment he diked one of the islands, and drained the soil inside by cutting a wide ditch across it. If there was superfluous water in the ditch, he pumped it out into the river by engine. The land now yielded to the plough operated by steam engine. For a year or two following the first ploughing the virgin soil is allowed to lie idle, so that the brush and reeds would rot under the sod. The soil thus prepared was found excellent for the cultivation of potatoes, and Shima's dream came true. The American firm interested in the exploitation of the delta encouraged Shima to extend the scope of his undertaking, and to-day the Japanese Potato King cultivates six to ten thousand acres of delta lands, partly leased, and partly owned by himself.

Shima's potato ranches are not far from Stockton. At the wharf at Stockton one notices a dozen steamboats, barges, tug-boats, launches, all bearing the name of Shima. These are utilized as a means of communication between his ranches and Stockton and to transport the potatoes to San Francisco.

Among the successful Japanese merchants on the Pacific Coast, M. Furuya of Seattle stands foremost. Like Shima, he came to this country with no capital but sound judgment and sound body. Gradually he forged ahead in business until to-day he maintains two stores in Seattle, and a store each in Vancouver, Tacoma, and Portland. His Japanese art-goods store in Seattle, though a losing enterprise to its proprietor, is a delight

of tourists and of the residents of that city. When his manager suggested that the store be discontinued, as it was a heavy burden to him, he smiled complacently, and in his characteristically humble manner said: “That store is far from what I should be proud of, but the citizens here seem to think a great deal of it, and I don't like to close it. What small fortune I have been able to amass was made in Seattle, and I feel I ought to do something for the city, as long as I can afford it."

Naturally a modest man, he has nothing about him that suggests the millionaire. He still lives in a small, unpretentious house which he occupied when he was yet far from being opulent. Himself an uneducated man, he has keenly felt the disadvantage resulting from the lack of education and helped many young men go through colleges.

Such, in brief, is the humble record of Japanese achievements in America. Yet, considering that the community is little older than twenty years, we may console ourselves that it has made even so humble a record. What few achievements it is able to boast of are the achievements of men who came to this country equipped with knowledge and training acquired in their native land.

When the present generation is succeeded by younger men and women, to whom English is no longer an adopted language but is a mother tongue, and who have enjoyed every advantage of education and other opportunities offered in this country, the Japanese community will, let us hope, be able to register achievements not entirely unworthy of recognition.

« AnteriorContinuar »